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his agent here, with a view of stopping his mouth, and by the hope of another 160,000l. a year to prevent his giving an account of the dilapidation and robbery that was made of the 160,000l. which had been left him.
I have now finished what I proposed to say relative to his great fund of bribery, in the first instance of it, namely, the administration of justice in the country. There is another system of bribery which I shall state before my friends produce the evidence. He put up all the great offices of the country to sale ; he makes use of the trust he had of the revenues in order to destroy the whole system of those revenues, and to bind them and make them subservient to his system of bribery: and this will make it necessary for your Lordships to couple the consideration of the charge of the revenues, in some instances, with that of bribery.
The next day your Lordships meet (when I hope I shall not detain you so long) I mean to open the second stage of his bribery, the period of discovery: for the first stage was the period of concealment. When he found his bribes could no longer be concealed, he next took upon him to discover them himself, and to take merit from them.
When I shall have opened the second scene of his peculation, and his new principles of it, when you see him either treading in old corruptions, and excelling the examples he imitated, or exhibiting new ones of his own, in which of the two his conduct is the most iniquitous, and attended with most evil to the Company, I must leave your Lordships to judge.
THE SIXTH ARTICLE OF CHARGE.
THIRD DAY: TUESDAY, MAY 5, 1789.
Y LORDS, Agreeably to your Lordships' proclamation, which I have just heard, and the duty enjoined me by the House of Commons, I come forward to make good their charge of high crimes and misdemeanors against Warren Hastings, Esquire, late Governor-General of Bengal, and now a prisoner at your bar.
My Lords, since I had last the honor of standing in this place before your Lordships, an event has happened upon which it is difficult to speak and impossible to be silent. My Lords, I have been disavowed by those who sent me here to represent them. My Lords, I have been disavowed in a material part of that engagement which I had pledged myself to this House to perform. My Lords, that disavowal has been followed by a censure. And yet, my Lords, so censured and so disavowed, and by such an authority, I am sent here again, to this the place of my offence, under the same commission, by the same authority, to make good the same charge, against the same delinquent.
My Lords, the situation is new and awful: the situation is such as, I believe, and I am sure, has nothing like it on the records of Parliament, nor.
probably, in the history of mankind. My Lords, it is not only new and singular, but, I believe, to many persons, who do not look into the true interior nature of affairs, it may appear that it would be to me as mortifying as it is unprecedented. But, my Lords, I have in this situation, and upon the consideration of all the circumstances, something more to feed my mind with than mere consolation; because, my Lords, I look upon the whole of these circumstances, considered together, as the strongest, the most decisive, and the least equivocal proof which the Commons of Great Britain can give of their sincerity and their zeal in this prosecution. My Lords, is it from a mistaken tenderness or a blind partiality to me, that, thus censured, they have sent me to this place? No, my Lords, it is because they feel, and recognize in their own breasts, that active principle of justice, that zeal for the relief of the people of India, that zeal for the honor of Great Britain, which characterizes me and my excellent associates, that, in spite of any defects, in consequence of that zeal which they applaud, and while they censure its mistakes, and, because they censure its mistakes, do but more applaud, they have sent me to this place, instructed, but not dismayed, to pursue this prosecution against Warren Hastings, Esquire. Your Lordships will therefore be pleased to consider this, as I consider it, not as a thing honorable to me, in the first place, but as honorable to the Commons of Great Britain, in whose honor the national glory is deeply concerned; and I shall suffer myself with pleasure to be sacrificed, perhaps, in what is dearer to me than my life, my reputation, rather than let it be supposed that the Commons should for one moment have faltered in their duty. I, my Lords,
on the one hand, feeling myself supported and encouraged, feeling protection and countenance from this admonition and warning which has been given to me, will show myself, on the other hand, not unworthy so great and distinguished a mark of the favor of the Commons, a mark of favor not the consequence of flattery, but of opinion. I shall feel animated and encouraged by so noble a reward as I shall always consider the confidence of the Commons to be: the only reward, but a rich reward, which I have received for the toils and labors of a long life.
The Commons, then, thus vindicated, and myself thus encouraged, I shall proceed to make good the charge in which the honor of the Commons, that is, the national honor, is so deeply concerned. For, my Lords, if any circumstance of weakness, if any feebleness of nerve, if any yielding to weak and popular opinions and delusions were to shake us, consider what the situation of this country would be. This prosecution, if weakly conceived, ill digested, or intemperately pursued, ought never to have been brought to your Lordships' bar: but being brought to your Lordships' bar, the nation is committed to it, and the least appearance of uncertainty in our minds would disgrace us forever. Esto perpetua, has been said. To the glory of this nation, much more be it said, Esto perpetua; and I will say, that, as we have raised and exhibited a theatre of justice which has excited the admiration of all Europe, there would be a sort of lustre in our infamy, and a splendor in the disgrace that we should bring upon ourselves, if we should, just at that moment, turn that theatre of our glory into a spectacle of dishonor beyond what has ever happened to any country of the world.
The Commons of Great Britain, whilst willing to keep a strong and firm hand over all those who represent them in any business, do at the same time encourage them in the prosecution of it, by allowing them a just discretion and latitude wherever their own orders have not marked a distinction. I shall therefore go on with the more cheerful confidence, not only for the reasons that I have stated, but for another and material reason. I know and am satisfied, that, in the nobleness of your judgment, you will always make a distinction between the person that gives the order and the organ that is to execute it. The House of Commons know no such thing as indiscretion, imprudence, or impropriety: it is otherwise with their instruments. Your Lordships very well know, that, if you hear anything that shall appear to you to be regular, apt to bring forward the charge, just, prudent, cogent, you are to give it to the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled; if you should hear from me (and it must be from me alone, and not from any other member of the Committee) anything that is unworthy of that situation, that comes feeble, weak, indigested, or illprepared, you are to attribute that to the instrument. Your Lordships' judgment would do this without my saying it. But whilst I claim it on the part of the Commons for their dignity, I claim for myself the necessary indulgence that must be given to all weakness. Your Lordships, then, will impute it where you would have imputed it without my desire. It is a distinction you would naturally have made, and the rather because what is alleged by us at the bar is not the ground upon which you are to give judgment. If not only I, but the whole body of mana