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outrages in India was true. He denied having exaggerated a single circumstance; and protested, that exaggeration, with regard to the facts in discussion, was impossible. But this was the only mode by which his argument was to be attacked. It was always thus his reasoning was invalidated by general insinuation and surmise, which, like a stone in the hand of a David, might demolish the greatest giant on earth. It was a weapon, which, as any one might wield with success, no man, no reasoning, could repel. He hoped, therefore, no honourable gentleman could expect he would fight them at such fearful odds. He had no general assertions to make; the subject on which he made his stand was incapable of insinuation. He stood committed — the reports stood committed - the governor-general stood committed. The contest was now reduced to a few simple facts, which the meanest understanding could comprehend as well as the most accomplished. And [laying his hand on a volume of the reports which lay on the table] I swear, said he, by this book, that the wrongs done to humanity in the eastern world, shall be avenged on those who have inflicted them. They will find, when the measure of their iniquity is full, that Providence was not asleep. The wrath of Heaven will sooner or later fall upon a nation, that suffers, with impunity, its rulers thus to oppress the weak and innocent. We had already lost one empire, perhaps, as a punishment for the crueltics authorized in another. And men might exert their ingenuity in qualifying facts as they pleased, but there was only one standard by which the Judge of all the earth would try them. It was not whether the interest of the East India Company made them necessary, but whether they coincided with the prior interests of humanity, of substantial justice, with those rights which were paramount to all others. He declared he had no manner of concern with the character of Mr. Hastings. The question was not, whether he was a good father, a good husband, or a good friend; but whether he made a good governor; and whether those under his government were happy or miserable. He said, as he had not on that day been permitted
to go on in a string of motions which he had proposed to submit to the House, he would now read them as part of his speech. Here Mr. Burke read a long string of motions, all tending to introduce inquiry respecting the peculations and outrages committed in India. These, he said, he would bring forward at another period, when he hoped they would not be precluded by an incessant clamour for the order of the day; and he particularly observed, that it was hard a minister should oppose an inquiry, when the honourable major, the friend of Mr. Hastings, seemed so very desirous that it should immediately take place.
The order of the day was read, which put a period to the debate.
RE'S AMENDMENT TO THE ADDRESS ON THE KING'S SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE SESSION.
January 25. 1785.
"My lords and gentlemen; After the laborious attendance of the last session of parliament, it has given me peculiar pleasure that the situation of public affairs has admitted of so long a recess. Among the objects which now require consideration, I must particularly recommend to your earnest attention the adjustment of such points in the commercial intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland as are not yet finally arranged; the system which will unite both kingdoms the most closely on principles of reciprocal advantage, will, I am persuaded, best ensure the general prosperity of my dominions. I have the satisfaction to acquaint you, that notwithstanding any appearance of differences on the continent, I continue uniformly to
receive from all foreign powers the strongest assurances of their good dispositions towards this country.
"Gentlemen of the House of Commons; I have ordered the estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before you; I confide in your liberality and zeal to grant the necessary supplies, with a just regard, as well to the economy requisite in every department, as to the maintenance of the national credit, and the real exigencies of the public service.
My lords and gentlemen; the success which has attended the measures taken in the last session towards the suppression of smuggling, and for the improvement of the revenue, will encourage you to apply yourselves with continued assiduity to those important objects. You will, I trust, also take into early consideration the matters suggested in the reports of the commissioners of public accounts, and such farther regulations as may appear to be necessary in the different offices of the kingdom. I have the fullest reliance on the continuance of your faithful and diligent exertions in every part of your public duty. You may at all times depend on my hearty concurrence in every measure which can tend to alleviate our national burthens, to secure the true principles of the constitution, and to promote the general welfare of my people."
An address, which, as usual, was an echo to the speech, was moved by Mr. Philips and seconded by Mr. Gerard Noel Edwards. In consequence of the total silence which the king's Speech observed, with regard to the affairs of the East Indies,
Mr. BURKE rose. He remarked, that though the present was one of the shortest Speeches ever heard, yet so far from its meeting with that unanimity which the minister had been in such a hurry to flatter himself with, it had provoked as many different opinions as the longest speech ever made had excited. He compared it with the speech from the throne in the administration of the Earl of Shelburne, and said, it seemed as if the same persons who produced that famous catalogue of professions and promises, had produced this, and that having had so large a litter in 1782, they were exhausted now, and able only to bring forth the little sneaking remnant on the table. He ridiculed the speech of 1782, and compared it to the
large pie which the hospitable Lord Surrey had presented to his constituents at Carlisle. The speech of 1782 was, he said, in like manner an enormous chicken, duck, hare, goose, pie, fit to be set upon the table as a matter to be admired as well as to be eaten; whereas the present Speech was one of those petty-patties that people all relished. It was so full of equivocation and double-meaning, that every man of every opinion might find some part or other of it that would meet his sentiments, or bear a construction similar to his sentiments, be they what they might. Thus, one of his noble friends had said, he approved it, because it bore a concealed reference to a parliamentary reform; another noble friend approved it, because it did not convey any such meaning; and before the debate was over, he had no doubt but numerous other reasons, of a nature equally opposite and various, would be assigned for assenting to it. With regard to the intended motion for a parliamentary reform, he understood it was to consist of an addition of sixteen. If any alteration were made, he should consider it as the death and burial of the constitution; and it was indifferent to him whether it was buried in linen or woollen, whether it had sixteen or sixty more pall-bearers. He adverted to the late proceedings against the Irish sheriffs, unjustifiable, he said, on principles of reason or of law. They were not by way of information or indictment, but by an attachment ex officio, wherein, without any application made, the king's-bench assumed a power unknown to the constitution, I do not, continued he, mean to make any particular inferences from the affairs of Ireland, distinct as it is from this, an imperial kingdom itself; but must arraign the conduct of that minister, who can thus punish in one kingdom what all his authority is employed to recommend in another. Will any person say, that on the face of things it implies not a manifest contradiction, or that the Tyrii bilingues of antiquity are not renewed in our present hopeful administration?
With respect to the Speech, he would say he disliked it, and that for a very strong reason; and that was the
use omission of a subject of the greatest magniA NOJOVE, in comparison with which, all consideration
alientary reform, all consideration of Ireland, a as he loved his native country, and highly as he is welfare, appeared to be trivial toys. What he to was the total silence of the Speech with regard he East Indies. Our dominions there were, he said, are greatest stake this country had to risk; and such was Je present situation of affairs there, that they called loudly or the immediate notice of parliament. Why ministers had neglected to advise his majesty to recommend our affairs in the East Indies to their notice, he was at a loss to imagine. There was at this moment in India as great a phenomenon as ever the world had produced. A person, who stood not as a delinquent, but as a criminal, in the eye of that House, whose criminal charge was on the records of their Journals, and whose recal had been ordered by that House; nevertheless, in defiance of their authority, that criminal was at this moment commanding our armies, and directing the expenditure of our revenues in Bengal. In order to convince the House of the terrible situation of our affairs in a particular part of Indostan, Mr. Burke read to the House the following extract from Mr. Hastings's letter to the court of directors, dated from Lucknow, the 30th of March, 1784: "On my way, I had the alarming perspective of a soil so completely exhausted of its natural moisture, by the failure of one entire season of the periodical rains, that, except the fields of grain which had been kept in vegetation by the uncommon labour of the husbandmen, and were still clothed with a luxuriant produce, or remained the stubble of the recent harvest, the plains exhibited an appearance of barrenness so dreary, that even the roots of its former herbage no longer existed, and the deep ravines and beds of rivers which I passed threw up clouds of dust from their channels." The country thus described, Mr. Burke said, was larger in extent than England. He expatiated upon the wretchedness of the inhabitants, and reprobated the plan proposed by Mr. Hastings, to with