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119 to 79: "that there was matter of impeachment against Warren Hastings contained in the said charge. The Chancellor of the Exchequer concurred in this vote, but upon very narrow grounds. He thought the demands made upon the Rajah went beyond the exigence of the case, and that Mr. Hastings had pushed the exercise of the arbitrary discretion intrusted to him beyond the necessity of the service. The conduct of the minister on this occasion, drew upon him much calumny from the friends of Mr. Hastings. They did not hesitate to accuse him out of doors both publicly and pri vately of treachery. They declared it was in the full confidence of his protection and support that they had urged on Mr. Burke to bring forward his charges; and that the gentleman accused, had been persuaded to come to their bar with an hasty and premature defence; and they did not scruple to attribute this conduct in the minister to motives of the basest jealousy.
On the 21st of June, Mr. Hamilton moved, "that the house should be called over on the morrrow fortnight." This step he considered as the only means of enforcing a full attendance, with a view to go on with the charges against Mr. Hastings, so as to completely finish them in the course of this session. The motion was seconded by Mr. Dempster.
Mr. SHERIDAN stated his reasons why he should give it his negative, being persuaded, notwithstanding the honorable gentleman's dauntless determination to bear all the odium and unpopularity of it, that whoever did support it, would find some share of the odium incurred by calling gentlemen back to town, after they had gone into the country and made their arrangements for the summer, fall upon them. Mr. Sheridan then begged leave to justify his absent friend, which he would do, he said, by stating what his meaning was, in order to shew, that he had not pledged himself to second a motion for a call, unless it could be made to appear that the call would be effectual. Mr. Sheridan here repeated that part of the argument of Mr. Fox on Friday, in which that gentleman had declared, that it would be a most desirable thing to go through the whole of the charges that session, if it were practicable to obtain such an attendance as ought to be present in the discussion of matters of such infinite importance; and if that could be made to appear to be likely, he should then have no objection to support a call of the house, or to any other means of enforcing it. He
appealed to the house, whether this was a pledge to support a motion for a call, before it was made to appear probable, that a call would be effectually obeyed? A word had fallen from the honorable gentleman which required some notice. Perhaps the honorable gentleman had used it accidentally, and without meaning to convey any improper insinuation by it. If he had, he would be so good as to say as much. But if he really meant it in its ordinary sense, he believed the house would agree with him, that pending an inquiry before parliament into the public conduct of Mr. Hastings, it was not very decent language, nor language that would be endured within those walls, especially after the vote the house had so recently come to upon the subject. The honorable gentleman had said, he stood up in behalf of a persecuted and accused man. That Mr. Hastings was an accused man, was true, but in what was he a persecuted man? He would not endeavor to argue that he was not persecuted, because if the honorable gentleman alluded to the vote on the charge relative to Benares, he sat near several of Mr. Hasting's persecutors, who could much better justify their vote, than it would become him to attempt to do for them. Neither the cause of substantial justice, the reasonable claims of Mr. Hastings, nor the dignity and character of the house, would be better served and satisfied, by going on with the charges without interruption, than by postponing the remainder of them till the next session. On the contrary, he contended that they would all of them be far less satisfied. He observed in the first place, that it was necessary not only to have a full attendance, but also that gentlemen should attend with that sort of temper which would qualify them for seriously discussing and solemnly deliberating on the important facts submitted to their consideration. Did the house imagine either whether the call was enforced or not, that gentlemen would after that day attend in numbers or with a determi
nation to apply their minds closely to the subject? On the contrary, was it likely, if they proceeded any farther, that they should divide more than one hundred and twenty, or one hundred and fifty on any one of the remaining charges? He asked whether any gentleman present would say, that it would be right and decent to go on in that manner, with not a third part of the house present? Would it not expose them to the advantage taken already more than once by an honorable gentleman opposite to him (Major Scott) in respect to the admirable code of principles for the government of India, laid down in the resolutions moved by the right honorable and learned gentleman, so greatly to his own honor, in 1782? What had been the honorable gentleman's (Major Scott's) argument in respect to those resolutions, but a repeated declaration that they had been moved and voted in a thin house? If they proceeded therefore with the rest of the charges, and more of them should be voted, they would next session, in all probability, hear that they had been voted in a thin house. The honorable gentleman on Friday last, had taken a new ground of argument to urge the house to proceed with the remainder of the charges. He had positively declared his belief, that the fate of India depended on finishing them this year, and that declaration he had rested entirely on dark hints and suggestions, as if recent advices had been received from India, which justified such an opinion. Perhaps, as that honorable gentleman was more in the way of knowing the secrets of India than he was, he knew of some news that had arrived which justified him in his assertion. If so, it would be well for him to state it to the house; but, till he made out a case, and it behoved him to make out a strong one, to prove the fact, that the fate of India did depend on finishing the charges that session, all insinuation of that kind must go for nothing. For his part, Mr. Sheridan said, he had made every possible enquiry in order to learn
whether any extraordinary news had recently arrived from India; and he could hear of nothing extraordinary, but of the receipt of an extraordinary large diamond, said to have been sent to Mr. Hastings, and presented to His Majesty at an extraordinary and critical period of time. It was also a little extraordinary, that Mr. Hastings should be chosen as the person to present this diamond, after the resolutions of 1782 had reached India; especially if, as had been predicted, they had been translated into Persic and all the languages of the East.-With regard to any expectation on the part of Mr. Hastings, or any claim that he could be supposed to have upon the house, he could have none but that the house would continue, as they had begun, solemnly and seriously to investigate his conduct; and after having in due time gone through the charges, come to some ultimate decision upon the whole. Early in the commencement of the session, the right honorable Mr. Chancellor Pitt had himself declared, and he doubted not he would recollect it," that it would be exceedingly misbecoming in the house either to continue hearing the charges when a full attendance could not be obtained, or to leave off without first moving a bill to hang up the enquiry, as it were, till the next ́session,-then to be resumed and pursued to its conclusion." At the time of the right honorable gentleman's stating that idea, the honorable gentleman opposite to him (Major Scott) had not offered a word of objection; much less had he said, that the fate of India depended on their being gone through this session; or that it would be injustice if they were not. In point of character, Mr. Hastings, he must contend, had no sort of right to complain that he had been injured by the proceedings hitherto; because no person could assert that they were the first arraignments of the character of Mr. Hastings in the house of commons. That gentleman's character and conduct as governor-general of India had been before
arraigned in that house. It stood arraigned upon the journals, in the resolutions moved by the right honorable and learned gentleman in 1782; wherein every misdemeanor contained in the charges was generally imputed to that gentleman, in the most strong and pointed terms. With regard to the character and dignity of that house, the best way to support both, was to act evenly and consistently. They had hitherto proceeded deliberately, and in full houses, to discuss and decide upon the charges; and had made a much farther progress than many gentlemenn had, at the beginning, imagined it possible for them to do. No delay but what was unavoidable could be imputed to the house; nor could any be imputed to his right honorable friend near him (Mr. Burke); since the house could not but have observed, that when the witnesses were under examination, his right honorable friend curtailed it as much as possible, and omitted many questions that he intended to have asked, merely to avoid every appearance of a wish to procrastinate. Every possible dispatch had been used;-they bad proceeded a considerable way;-and it had been originally understood, that when they found it difficult to procure full attendances, the business was to be hung up till the next session. In the course of his speech, he put it to Major Scott, whether if all the rest of his charges were voted, and Mr. Hastings impeached, he was not of opinion that India would be lost? (The Major shook his head.) If he did not think so, he hoped he should hear no more of the bad consequences which would follow in India, if in the discussion of any other charges the house was urged to vote them.
On a division, the numbers were ayes for the call 30; noes 99.