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Mr. Sheridan now adverted to the affidavit made by Mr. Middleton; and after stating how futile were the grounds upon which he had, to the satisfaction of his conscience, proceeded to the utmost extremity of violence against the Begums; he exclaimed, the God of Justice forbid that any man in this house should make up his mind to accuse Mr. Hastings on the ground which Mr. Middleton took for condemning the Begums; or to pass a verdict of guilty for the most trivial misdemeanor against the poorest wretch that ever had existed. He then revised and animadverted on the affidavits of Colonel Hannay, Colonel Gordon, Major M'Donald, Major Williams, and others. Major Williams, among strange reports that chiefly filled these affidavits, stated one that he had heard--namely, that 50 British troops, watching 200 prisoners, had been surrounded by 6000 of the enemy, and relieved by the approach of nine men. And of such extraordinary hearsay-evidence were most of the depositions composed. Considering, therefore, the character given by Mr. Hastings to the British army in Oude, "that they manifested a rage for rapacity and peculation," it was extraordinary that there were no instances of stouter swearing. But as for Colonel Gordon, he afforded a flagrantly conspicuous proof of the grateful spirit and temper of affidavits designed to plunge these wretched women in irretrievable ruin. Colonel Gordon was, just before, not merely released from danger, but preserved from imminent death by the very person whose accuser he thought fit to become; and yet, incredible as it may appear, even at the expiration of two little days from his deliverance, he deposes against the distressed and unfortunate woman who had become his saviour, and only upon hearsay evidence accuses her of crimes and rebellion. Great God of Justice! (exclaimed Mr. Sheridan) canst thou from thy eternal throne look down upon such premeditated turpitude of heart, and not fix some mark of dreadful

vengeance upon the perpetrators?-Of Mr. M‘Donald, he said, that he liked not the memory which remembered things better at the end of five years than at the time, unless there might be something so relaxing in the climate of India, and so affecting the memory as well as the nerves, "the soft figures melting away," and the images of immediate action instantaneously dissolving, men must return to their native air of England, to brace up the mind as well as the body, and have their memories, like their sinews, restrung.

Having painted the loose quality of the affidavits, he said, that he must pause a moment, and particularly address himself to one description of gentlemen, those of the learned profession, within those walls. They saw that that house was the path to fortune in their profession; that they might soon expect that some of them were to be called to a dignified situation, where the great and important trust would be reposed in them of protecting the lives and fortunes of their fellow-subjects. One right honorable and learned gentleman, in particular (Sir Lloyd Kenyon) if rumour spoke right, might suddenly be called to succeed that great and venerable character, who long had shone the brighest luminary of his profession, whose pure and steady light was clear even to its latest moment, but whose last beam must now too soon be extinguished. That he would ask the supposed successor of Lord Mansfield, to calmly reflect on these extraordinary depositions, and solemnly to declare, whether the mass of affidavits taken at Lucknow would be received by him as evidence to convict the lowest object in this country? If he said it would, he declared to God he would sit down, and not add a syllable more to the too long trespass which he had made on the patience of the committee.

Mr. Sheridan went farther into the exposure of the evidence, into the comparison of dates, and the subsequent circumstances, in order to prove that all

the enormous consequence which followed from the resumption, in the captivity of the women, and the imprisonment and cruelties practised on their people, were solely to be ascribed and to be imputed to Mr. Hastings. After stating the miseries which the women suffered, he said that Mr. Hastings had once remarked, that a mind touched with superstition might have contemplated the fate of the Rohillas with peculiar impressions. But if indeed the mind of Mr. Hastings could yield to superstitious imagination; if his fancy could suffer any disturbance, and even in vision, image forth the proud spirit of Sujah Dowlah, looking down upon the ruin and devastation of his family, and beholding that palace which Mr. Hastings had first wrested from his hand, and afterwards restored, plundered by that very army with which he himself had vanquished the Mahrattas; seizing on the very plunder which he had ravaged from the Rohillas; that Middleton, who had been engaged in managing the previous violations, most busy to perpetrate the last; that very Hastings, whom, on his death bed, he had left the guardian of his wife and mother, and family, turning all those dear relations, the objects of his solemn trust, forth to the merciless seasons, and to a more merciless soldiery! A mind touched with superstition must indeed have cherished such a contemplation with peculiar impressions!-That Mr. Hastings was regularly acquainted with all the enormities committed on the Begums there was the clearest proof;-It was true that Middleton was rebuked for not being more exact. He did not, perhaps, descend to the detail; he did not give him an account of the number of groans which were heaved; of the quantity of tears which were shed; of the weight of the fetters; or of the depth of the dungeons: but he communicated every step which he took to accomplish the base and unwarrantable end. He told him, that to save appearances they must use the name of the Nabob, and that they need

go no farther than was absolutely necessary; this he might venture to say without being suspected by Mr. Hastings of too severe a morality. The Governor-General also endeavored to throw a share of the guilt on the council, although Mr. Wheeler had never taken any share, and Mr. Macpherson had not arrived in India when the scene began. After contending that he had shrunk from the inquiry ordered by the court of directors, under a new and pompous doctrine, that the majesty of justice was to be approached with supplication, and was not to degrade itself by hunting for crimes; forgetting the infamous employment to which he had appointed an English chief justice, to hunt for criminal charges against innocent, defenceless women. Mr. Sheridan said, he trusted that that house would vindicate the insulted character of justice; that they would demonstrate its true quality, essence, and purposes -they would demonstrate it to be, in the case of Mr. Hastings, active, inquisitive, and avenging.

Mr. Sheridan remarked, that he heard of factions and parties in that house, and knew they existed. There was scarcely a subject upon which they were not broken and divided into sects. The prerogative of the crown found its advocates among the representatives of the people. The privileges of the people found opponents even in the house of commons itself. Habits, connexions, parties, all led to diversity of opinion. But when inhumanity presented itself to their observations, it found no division among them: they attacked it as their common enemy; and, as if the character of this land was involved in their zeal for its ruin, they left it not till it was completely overthrown. It was not given to that house, to behold the objects of their compassion and benevolence in the present extensive consideration, as it was to the officers who relieved, and who so feelingly described the extatic emotions of gratitude in the instant of deliverance. They could not behold the workings of the heart,

the quivering lips, the trickling tears, the loud and yet tremulous joys of the millions whom their vote of this night would for ever save from the cruelty of corrupted power. But though they could not directly see the effect, was not the true enjoyment of their benevolence increased by the blessing being conferred unseen? Would not the omnipotence of Britain be demonstrated to the wonder of nations, by stretching its mighty arm across the deep, and saving by its fiat distant millions from destruction ? And would the blessings of the people thus saved, dissipate in empty air? No! if I may dare to use the figure, we shall constitute Heaven itself our proxy, to receive for us the blessings of their pious gratitude, and the prayers of their thanksgiving.It is with confidence, therefore, Sir, that I move you on this charge, "that Warren Hastings be impeached."

FEBRUARY 8.

PROCEEDINGS AGAINST MR. HASTINGS.

The debate of the preceding day was resumed by Mr. Francis, in support of the charge; and by Mr. Burgess, Major Scott, Mr. Nicholls, Mr. Vansittart, and Mr. Alderman Le Mesurier in defence of Mr. Hastings. After having heard the arguments on both sides, Mr. Pitt rose to deliver his statements. He observed, that as he had ever been of opinion that the charge relative to the Princesses of Oude was that which of all others, bore upon the face of it the strongest marks of criminality and cruelty, so had he been particularly careful to guard against the impression of every sort of prejudice, and to keep his mind open for the reception of whatever could tend, on the one hand, to establish innocence, or on the other, to bring home conviction of guilt; and in order the better to enable himself to decide with safety, he had with the utmost minuteness and attention, compared the charge, article by article, with the evidence adduced at the bar in support of each, and with the various minutes and letters that had been brought before the house, or were any where to be found within his reach. He then declared, that although, for reasons he should state, he thought himself bound to vote with the gentleman who brought the charge, yet he wished it to be understood, that he did not accede to the whole of the grounds of the accusation contained in the charge, or the inferences that had been drawn from them. He then stated the two great points in the charge, in which

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