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were mad enough to make an express compact that should release their magistrate from his duty, and should declare their lives, liberties, and properties dependent upon, not rules and laws, but his mere capricious will, that covenant would be void.
This arbitrary power is not to be had by conquest. Nor can any sovereign have it by succession; for no man can succeed to fraud, rapine, and violence. Those who give and those who receive arbitrary power are alike criminal; and there is no man but is bound to resist it to the best of his power, wherever it shall show its face to the world.
Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity. Name me a magistrate, and I will name property; name me power and I will name protection. It is a contradiction in terms; it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in politics, to say that any man can have arbitrary power. In every patent of office the duty is included. For what else does a magistrate exist? To suppose for power, is an absurdity in idea. Judges are guided and governed by the eternal laws of justice, to which we are all subject. We may bite our chains, if we will; but we shall be made to know ourselves, and be taught that man is born to be governed by law; and he that will substitute will in place of it, is an enemy to God.
My Lords, I do not mean to go further than just to remind your Lordships of this, that Mr. Hastings' government was one whole system of oppression, of robbery of individuals, of spoliation of the public, and of supersession of the whole system of the English Government, in order to vest in the worst of the natives all the power that could possibly exist in any government; in order to defeat the ends which all governments ought, in common, to have in view. In the name of the Commons of England I charge all this villainy upon Warren Hastings, in this last moment of my application to you.
Therefore, it is with confidence that, ordered by the Commons of Great Britain, I impeach Warren Hastings of high crimes and misdemeanors.
I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, whose parliamentary trust he has abused.
I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonored.
I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights, and liberties he has subverted.
I impeach him in the name of the people of
India, whose property he has destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate.
I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured, and oppressed, in both sexes. And I impeach him in the name and by the virtue of those eternal laws of justice, which ought equally to pervade every age, condition, rank, and situation, in the world.
INTELLECTUAL SUPERIORITY OF
Thomas Erskine, Lord Erskine, was the youngest son of Henry David, tenth earl of Buchan; and was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jan. 10, 1750. His early education was had at the high school of Edinburgh, and later he attended the grammar school of St. Andrews, to which place the family had moved. He was a midshipman in the navy for a short time and later purchased a commission in the army, but tired of this life and took up the study of law. He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn, April 26, 1775, and on Jan. 13, 1776, he entered his name on the books of Trinity College, Cambridge. His rise as an advocate was wonderfully rapid, and after his first speech, it is said that the attorneys flocked round him with their retainers, and placed in his hands sixty-five before he quitted Westminster Hall. Four years and a half after he was called to the bar, he had cleared from eight to nine thousand pounds, besides paying his debts. His first speech in Parliament was a dismal failure caused by his nervousness, or, as Sheridan put it, his fear of Pitt. He died November 17, 1823. Erskine is considered, by the best authorities, the greatest forensic
orator that Great Britain has produced, and although a member of Parliament for a number of years, he never met with any marked success as a parliamentarian speaker, but as an advocate pleading his client's cause before a jury, it is doubtful if his equal has existed in modern times. His first great success was achieved when he appeared for Captain Baillie. His second, and perhaps greatest success, was gained when he defended Lord George Gordon against a charge of treason, and it was this victory that annihilated the doctrine of constructive treason in England.
EWTON was a Christian! Newton, whose mind burst forth from the fetters cast by nature upon our finite conceptions; Newton, whose science was truth, and the foundation of whose knowledge of it was philosophy. Not those visionary and arrogant assumptions which too often usurp its name, but philosophy resting upon the basis of mathematics, which, like figures, cannot lie. Newton, who carried the line and rule to the utmost barriers of creation, and explored the principles by which, no doubt, all created matter is held together and exists. But this extraordinary man, in the mighty reach of his mind, overlooked, perhaps, the errors which a minuter investigation of the created things on this earth might have taught him of the essence of his creator.
What shall then be said of the great Mr. Boyle, who looked into the organic structure of all matter, even to the brute inanimate substances which the foot treads on. Such a man may be supposed
to have been equally qualified with Mr. Paine, to "look through nature up to nature's God.” Yet the result of all this contemplation was the most confirmed and devout belief in all which the other holds in contempt as despicable and drivelling superstition. But this error might, perhaps, arise from a want of due attention to the foundation of human judgment, and the structure of that understanding which God has given us for the investigation of truth. Let that question be answered by Mr. Locke, who was to the highest pitch of devotion and adoration a Christian. Mr. Locke, whose office was to detect the errors of thinking by going up to the fountains of thought, and to direct into the proper track of reasoning the devious mind of man, by showing him its whole process, from the perceptions of sense to the last conclusions of ratiocination; putting a rein, besides, upon false opinion, by practical rules for the conduct of human judgment.
But these men were only deep thinkers, and lived in their closets, unaccustomed to the traffic of the world, and to the laws which practically regulate mankind. Gentlemen, in the place where you now sit to administer the justice of this great country, above a century ago the never-to-be-forgotten Sir Matthew Hale presided, whose faith in