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measure, will never allow me to put the event of the latter upon a contest with the former. I am convinced of the necessity of every possible saving; I know how enfeebled and exhausted we were by our ill-conducted efforts and corrosive jobs last war; and that this nation can never rear her head again under the pressure of our present debt. I will not therefore opiniate this measure, nor be for rejecting a great national security for its present defects. I am convinced that so wealthy and well-cultivated country can alone be defended by the spirit and number of its inhabitants; and I trust, that as the danger augments, the sense of their duty will operate as long as the form and the example of the militia exists, they can neither be slaves to any foreign or domestic power; and when this national and constitutional establishment fails, I am as confident that no other can be formed equally safe, salutary, and efficient.
The Duke of Richmond agreed, that to have the use of arms learnt as universally as possible, was a very desirable thing; and thought likewise that discipline was carried a great deal too far in the militia. It was in vain, however, to complain of substitutes, since the militia must necessarily be, for the most part, an army of substitutes. That there had been some corps remarkably well disciplined, was undoubtedly true; indeed, the noble viscount's objection to the militia colonels wishing to have their ranks filled with the able-bodied men, appeared to him rather too confined. The object of the Bill was clearly economy, and the single question was, whether it was right to endeavour to effect such a saving as the Bill professed, or not? That the militia ought to be properly supported was a point not to be disputed, and he should conceive that it might be supported upon the proposed plan. The Bill was a bill of experiment, and as such he hoped it would pass.
Viscount Townshend begged leave to remind the noble duke, that he had not complained of there being fine tall men in the militia, but merely of those men being continued in it on account of their tallness, to the exclusion of others. He was ready to admit, that, in general, stout men could bear more fatigue than little men, and were therefore fitter for soldiers; but he had seen in Germany, in the Dettingen year, a regiment of short, scrubby, punchy, ill-dressed and mean fellows in the Austrian service, who, though they scarcely
knew the use of arms, when the day of battle came, convinced all present, that it was not tall, well-looking men who always did the best service in the field.
The Duke of Manchester professed him self a sincere friend to the militia, and rejoiced that the ill-grounded jealousies which had prevailed in the army respecting it were done away. He had attended several meetings where a number of members of both Houses, and other gentlemen of the militia, assembled for the purpose of discussing the question, how the militia could be rendered most serviceable; and their uniform opinion was for calling the whole body out every year and training them. He wished therefore that this idea had been adopted.
The Earl of Hopetoun reminded the House of the origin of the militia, observing, that at the time of its institution the nation was so defenceless, and so panicstruck, that it knew not where to look either for attack or defence, till the people, roused by their danger, and ashamed of standing indebted for their safety to the Hanoverians, turned out and took up arms to defend themselves. From that period the militia had flourished; and as the country gentlemen had acted with the ardour of Englishmen, anxious for the preservation of the constitution and of their liberties, he had no doubt but the militia would continue to deserve the high character to which it was entitled.
Earl Stanhope remarked, that the Bill had two distinct objects: one was to save 28,000, the other to alter the customary period of service of the militia, and to call out only two-thirds of them to be trained and exercised. In regard to the latter object, it was endeavoured to be attained in a way the most absurd; and it would be extremely easy to prove that, by proper care, both economy and utility could be better answered than by the means proposed by the Bill. What was it which the Bill enacted? That all the men should be ballotted for first, and that only 21,000 should afterwards be ballotted for to be trained and exercised; so that, in fact, the real militia in actual service would be no more than 21,000: the one-third would prove `merely a militia roll. What was this, but putting the nation to a great expense to very little purpose? whereas nothing could be more easy than to have a
militia of 42,000 men at the same expense which it would cost to have a militia of 21,000, as this Bill proposed.
proceedings till the next session; but, as the body of charges contained three more immediately important, and as one of those had been carried for Mr. Hastings and. another against him, he thought it right, if the third were carried against him, that the House should proceed to the end, because, otherwise a disagreeable impression might remain against him.
His plan was this: ballot 21,000 militiamen, and instead of five years, let the men be ballotted for six years service. At three years end ballot 21,000 more: call out and train, and exercise 7,000 every year. At three years end, the first 21,000 would be all trained and exercised. Dismiss them to their own homes at that period, and then begin upon the second 21,000, taking 7,000 to be trained and exercised every year as before. Thus the actual expense to the country would be no more than the expense under the present Bill, as the country would not have to pay for more than 21,000 at once, and yet would be in possession of a right to the service of 42,000 upon any emergency. His lordship stated the militia to be a description of force most desirable to be preserved, as it not only was the best defence of the country, but of the constitution. The militia was surely, for that reason, the very last service to apply economy to. Major Scott said, that the House must The best economy was to prevent a war, be convinced, that Mr. Hastings could and to keep the country in a state of have but one wish, viz. that not a mopeace. It would be wiser, therefore, and ment's delay should take place, but that better economy, to treble the militia, than the charges should be gone through this to diminish its numbers. What was it session. Speaking for himself, as an Engsecured peace, but the being able to wage lishman, he declared, that it would be a powerful war? Be strongly armed and glaring injustice to Mr. Hastings to postready for battle, and battle would not be pone the business to another session; but, offered. Have a navy fit for sea, and a speaking as a member of parliament and militia numerous and well disciplined, and an Englishman, who had the honour and we might ensure a continuance of peace. welfare of his country at heart, as connectAs to the lower order of the people being ed with the East India Company, he would at present knowing in the use of arms, it go farther, and would declare it to be his was a mistake. Many rustics, their lord- deliberate and solemn opinion, that the ships would find on inquiry, knew no more fate of the British empire in India deof a musquet and its use, than of a reflect-pended upon a termination of Mr. Hasting telescope. ings's impeachment during the present sesThe Bill was read a second time, and sion. He implored the House to consider ordered to be committed.
Mr. Duncombe thought it might be for the convenience of Mr. Hastings, as well as of the House, to defer the proceedings.
The Earl of Surrey remarked, that the party accused could not be supposed to have any wish so much as for a speedy decision; but should Mr. Hastings and his friends be ever so desirous of coming to a conclusion with the business, it would be impossible for them to be gratified; for it was probable the House would be prorogued before they could possibly get through the whole of the charges.
Proceedings against Mr. HastingsMotion for a Call of the House.] June 16. Mr. Burke alluded to the lateness of the session, and the slow progress the proceedings against Mr. Hastings were likely to make, which rendered him apprehensive that it would be impossible for the House to get through the whole of the charges in the present session. He should therefore, if it was the general wish, postpone the remainder, or such parts of them as the House thought proper.
Sir M. W. Ridley thought it impossible to go through the whole in the present
Mr. I. H. Browne said, there could be no objection to the delaying a part of the
what was the state of India, at the present moment. Did the House know that we had intelligence from India of four months and six days date only? He had conversed with gentlemen of honour and undoubted information, who left Calcutta in February last; and from all he had heard, he was confident that our existence as a nation in India, actually depended upon this single circumstance, whether the inquiry into the conduct of Mr. Hastings was finished or not before the prorogation.
Mr. Hamilton contended, that it was the highest injustice to stop the course of the proceedings contrary to the wish of the party accused: he should, therefore, move for a call of the House, and would by no means consent to any postponement of the business.
Mr. M. A. Taylor shewed the impossibility of the House being able to go through the whole of the business this session, and strongly contended for the postponement. Mr. Fox professed himself a warm friend to a call of the House, if an effectual call could be moved, because it certainly was a most desirable matter for the House to go through the whole of its duty respecting Mr. Hastings during that session. If gentlemen would not attend, the fault was theirs; but it certainly would not be proper to proceed in so extremely important a business in thin Houses.
Major Scott returned his sincere thanks to the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Fox), who had talked of proposing a call of the House. He sincerely hoped that such a measure would be adopted the fate of India depended upon it, and he trusted that the right hon. gentleman did not coincide in opinion with an hon. gentleman (Mr. Sawbridge), that the sooner we lost India the better. If he did, he could not pursue a more effectual mode than to postpone the business to another session.
It was accordingly agreed that the consideration of that charge should come on, upon the ensuing Friday.
which could be urged, was, the inconv nience that might be felt by individuals but when the insignificance of that objec tion was opposed to what was due to th feelings of a persecuted and accused mar he hoped the justice of the House, and regard to their own dignity and characte would induce them to support his motion a motion which he declared he brought for ward in behalf of one whom he had neve seen but at the bar of the House. H reasoned on the circumstances in whic Mr. Hastings stood, declaring that he ha spent the best part of his life in the servic of the public, in one of the most distin guished situations a subject could fill; an that on every consideration, it ought to be ascertained whether the only retur which he was to receive for his service was censure and infamy. If Mr. Hasting were ultimately to be deemed criminal let him be proved such, and then be pu nished; but let condemnation precede punishment, and his punishment not be suspense. To a speedy decision Mr Hastings was entitled, and for that purpose he should conclude with moving, "that the House be called over upon this day fortnight."
Mr. Dempster seconded the motion.
Mr. Pitt observed that, perhaps it might be impossible to go through the whole of the charges; but certainly, after that relating to the princesses of Oude had been decided, the remaining nineteen Mr. Sheridan stated his reasons why he could not take up so much time as the should give it his negative, being perthree others had done, and therefore, it suaded, notwithstanding the hon. gentlewould be right to go on as fast as possible, man's determination to bear all the odium and, by all means, to proceed in the Oude and unpopularity of it, that whoever did charge: but whether they should proceed support it, would find some share of the any farther in the present session or not, odium incurred by calling gentlemen back the whole of the evidence, at least, ought to town, after they had gone into the to be closed before the prorogation. country and made their arrangements for the summer, fall upon them. He begged leave to justify his absent friend (Mr. Fox), 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 appear that the call would be effectual. He repeated that part of Mr. Fox's argument on Friday, in which he 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. A word had fallen from the hon. gentleman which required some notice. Perhaps he 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
June 21. Mr. Hamilton rose to make the motion for a call of the House, agreeably to the notice which he had given. He began with stating, that he had ex. pected the assistance of a right hon. gentleman (Mr. Fox); but, notwithstanding his absence, he should persevere in his purpose, determined as he was to bear all the odium and unpopularity that might attach to it. It was needless for him to take up much of the time of the House in justification of the propriety of his resorting to the only means of enforcing a full attendance, with a view to go on with the charges against Mr. Hastings, so as to finish them in the course of the present session. The only objection to his motion
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 hon. gentleman had said, he stood up in the 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 endea vour to argue that he was not persecuted, because if the hon. gentleman alluded to the vote on the charge relative to Benares, he sat near several of Mr. Hastings'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, 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 deliberating on the important facts submitted to their consideration. Did the House imagine, whether the call was enforced or not, that gentlemen would after that day attend in numbers, or with a determination to apply their minds closely to the subject? Was it likely, if they proceeded any farther, that they should divide more than 120 or 150 on any one of the remaining charges? Would any gentleman present 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 hon. major in respect to the resolutions moved by Mr. Dundas so greatly to his own honour in 1782? What had been the hon. major's argument in respect to those resolutions, but that they had been voted in a thin House? If they proceeded therefore with the rest of the charges, they would next session, in all probability, hear that they had been voted in a thin House. The hon. major, 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 [VOL. XXVI. ]
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 hon. gentleman was more in the way of knowing the secrets of India than he was, he had received some news that 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 to prove the fact, that the fate of India depended on finishing the charges that session, all insinuation of that kind must go for nothing. For his part, he had made every possible inquiry in order to learn whether any extraordi nary 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 Chancellor of the Exchequer had declared, "that it would be exceedingly unbecoming 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 inquiry, as it were, till the next session, then to be resumed and pursued to its conclusion." At the time of the right hon. gentleman's stating that idea, the hon. major 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 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 [L]
Commons. That gentleman's character | prejudicial to his country or the East India and conduct as governor-general of India Company; but the consequences appeared had been before arraigned in that House. so palpable, that he was astonished they It stood arraigned upon the Journals in did not strike every member. Suppose the resolutions of 1782, wherein every the vote had been upon contracts, or almisdemeanor contained in the charges lowances, or any charges of that kind; he was generally imputed to that gentleman should have thought it a very great hardin the most strong and pointed terms. ship upon Mr. Hastings, had the House With regard to the character and dignity been prorogued, before he had had a full of that House, the best way to support opportunity of being cleared: but there both, was to act evenly and consistently. the mischief would have ended. On the They had hitherto proceeded deliberately, contrary, the decision on the Benares busiand in full Houses, to discuss and decide ness, or rather the half decision, tended upon the charges, and had made a much to destroy all confidence in India, and to farther progress than many gentlemen throw every thing into confusion. For had, at the beginning, imagined it possi- how did it stand? A right hon. gentleman ble for them to do. No delay but what brought in a charge, on which he reprowas unavoidable could be imputed to the bated every step Mr. Hastings took reHouse, nor could any be imputed to his lative to Cheit Sing. This charge was right hon. friend (Mr. Burke), since the supported by a right hon. gentleman (Mr. House could not but have observed, that Fox), who particularly laboured to prove when the witnesses were under examina- this part, that under no circumstances tion, his right hon. friend curtailed it as could we exact military assistance from much as possible, and omitted many ques- Cheit Sing. It was very true that the tions that he intended to have asked, Chancellor of the exchequer (Mr. Pitt) merely to avoid every appearance of a had overturned all the arguments of the wish to procrastinate. Every possible dis- right hon. gentleman, and had taken the patch had been used; they had proceeded charges completely to pieces. But what a considerable way, and it had been ori- was the vote? That in the Benares charge ginally understood, that when they found there was matter of an impeachable nait difficult to procure full attendances, the ture; and the hon. gentleman must know business was to be hung up till the next that that charge, with the vote of the session. House upon it, was at this moment on its way to India, not from this country, but from another, which never for a moment lost sight of her interest. And was there a man who could doubt the uses to which it was possible such a charge and such a vote could be turned? He could wish a map of India were always upon the table of that House, that gentlemen might see to what dangers our possessions might be exposed. He was not alarmed by the news from India, but from the measures pursued here, which tended to destroy all government there, and to establish principles which must undo us. Could there! be a second opinion amongst men who i read the charge, and the vote upon that charge? And did it not tend to make every zemindar in India independent? Feeling as he did upon this subject, he could not help deprecating any delay.
Major Scott said, he was so convinced of the gross injustice and oppression which Mr. Hastings would sustain by a delay of six or seven months, and still more of the extreme danger to which our possessions in India would be exposed by a delay, that he could not avoid entering his solemn protest against every attempt to postpone the decision of the present inquiry. The hon. gentleman had observed, that a short delay could not be of very material consequence to Mr. Hastings, since he had long been arraigned, attacked, and censured by that House in resolutions or reports. The fact was undoubtedly true: he had been attacked and defended by all parties in turn, just as parties had changed in that House; but all parties had occasionally held him out to the public as one of their first and most valuable servants. The more he thought upon that subject, the stronger his conviction was, that we risked an empire in India if we dropped the inquiry in the present moment, after the decision of Tuesday se'nnight. He should be very sorry to say any thing in that House which should be
Mr. Pitt did not look upon the object of those who opposed the motion as any thing else than the postponement of the proceedings till next session. As to the idea of the hon. mover, that Mr. Hastings had a right to demand a speedy determination of the business, he agreed that he