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done; at the fame time that he conceived Mr. Francis not to be entirely free from blame, for the countenance that he had given to a confiderable part of Mr. Haftings's conduct. From his behaviour then, and from that which he pursued upon the present occasion, there was room for fufpicion, that at the time, when he might have exerted himfelf to prevent many improper fteps from being taken, he had fat by with a fecret fatisfaction, contemplating the errors of Mr. Haftings, and regarding them as the foundation of future perfecutions against him.

In what he had faid Mr. Pitt defired to confine himfelf exprefsly to the exorbitancy of the fine, and not to include the fubfequent revolution of Benares, which was an event, that, under all the circumftances, could not poffibly be avoided. Mr. Hastings was certainly right in undertaking to punish the raja; and Cheit Sing was not apprifed from any overt act, that the fine intended to be levied was exorbitant. Notwithstanding this he had taken up arms, in order to ef cape from an arreft, to which he had fubjected himself by his own fault. He had excited a difpofition among his men to maffacre the British forces, and had afterwards withdrawn himself, and gone into All thefe circumopen rebellion. ftances confidered, the depofition of the raja was indifpenfible and neceffary. Mr. Pitt obferved, that the only fubject, which remained for him to mention, was the propofed refloration of Cheit Sing to his dominions. It was impoffible to decide any thing upon this at prefent. If he were reftored, it would create an unfair prejudice against a man now under accufation. If it were determined to

withhold his poffeffions, it might
imply an approbation of that, which
was hereafter to become a fubject
of criminal enquiry. Mr. Pitt
concluded, that he fhould certainly
agree to the prefent motion. Not
that he fhould confider himself as
committed to a final vote of im-
peachment, but only meaning to
be understood, that, if upon the
whole of the charges it fhould be
his opinion, that an impeachment
ought to be preferred, then this
act of oppreffion was fuch, as ought
to be made one of the articles of
In refolving
that impeachment.
to fine the raja 500,000 l. for a
mere delay, to pay 50,000 1, which
however he had actually paid, Mr.
Haftings had proceeded in a man-
ner arbitrary, unjust and tyranni-
cal. His determination destroyed
all relation between the degrees of
guilt and punishment. It was
grinding, it was overbearing, it
was utterly difproportionate and
fhamefully exorbitant. The charge
was farther fupported by Mr.
Powys, and oppofed by lord Mul-
grave, Mr. Grenville, Mr. Arden,
Mr. Nichols, Mr. Vanfittart, major
Scott, and Mr. Dempfter.
Dundas voted for the impeachment.
Upon a divifion the numbers ap-
peared, ayes 119, noes 79.

Three days later than this debate, the question came under dif. cuffion, whether or no it would be poffible to go through the whole of the charges, in hearing witneffes, and coming to a feparate vote upon each charge, in the courfe of the prefent feffion. The danger that was to be feared, was, that the feafon of the year would induce many members to leave town, and that the charges would come to be decided upon in thin houses, which would be a circumftance very unfeemly, if compared with the im


portance of the businefs, and might afford occafion of reprefenting the decifion, as not carrying with it the dignity, which properly belonged to a proceeding of the houfe of commons. To obviate this difficulty it was propofed by Mr. John James Hamilton, nephew to the earl of Abercorn, that they fhould vote a call of the houfe, to compel the attendance of the members. Major Scott pleaded with great earnettnefs for this meafure, and delivered it as his deliberate and folemn opinion, that the fate of the British empire in India was fufpended upon the circumftance, whether or no Mr. Haftings's impeachment was terminated in the feflion. He had converfed with perfons of honour and undoubted information, who had left Calcutta fo lately as in February, and their communieations had strongly confirmed him in this perfuafion: Mr. Fox profeffed himself an advocate for the propofed call, if it could be made efficient to the object of a full attendance. Mr. Hamilton fubmitted his motion to the houfe on the twenty-first of June, obferving at the fame time, that the only objection which could be urged, the inconvenience that might be felt by individuals, was of no value, when it was oppofed to what was due to the feelings of an accufed and perfecuted man. He had brought forward his motion in behalf of a perfon, whom he had never feen but at the bar of that houfe. But he repeated, that that perfon had spent the greatest part of his life in the fervice of the public, in one of the moft eminent fituations which a fubject could fill, and he thought, that it ought to be ascertained without delay, whether the only return he was to receive for his fervices was cenfure and infamy. Mr. She

ridan obferved, that a confiderable degree of odium must neceffarily be incurred by calling members back to town, after they had gone into the country, and made their ar rangements for the fummer; and, however Mr. Hamilton might be willing to take all the obloquy upon himself, he believed it would be fhared by all thofe, who were concerned in the bufinefs. Mr. Sheridan farther urged the impoffibility of making the call effectual, and observed, that it would occation so many delinquents by difobedience, that the house would be disabled from proceeding to inforce its own order. He ridiculed the defpondency of major Scott, who was ge nerally fo fanguine upon the affairs of India, and remarked, that he had refted his opinion upon dark hints and fuggeftions, as if recent advices had been received from India to that purpose, but that, if thofe advices were not produced, all infinuations of that nature muft pafs for nothing. Mr. Sheridan had made every poffible enquiry to difcover this extraordinary news, but he could hear of nothing, except the receipt of an extraordinary large diamond, faid to have been fent to Mr. Haftings, and prefented. to the king at an extraordinary and critical period of time. The motion was fupported by Mr. Dempfter and Mr. Hawkins Browne, and oppofed by fir Matthew White Ridley, Mr. Duncombe, lord George Cavendish, Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor and Mr. Pitt. On a divifion the members appeared, ayes 30, noes 99.

The fubject, to which Mr. Sheridan had alluded, of the receipt of a very valuable diamond by the king through the medium of Mr. Haftings, occafioned a confiderable quantity of newfpaper animadver. K 3


fion, partly of a ludicrous and partly of a ferious nature. Major Scott, who had flown imfelf par. ticularly alive to infinuations conveyed through that channel, thought proper to state the circumftances of the bufinefs, both from the prefs, and in a fpeech, which he made a few days after in the house of commons. This statement was unfortunately of fuch a nature, as not to be calculated in the beft poffible manner to counteract the animadverfions, by which he had been of fended. It appeared, that Mr. Haftings had received the diamond on the fecond of June, the fecond day of the Rohilla debate, and that it had been delivered to the fecretary of state on the thirteenth of june, the day of deciding the charge of

Benares. This delay major Scott took upon himfelf, and related the circumstances, which from day to day had prevented him from wait. ing upon lord Sydney on the subject. He alfo read a letter from Mr. Haflings, in which it was related, that the packet he had re ceived contained a letter from Ni. zam Ali Khan to the king, and another to himself, the latter of which was damaged, and fcarcely legible, if legible. Mr. Haftings gueffed the purpose of the effaced letter to be a commiffion to him, to deliver the letter to the king, and most probably the packet along with it, the contents of which he had not a clue to conjecture, but fuppofed it to contain fomething of extraor dinary value.

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Mr. Sheridan's Speech on the Charge of the Begums. Charges of Farruckabad, of the Contracts, of Fizulla Khan, of the Prefents, of the Revenues, and of Mifdemeanours in Oude voted. Mr. Haftings impeached at the Bar of the Houfe of Lords.


HE feffion of parliament for the year 1786 had undoubtedly clofed in a period, peculiarly critical to Mr. Haftings and his friends. One charge had already been decided in his favour and another against him. But this charge was confeffedly, in the opinion of the majority of the house of commons, not fufficiently weighty to be carried up alone as a ground of impeachment to the house of lords. It was fuppofed, perhaps in a higher degree than it was true, that the decifion of the minifter had turned the fcale against Mr. Haftings in the houfe of commons. But that decifion, with refpect to the future charges, was enveloped in the thickeft obfcurity. Concealment is un

doubtedly in fome cafes the effential quality of a great minifter, and Mr. Pitt feems to have poffeffed a peculiar faculty of this kind, which no attack upon his paffions, and no provocation could induce him to throw off for a moment. In this particular cafe, he professed to study each of the charges feparately, and not to make up his mind upon the fubject, till the period nearly ap proached, in which he was to deli ver his vote. He was not influenced, or at least not obviously influenced in the vote he had given, by thofe motives, which too often decide with public men, private advantage and perfonal intereft. But, fuppofing him to be governed purely by his own judgment of rectitude and


delinquency, yet he had not afford ed fufficient ground, in deciding upon the affair of Benares, to con jecture what would be his decifion upon the remaining charges. He had acquitted Mr. Haftings of all thofe circumstances of the tranfaction, which to the majority of its adverfaries had appeared most atrocious, and he had condemned him upon an intention, a determination of policy, which had never been carried into execution. The line of conduct, which Mr. Pitt had chalked out to himself, was undoubtedly disagreeable to Mr. Haftings's friends, and it was even pretended by fome perfons, that it was not altogether convenient to the friends of Mr. Pitt. They imagined that Mr. Grenville and lord Mulgrave in particular, the former of whom voted against Mr. Haftings upon many of the fubfequent charges, would not have taken fo decided a part in his favour in the outfet, if they could perfectly have forefeen the line of conduct, that would have been pursued by the minifter.

The third charge was opened in the house of commons by Mr. Sheridan on the feventh of February 1787. The fpeech he delivered upon this occafion was five hours and a half in duration, and has been the fubject of the loudest and moft extraordinary encomiums that ever were pronounced. Thofe, who heard it, feemed to imagine, that all the eloquence of ancient or modern times was greatly furpaffed and outdone upon this occation. It may be thought, that the incidental circumftances that attended the affair, the charge being perhaps of all others the moft weighty and capable of aggravation, and its being as it were the critical queftion, which from its date and arrangement muft decide upon the fate of the bufinefs, gave

to the fpeech a luftre, which was not frictly inherent in it. It may be thought, that Mr. Sheridan, having gradually rifen in his eloquence from beginnings that were by no means aftonifhing, and have ing in this cafe furprized his hear ers, and gone beyond all that they had conceived of him, on this ac count entered into a comparison not entirely equal, with those speakers, whofe merits had long been a topic of public notoriety. But whatever deductions fome perfons might chufe to make on this account, the confequences that attended his fpeech were truly admirable. Conviction appeared to follow upon all his arguments; the prejudices and prepoffeffions of his hearers were gradually overcome. Upon a fubject, which had particularly divided, not only the houfe of commons, but the nation at large, into a variety of fentiments, this memorable fpeech produced almoft an univerfal union, with the exception principally of thofe, who from perfonal attachment, and the honourable feelings of gratitude and frienddip, perfevered in fupporting what from this moment the houfe of commons thought proper to abandon.

Mr. Sheridan began with animad, verting upon fome incidental circumftances which had recently occurred. He particularly dwelt with great indignation upon what he styled, the low and artful ftratagem, which had just been practifed, of deliver, ing to the members and others, in this last period of parliamentary enquiry, a printed paper, bearing the fignature of Warren Haftings, and which he was to confider as a fecond defence against the charge, which he was now to bring forward. Mr. Sheridan obferved, that it had been infinuated by fome perfon, that parliament was mifpending its K 4


time in attending to this fubject, at a period when they might be more ufefully employed, when a commercial treaty with France had juft been concluded, and there were other matters depending of immediate moment, which were fuflicient to engrofs their attention. Was parliament mifpending its time by enquiring into the oppreflions practifed upon millions of unfortunate perfons in India, and endeavouring to bring to exemplary and condign punifment the during delinquent, who had been guilty of the moit flagrant acts of enormous tyranny and rapacious peculation? Mr, Sheridan faid, that parliament had always fhown its peculiar detella, tion of that novel and bafe fophifm in the principles of judicial enquiry, that crimes might be compounded, that the guilt of Mr. Hatirgs was to be balanced by his fuccefles, and that fortunate events were a full and complete fet of again a fyflem of oppreffion, corruption, breach of faith, peculation and treachery. The conduct of the houfe of commons in this refpect during the preceding year had done them immortal honour, and proved to the world, that, however degenerate an example fome of the British fubjects had exhibited in India, the people of England collectively, fpeaking and acting by their reprefentatives, felt, as men fhould teel on fuch an occalon. They had offerted, that there were acts, that no political necity could warrant; and that, a

flagrancies of fuch an inexP e defcription, was the treatpet of Chet Sing. They had declared, that the man who brought the charges was no falfe accufer, that he was not moved by envy, malice or any unworthy motives to blacken a potle's name, but that he was the indefatigable, the perfevering, and at length the fucceff

ful champion of oppreffed multi tudes against their tyrannical oppreffor. They had proved them felves fuperior to the prefumptuous pretenfions that were advanced in favour of this pillar of India, this corner-ftone of our ftrength in the Eat, this talifman of the British territories in Alia, whofe character was faid to be above cenfure, and whofe conduct was not within the reach of fufpicion..

Mr. Sheridan fated the prefent charge refpecting the begums of Oude, as replete with criminality of the blackeft die, with tyranny the most vile and premeditated, with corruption the moft open and fhamclef, with oppreflion the mot fevere and grinding, and with croelty the moit hard and unparalleled. He profeffed to God, that he felt in his own bofom the ftrongeft perfonal conviction on the prefent fubject. It was upon that conviction, that he believed the conduct of Mr. Haflings in regard to the nabob of Oude, and to the begums, comprehended in it every species of human offence. He had proved himfelf guilty of rapacity at once vio lent and infatiable; of treachery cool and premeditated; of opprel fion felfs and unprovoked; of breach of faith unwarrantable and bate; of cruelty unmanly and unmerciful, Thefe were the crimes, of which in his foul and his conscience he arraigned Mr. Haftings, and of which he had the confidence to fay he fhould convict him. He was far from meaning to reft the charge upon affertion, or upon the warm expreffions, which the impuife of wounded feelings might produce. He would cftablish every part of the charge by the most unanfwerable proof and the moll unquestionable evidence. He would fupport every fact by a teflimony, which few would venture to con


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