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priests or laymen, delegates or citizens, soldiers or civilians, is capricious, inconsequential, impulsive, and morally impotent,—just in proportion as it resembles a popular assembly instead of a strictly limited and specially chosen bench of. justice. It is the instinctive sense of this truth that has made the hereditary peers, in the exercise of their ordinary jurisdiction, habitually abstain from taking part in the appeals between man and man that are brought before them. Every one knows and understands that not one in a hundred of the Lords feels himself justified in meddling with these appeals, even to the extent of putting a question. to a witness, or asking for the explanation of a phrase. How much more, then, does it behove the members of such an assembly to abstain where the power of the Crown or of the nation at large is on one side, and the equities invoked by a conquered prince or people are upon the other? What was wanted in 1788, and what is wanted still, was a high court of federal jurisdiction, consisting of the best men to be found in the legislature, the administration, and the law, on whom the great responsibility might safely be devolved of trying a complicated issue, and of putting on record the reasons of their decision. By some such method as this, the proceedings might have been brought to within decent limits as to cost and time, and the ineffable mockery of justice avoided which the prolongation of the impeachment for seven years, and the unassessed mulet of the defendant in £100,000 of costs, entailed.
When Hastings was at last summoned by the Chancellor to appear before the Lords on the 23d April 1795, to receive judgment, but twenty-nine peers in their robes were in attendance. A good many more, who shrank from sharing the judicial responsibility, appeared in their ordinary costume near the steps of the throne, curiously observing
the forms of procedure, as though it concerned them not. The members of the Upper House had been considerably augmented in the interval, and numbered now two hundred and sixty-two. Of these, forty-nine had acceded by inheritance, and forty-four had been created, or elected as Scotch peers. Pending the suit, eighty-seven who sat in the previous Parliament had died, or had not been reelected. Looking worn and aged by the anxieties of his seven years' trial, Hastings advanced to the bar, and once more knelt in submission. In turn the peers were called upon to say on their honour whether he were guilty or not. Six answered in the affirmative; in the negative twentythree. The six who were for condemnation were the Duke of Norfolk, the Earls of Carnarvon, Radnor, Fitzwilliam, and Suffolk, and the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough. Those who voted for acquittal were Markham, Lord Archbishop of York, the Dukes of Bridgewater and Leeds, the Marquis of Townshend, the Earls of Beverley, Warwick, Coventry, Mansfield, Morton, and Dorchester, Viscount Falmouth, the Bishops of Rochester and Bangor, and Lords Fife, Somers, Rawdon, Walsingham, Thurlow, Hawke, Boston, Sandys, and Middleton. Lord Loughborough then pronounced the judgment of acquittal, and ordered the prisoner to be discharged. What a moment was that of supreme excitement and exultation! Surrounded by nobles, prelates, courtiers, soldiers, India directors, agents, dependants, flatterers, and friends of all sorts, the phlegmatic little man was almost overpowered with gratulations. When they had ceased, ambitious hope once more stirred within him; and for a season he had cause to fancy that fortune might return. His costs during the trial amounted to £76,528, and other expenses which it entailed had exhausted nearly all the accumulations of his guilty reign.
A meeting of East India proprietors voted him, by way of compensation, £4000 a year for twenty-eight years; and capitalising the sum to meet his known exigencies, they advanced him £42,000, together with a loan of £50,000, vested in trustees for the purchase of Daylesford, that darling object of his boyish dreams, for which he had gone so far afield, and waded so deep in sin and shame. Daylesford was won at last. The reaction in his favour spread; and by the advice of many influential friends, he resolved to petition the Crown for the reimbursement of his legal expenses. Ministers, notwithstanding, held aloof, and no persuasions could prevail on Pitt to present his petition to the King.
Sir Elijah Impey likewise escaped punishment. On December 12, 1787, Sir Gilbert Elliot brought forward a motion for his impeachment in a speech of great ability. He charged him with "gross corruption, positive injustice, direct disobedience, intentional violation of the Acts under which he held his powers, and with having suborned evidence and given to falsehood the sanctity of an affidavit." The ex-Chief-Justice had, he said, been guilty of the most "scandalous enormities; he had perverted law to the purposes of tyranny; and thus he had alienated the hearts of the people of India, and had stained the name of Britain.. Next to the duty of bestowing honours on great and distinguished men who, being intrusted with the custody of the lives and properties of their fellow creatures, had preserved them against outrage and oppression, was the necessary, though painful, task of drawing down the vengeance of Parliament on the head of a servant whose pride had stretched his power into tyranny, and whose avarice had perverted his trust into plunder;-more than any other species of delinquency did the crimes of a judge
call for the vengeance of a nation."1 The crimes, indeed, did call, and Parliament for a season seemed attentively to listen, but the vengeance of the nation did not come. Government, while professing only to perform the duties of umpirage, contrived to let it be understood that they thought exposure was sufficient, and that they would rather not have the matter pressed to a conviction. So it fell through; and the name of Impey has come to pass as synonymous with judicial impunity. While the proceedings against his illustrious accomplice were still pending, the ex-Chief-Justice found a borough sufficiently ripe in decay to recognise in him a fitting representative. In mercy to the little town, now disfranchised, and long since, let us hope, repentant, let us omit its name.
1 Parliamentary History, vol. xxvi. p. 1338.
"The unity of our Government and our great military force give us such a superiority over the native princes, that we might, by watching opportunities, extend our dominion without much danger or expense, and at no very distant period, over a great part of the Peninsula. Our first care ought to be directed to the total subversion of Tippoo. After becoming masters of Seringapatam, we should find no great difficulty in advancing to the Kistna, when favoured by wars or revolutions in the neighbouring States. But we ought to have some preconcerted general scheme to follow upon such occasions."
-SIR T. MUNRO.1
OR the vacant place of Viceroy there were many competitors; yet the fitting man was not so easily found. If long experience, great ability, dauntless courage, marvellous success, powerful friends, and court favour, could not insure a Governor-General on his return home from being arraigned as a culprit, what safety could there be for his successor. The example of Hastings was calculated to deter cautious and punctilious men, and to disenchant reckless and avaricious men. There remained, however, a crowd of restless, needy, and adventurous waiters upon fortune, any of whom would have grasped with delight at £25,000 a year, and the jobbing of India for five or six
1 Letter to his father, 21st September 1798-Memoirs by the Rev. G. R. Gleig, vol. i. p. 203.