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state all this, to prove that we have not dealt in fabulous history, and that if any body has dealt in falsehood, it is Mr. Hastings's companion and associate in guilt, who must have known the country, and who, however faulty he was in other respects, had in this case no interest whatever in misrepresentation.
I might refer your lordships, if it were necessary, to Scrafton's account of that ancient government, in order to prove to you the happy comparative state of that country, even under its former usurpers. Our design, my lords, in making such references, is not merely to disprove the prisoner's defence, but to vindicate the rights and privileges of the people of India.
We wish to reinstate them in your sympathy. We wish you to respect a people as respectable as yourselves ;-a people, who know as well as you, what is rank, what is law, what is property —a people who know how to feel disgrace, who know what equity, what reason, what proportion in punishments, what security of property is, just as well as any of your lordships; for these are things which are secured to them by laws, by religion, by declarations of all their sovereigns. And what, my lords, is opposed to all this ?— The practice of tyrants and usurpers, which Mr. Hastings takes for his rule and guid
He endeavors to find deviations from legal government, and then instructs his counsel to say, that I have asserted there is no such thing as arbitrary power in the East. Good God ! if there was no such thing in any other part of the world, Mr. Hastings's conduct might have convinced me of the existence of arbitrary power, and have taught me much of its mischief.
But, my lords, we all know that there has been arbitrary power in India; that tyrants have usurped it; and that, in some instances, princes otherwise méritorious have violated the liberties of the people, and have been lawfully deposed for such violation. I do not deny that there are robberies on Hounslow Heath ; that there are such things as forgeries,
burglaries, and murders; but I say, that these acts are against law, and that whoever commit them commit illegal acts. When a man is to defend himself against a charge of crime, it is not instances of similar* violation of law, that is to be the standard of his defence. A man may as well say, I robbed at Hounslow Heath, but hundreds robbed there before me : to which I answer, the law has forbibden you to rob there; and I will hang you for having violated the law, notwithstanding the long list of similar violations which you have produced as precedents. No doubt, princes have violated the law of this country; they have suffered for it. Nobles have violated the law; their privileges have not protected them from punishment. Common people have violated the law; they have been hanged for it. I know no human being exempt from the law. The law is the security of the people of England, it is the security of the people of India, it is the security of every person that is governed, and of every person
There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity :—the law of nature and of nations. So far as any laws fortify this primeval law, and give it more precision, more energy, more effect by their declarations, such laws enter into the sanctuary, and participate in the sacredness of its character. But the man who quotes as precedents the abuses of tyrants and robbers, pollutes the very fountain of Justice, destroys the foundations of all law, and thereby removes the only safeguard against evil men, whether governors or governed the guard which prevents governors from becoming tyrants, and the governed from becoming rebels.
I hope your lordships will not think that I have unnecessarily occupied your time, in disproving the plea of arbitrary power, which has been brought forward at our bar : has been repeated at your lordship’s bar, and has been put upon the records of both Houses. I hope your lordships will not think that such monstrous doctrine should be passed over,
without all possible pains being taken to demonstrate its falsehood and to reprobate its tendency. I have not spared myself in exposing the principles avowed by the prisoner. At another time I will en avor to show you the manner in which he acted upon these principles. I cannot command strength to proceed further at present; and you, my lords, cannot give me greater bodily strength than I have.
FRIDAY, 30TH MAY, 1794.
SECOND DAY OF REPLY.
MY LORDS,-On the day of the sitting of this court, when I had the honor of appearing before you by the order of my fellow managers, I stated to you their observations and my own, upon two great points; one the demeanor of the prisoner at the bar, during his trial, and the other the principles of his defence. I compared that demeanor with the behavior of some of the greatest men in this kingdom, who have, on account of their offences, been brought to your bar, and who have seldom escaped your lordships' justice. I put the decency, humility, and propriety of the most distinguished men's behavior, in contrast with the shameless effrontery of this prisoner, who has presumptuously made a recriminatory charge against the House of Commons, and answered their impeachment by a counter impeachment, explicitly accusing them of malice, oppression, and the blackest ingratitude.
My lords, I next stated, that this recriminatory charge consisted of two distinct parts, injustice and delay. To the injustice we are to answer, by the nature and proof of the charges which we have brought before you; and to the delay, my lords, we have answered in another place. Into one of the consequences of the delay, the ruinous expense which the prisoner complains of, we have desired your lord
ships to make an inquiry, and have referred you to facts and witnesses, which will remove this part of the charge.
With regard to ingratitude, there will be a proper time for animadversion on this charge. For in considering the merits that are intended to be set off against his crimes, we shall have to examine into the nature of those merits, and to ascertain how far they are to operate, either as the prisoner designs they shall operate in his favor, as presumptive proofs that a man of such merits could not be guilty of such crimes, or as a sort of set-off to be pleaded in mitigation of his offences. In both of these lights we shall consider his services, and in this consideration we shall determine the justice of his charge of ingratitude.
My lords, we have brought the demeanor of the prisoner before you, for another reason. . We are desirous that your lordships may be enabled to estimate, from the proud presumption and audacity of the criminal at your bar, when he stands before the most awful tribunal in the world, accused by a body representing no less than the sacred voice of his country-what he must have been when placed in the seat of pride and power. What must have been the insolence of that man towards the natives of India, who, when called here to answer for enormous crimes, presumes to behave, not with the firmness of innocence, but with the audacity and hardness of guilt ?
It may be necessary that I should recall to your lordships' recollection the principles of the accusation and of the defence. Your lordships will bear in mind, that the matters of fact are all either settled by confession or conviction, and that the question now before you is no longer an issue of fact, but an issue of law. The question is, what degree of merit or demerit you are to assign by law to actions which have been laid before you, and their truth acknowledged. The principle being established, that you are to decide upon an issue at law, we examined by what law the prisoner ought to be tried ; and we preferred a claim which we do now