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571. Proceedings on the Trial of an Information exhibited ExOìficio, by the King's

the King's Attorney-General, against John STOCKDALE for a Libel on the House of Commons; tried in the Court of King's-Bench Westminster, before the Right Hon. Lloyd Lord KENYON, Chief Justice of England, on Wednesday the Ninth of December : 30 GEORGE III. A. D. 1789. [Taken in Short-hand by Joseph Gurney. ] *

[The pamphlet which gave rise to the follow sat down voluntarily, without a wisho

ing trial, was written by the Rev. Mr. Lo prospect of personal advantage, to examine gan, some time one of the ministers of those articles which had been presented to Leith, near Edinburgh ;-“ A gentleman

the House of Commons by the managers, formed to be thc ornament and instructor then a committee of secresy, and which of the age in which he lived: all his writ now form the articles before the Lords, ings are distinguished by the sagacity of When he had compleated his pamphlet, he their reasonings, the brilliancy of their submitted it in manuscript to the perusal imaginations, and the depth of their phi of a gentleman who is intimately conlosophical principles. Though cut off in nected with Mr. Hastings. That gentlethe flower of his age, while the prosecution man was certainly very ill qualified to ach against his publisher was depending, he vice him as a lawyer; it never having en left behind him several respectable pro tered into his imagination, that after the ductions, and particularly Elements of torrent of abuse that had been poured out Lectures upon the Philosophy of Ancient upon Mr. Hastings, for years, any thing History; which though imperfect, and un said in reply could be deemed libellous, finished, will afford to the discerning, suffi and therefore he merely examined whether cient reason to regret that his talents did Mr. Logan was correct in his statement of not remain to be matured by age, and ex

facts, and communicated to him every par panded by the fostering breath of public ticular relative to the last thirteen articles. applause."

Not satisfied with this communication, Mr. Such is the character, given of Mr. Logan in Logan examined the voles and the speeches

the last New Annual Register ; but as his as printed and circulated throughout Great review of the charges against Mr. Hastings

Britain. After an accurate investigation, has made so much noise in the world, it he thought himself justified in inserting i may not be uninteresting to state by what his pamphlet what a member had said in means he became so intimately acquainted the House, that the Commons had voted with the politics of India.

thirteen out of twenty articles, without For some time previous to his decease, Mr. reading them,

Logan was the principal author of that part The bookseller to whom Mr. Logan ork of the English Review which gives the ginally presented his pamphlet offered a general state of foreign and domestic po sum for it which he conceived so inadeTitics. The inquiries in the House of Com quate to its importance, that he carried it mons which led to the impeachment of to Mr. Stockdale, to whom he gave it; Mr. Hastings, formed very naturally the taking for himself a few copies only, which most material part of that Review for a were sent in his name to men of the first considerable time; and his strictures upon eminence in letters, both in London and the arguments and the decision on the Edinburgh. Benares and the Begum charges, are written After it had been some time in circulation with great force and elegance; and con and read with great avidity, it was publicly tain reflections infinitely more pointed than complained of by Mr. Fox. That gentleany of those which Mr. Fox objected to in man quoted what he conceived to be the his pamphlet.

libellous passages. The following day he Having qualified himself by the information moved an address to his majesty, to direct

that he had acquired from intense appli his attorney-general to prosecute the aucation, to give to the world what he con thors and publishers, and the motion was ceived to be a fair and impartial account catried nemine contradicente ; but owing to of the administration of Mr. Hastings, he the sickness of the principal witness the

trial was deferred for nearly two years. * In this case I have also availed myself of This prosecution which has been attended the Report inserted in the second edition of with a very beavy expense to Mr. StockErskine's Speeches, by Ridgeway.

dale, and has been nearly two years $

depending, hath excited universal atten- | days from the feast day of Easter in the same tion.

term, and for our said lord the king giveth The acknowledged accuracy of Mr. Gurney the Court here to understand and be inform

is too well known to require any particular ed. that before the printing and publishing of praise on this occasion; but it never was the several false, scandalous, infamuus, wickmore remarkable than in the present in- ed, malicious, and seditious libels, hereinafter stance; yet the eloquent and excellent mentioned, the Commons of Great Britain in speech of Mr. Erskine will appear to great parliament assembled had, at the bar of the disadvantage to those who had the good House of Lords, impeached Warren llastings, fortune to hear it, so much even the hest esg., late governor-general of Bengal, of high speeches depend upon the power of deli- crimes and misdemeanors, and had there exvery. It was spoke in as crowded a court, hibited divers articles of impeachment of high as ever appeared in the King's-bench. crimes and misdemeanors against the said The exertions of that gentleman in support Warren Hastings, to wit, at Westminster of his clients are too well known, to ac- aforesaid, in the county of Middlesex aforequire new force from any thing that can said; yet John Stockdale, late of the parish be said of him here; but on no occasion of St. James's, Westminster, in the county of and at no period, did he display those Middlesex, bookseller, well knowing the prewonderful abilities that he possesses in a mises, but being a wicked, seditious, and illhigher degree, and Mr. Erskine will be disposed person, and having no regard for the quoted as the steady friend, and supporter laws of this realm or for the public peace and of the constitutional rights of the people tranquillity of this kingdom, and most unlawof Great Britain, as long as the sacred fully, wickedly, and maliciously devising, confame of liberty shall animate the breast of triving, and intending to asperse, scandalize, an Englishman.

and vilify the Commons of Great Britain in The result of this trial proves how danger- parliament assembled, and most wickedly and

ous to public liberty it would be, were any audaciously to represent their proceedings in body of men parties and judges in their parliament as corrupt and unjust, and to make own cause. No good subject will call into it to be believed and thought as if the maquestion unnecessarily, any of the privi- jority of the Commons of Great Britain in leges clained by the House of Commons; parliament assembled, were a most wicked, but if in the instance before us the House, iyrannical, base, and corrupt set of persons, consulting former precedents, had taken and to bring the Commons of Great Britain upon itself to state the crime and to pro- in parliament assembled into hatred and connounce judgment, a British subject might tempt with the subjects of this kingdom, and have been seized and imprisoned some to raise, excite, and create most groundless months, probably to the ruin of himself distrusts in the minds of all the king's suband his family, without the possibility of jects, as if from the profligacy and wickedness reparation. It may therefore with the of the Commons of Great Britain in parliagreatest truth be observed, that by the ment assembled, great injustice would be exertions of Mr. Erskine, and by the deci- done to the said 'Warren Hastings on the fifsion on this prosecution, the freedom of teenth day of February, in the twenty-eighth the press, and the liberty of the subject, 1 year of the reign of our said present sovereign are fully secured.—January 13th, 1790.- Jord the king, at Westminster aforesaid, in Orig. Ed.]

the county of Middlesex aforesaid, with force and arms, unlawfully, wickedly, maliciously,

and seditiously printed and published, and [For the proceedings in the House of Com- caused and procured to be printed and pub

mons on February 14th and 15th, 1788, in lished, in a certain book, or pamphlet, inticonsequence of which the following trial tuled, "A Review of the Principal Charges

• against Warren Hastings, esq., late Governor took place, see the New Parliamentary General of Bengal,' a certain false, scanHistory, Vol. XXVII. pp. 1.7.]

dalous, wicked, seditious, and malicious libe!

of and concerning the said impeachment of THE INFORMATION,

the said Warren Hastings, so exhibited as of Easter Term, in the Twenty-eighth aforesaid, and of and concerning the ComYear of the Reign of King George the bled, containing amongst other things divers

mons of Great Britain in parliament assemThird.

false, scandalous, seditious, and malicious Middleser, BE it remembered, that Richard matters of and concerning the said impeach

} to wit.

Pepper Arden, esq. attorney- ment, and of and concerning the Commons general of our present sovereign lord the king, of Great Britain in parliament assembled, acwho for our present sovereign lord the king cording to the tenour and effect following, to in this behalf prosecuteth, in his own proper wit: the House of Commons (meaning the person comes here into the Court of our said Commons of Great Britain in parliament asIord the king, before the king himself, at sembled) has now given its final decision Westminster, on Wednesday next after fifteen with regard to the inerits and demerits of Mr.

Hastings (meaning the said Warren Hastings, , and the votes (meaning the votes of the Comesq., late governor-general of Bengal). The mons of Great Britain in parliament assemgrand inquest of England (meaning the said bled) were given without inquiry, argument, Commons of Great Britain in parliament as or conviction ; a majority (meaning a masembled) have delivered their charges (mean- jority of the Commons of Great Britain in ing the charges of the said Commons of parliament assembled) had determined to imGreat Britain in parliament assembled) and peach; opposite parties met each other and preferred their impeachment (meaning their justled in the dark, to perplex the political impeachment of the said Warren Hastings); drama and bring the hero (meaning the said their allegations are referred to proof, and Warren Hastings, esq.), to a tragic catastrophe; from the appeal to the collective wisdom and and in another part thereof, according to the justice of the nation, in the supreme tribunal tenour and effect following, to wit. But if, of the kingdom (meaning the lords spiritual after exerting all your efforts in the cause of and temporal in parliament assembled), the your country, you return covered with laurels question comes to be determined, whether and crowned with success, if you preserve a Mr. Hastings (meaning the said Warren Hast- loyal attachment to your sovereign, you may ings, esq.) be guilty or not guilty? What expect the thunders of parliamentary vencredit can we give to multiplied and accu geance; you will certainly be impeached, and mulated charges (meaning the said charges probably be undone (meaning thereby to of high crimes and misdemeanors so exhi- cause it to be believed and understood, that bited by the Commons of Great Britain in the Commons of Great Britain in parliament parliament assembled as aforesaid, against assembled had impeached the said Warren the said Warren Hastings), when we find Hastings of high crimes and misdemeanors, that they (meaning the said charges of high not from motives of justice, but because the crimes and misdemeanors so exhibited by the said Warren Hastings had exerted all his Commons of Great Britain in parliament as- efforts in the cause of his country, and resembled as aforesaid, against the said Warren turned covered with laurels and crowned with Hastings) originate from misrepresentation and success, and preserved a loyal attachment to falsehood (meaning thereby to cause it to be our said present sovereign lord the king); and believed and understood, that the said charges in another part thereof, according to the tenour of high crimes and misdemeanors so exhibited and effect following, to wit: The office of calm by the Commons of Great Britain in parliament deliberate justice is to redress grievances as assembled as aforesaid, did originate from well as to punish offences. It has been misrepresentation and 'falsehood); and in affirmed, that the natives of India have been another part thereof according to the tenour deeply injured; but has any motion been and effect following, to wit: An impeach- made to make them compensation for the inment of error in judgment, with regard to the juries they have sustained? Have the aoquantum of a fine, and for an intention that cusers of Mr. Hastings (meaning the said never was executed and never known to the Warren Hastings, esq.) ever proposed to offending party, characterises a tribunal in-bring back the Rohillas to the country from quisition rather than a court of parliament which they were expelled? To restore Cheit (meaning thereby to cause it to be believed Sing to the zemindary of Benares? or to roand understood that the Commons of Great turn to the nabob of Oude the present which Britain in parliament assembled had pro- the governor of Bengal received from him ceeded in the said impeachment of the said for the benefit of the company? till such mea Warren Hastings in a manner unjust and un sures are adopted and in the train of negoworthy of a House of parliament of Great ciation the world has every reason to conclude Britain); and in another part thereof, accord that the impeachment of Mr. Hastings (meaning to the tenour and effect following, to wit: ing the said impeachment so exhibited by the The other charges (meaning divers of the said Commons of Great Britain in parliament charges of the said impeachment against the assembled against the said Warren Hastings, said Warren Hastings, esq.) are so insignifi-esq.) is carried on from motives of personal cant in themselves, or founded on such gross anímosity, not from regard to public justice; misrepresentations, that they would not affect to the great scandal and dishonour of the an obscure individual, much less a public cha Commons of Great Britain in parliament asracter; they are merely added to swell the sembled and in high contempt of their aucatalogue of accusations, as if the boldness of thority; to the great disturbance of the public calumny would insure its success, and a mul- peace and tranquillity of this kingdom; in tiplicity of charges were an accumulation of contempt of our present sovereigu lord the crimes. Thirteen of them (meaning thirteen king and his laws; to the evil and pernicious of the said charges so exhibited by the Com- example of all others in the like case mons of Great Britain in parliament assem- offending; and also against the peace of our bled against the said Warren Hastings, esq., said sovereign lord the king, his crown and as aforesaid) passed in the House of Com- dignity. And the said attorney-general of our mons (meaning the said Commons of Great said present lord the king, for our said lord Britain in parliament assembled) not only the king, further giveth the Court here to unwithout investigation, but without being read; derstand and be informed, that the said John VOL. XXII.

R

Stockdale, being such person as aforesaid, | Hastings, so exhibited as aforesaid, and of and contriving, and wickedly and maliciously and concerning the Commons of Great Britain devising and intending as aforesaid, after- in parliament assembled, containing, amongst wards, to wit, on the fifteenth day of February, other things, according to the tenourand effect in the twenty-eighth year aforesaid, at West- following, to wit: an impeachment of error minster aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, in judgment, with regard to the quantum of with force and arms," unlawfully, wickedly, a fine, and for an intention that never was maliciously and seditiously printed and pub- executed, and never known to the offending lished, and caused to be printed and pub- party, characterises a tribunal inquisition, lished, in a certain other book, or pamphlet, rather than a court of parliament (meaning intituled, “ A Review of the Principal Charges thereby to cause it to be believed and under' against Warren Hastings, esq., late Governor stood, that the Commons of Great Britain in . General of Bengal, a certain other false, parliament assembled, had proceeded in the scandalous, wicked, seditious, and malicious said impeachment of the said Warren Hast libel, of and concerning the said impeachment ings, in a manner unjust, and unworthy of a of the said Warren Hastings, so exhibited as House of parliament of Great Britain): to aforesaid, and of and concerning the Com- the great scandal and dishonour of the Commons of Great Britain in parliament assem mous of Great Britain in parliament assembled, containing, amongst other things, ac- bled, and in high contempt of their authoeording to the tenour, and effect following to rity; to the great disturbance of the public wit: What credit can we give to the multi- peace and tranquillity of this kingdom; in plied and accumulated charges (meaning the contempt of our said present sovereign lord said charges of high crimes and misde- the king and his laws, to the evil and pernimeanors, so exhibited by the Commons of cious example of all others in the like case Great Britain in parliament assembled as offending, and also, against the peace of our aforesaid, against the said Warren Hastings), said present sovereign lord the king, his when we find that they (meaning the said crown and dignity, &c. And the said attorcharges of high crimes and misdemeanors, soney-general of our said lord the king, for our exhibited by the Commons of Great Britain said lord the king, further gives the Court here in parliament assembled as aforesaid, against to understand, and be informed, that the said the said Warren Hastings) originate from John Stockdale, being such person as aforemisrepresentation and falsehood (meaning said, and contriving and wickedly and malithereby to cause it to be believed and under- ciously devising and intending as aforesaid, stood, that the said charges of high crimes afterwards, to wit, on the said fifteenth day of and misdemeanors, so exhibited by the Com- February, in the twenty-eighth year aforesaid, mons of Great Britain in parliament assem at Westminster aforesaid, in the county aforebled as aforesaid, did originate from misre said, with force and arms, unlawfully, wickpresentation and falsehood, to the greatedly, maliciously, and seditiously, printed scandal and dishonour of the Commons of and published, and caused to be printed and Great Britain in parliament assembled, and published, in a certain other book, or pam. in high contempt of their authority; to the phlet, intituled, ' A Review of the Principal great disturbance of the public peace and Charges against Warren Hastings, esq., late tranquillity of this kingdom; in contempt of Governor General of Bengal, a certain our present sovereign lord the king and his other false, scandalous, wicked, seditious, and laws; to the evil and pernicious example of all malicious libel, of and concerning the said others in the like case oftending; and also, impeachment of the said Warren Hastings, against the peace of our said present sovereign so exhibited as aforesaid, and of and concernlord the king, his crown and dignity. And ing the Commons of Great Britain in parliathe said attorney-general of our said lord the ment assembled, containing, amongst other king, for our said lord the king, further gives things, according to the tenour and effect folthe Court here to understand and be informed, lowing, to wit: The other charges (meaning that the said John Stockdale, being such divers of the charges of the said impeachment person as aforesaid, and contriving and against the said Warren Hastings, esg.) are wickedly and maliciously devising and intend so insignificant in themselves, or founded on ing as aforesaid, afterwards, to wit, on the such gross misrepresentations, that they fifteenth day of February, in the twenty- would not affect an obscure individual, much eighth year aforesaid, at Westminster afore- less a public character; they are merely added said, in the county aforesaid, with force and to swell the catalogue of accusations, as if arms, unlawfully, wickedly, maliciously and the boldness of calumny could ensure its sucseditiously printed and published, and caused cess, and a multiplicity of charges were an acto be printed and published, in a certain other cumulation of crimes; thirteen of them book, or pamphlet, intituled, “ A Review of the (meaning thirteen of the said charges so ex• Principal Charges against Warren Hastings, hibited by the Commons of Great Britain in 'esq, late Governor General of Bengal,' a parliament assembled, against the said Warren certain other false, scandalous, wicked, sedi- İlastings, esq., as aforesaid) passed in the tious, and malicious libel, of and concerning | House of Commons (meaning the Commons the said impeachment of the said Warren of Great Britain in parliament assembled) not

only without investigation, but without being in contempt of our present sovereign lord the read, and the votes (meaning the votes of the king, and his laws; to the pernicious example Commons of Great Britain in parliament as of all others in the like case offending; and sembled) were given without inquiry, argu- also, against the peace of our said present soment, or conviction : a majority (meaning a vereign lord the king, his crown and dignity, majority of the Commons of Great Britain in &c. And the said attorney-general of our porliament assembled) had determined to im- said lord the king, for our said lord the king, peach; opposite parties met each other and further gives the Court here to understand justled in the dark, to perplex the political and be informed, that the said John Stockdrama, and bring the hero (meaning the said dale, being such person as aforesaid, and conWarren Hastings, esq.) to a tragic catastrophe; triving, and wickedly and maliciously devising to the great scandal and dishonour of the and intending as aforesaid, afterwards, to wit, Commons of Great Britain in parliament as on the said fifteenth day of February, in the -sembled, and in high contempt of their au- twenty-eighth year aforesaid, at Westminster thority; to the great disturbance of the aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, with force pablic peace and tranquillity of this kingdom; and arms, unlawfully, wickedly, maliciously, in contempt of our present sovereign lord the and seditiously printed and published, and king and his laws; to the evil and pernicious caused and procured to be printed and pube .example of all others in the like case offending, lished, in a certain other book, or pamphand also against the peace of our said pre- let, intituled, "A Review of the Principal

sent sovereign lord the king, his crown and Charges against Warren Hastings, esq. late dignity, &c. And the said attorney-general Governor General of Bengal, a certain of our said lord the king, for our said lord the other false, scandalous, wicked, seditious, king, further gives the Court here to under- and malicious libel, of and concerning the stand and be informed, that the said John said impeachment of the said Warren llastStockdale, being such person as aforesaid, and ings, so exhibited as aforesaid, and of and contriving and wickedly and maliciously de concerning the Commons of Great Britain in vising and intending as aforesaid, afterwards, parliament assembled, containing, amongst to wit, on the said fifteenth day of February, other things, according to the tenor and effect in the twenty-eighth year aforesaid, at West- following, to wit: The office of calm deliminster aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, berate justice, is to redress grievances as well with force and arms, unlawfully, wickedly, as to punish offences. It has been affirmed analiciously, and seditiously, printed and pub- that the natives of India have been deeply lished, and caused and procured to be printed injured, but has any motion been made to and published, in a certain other book, or make them compensation for the injuries pamphlet, intituled, “ A Review of the Prin- they have sustained? llave the accusers of

cipal Charges against Warren Hastings, esq. Mr. Hastings (meaning the said Warren Hastlate Governor General of Bengal,' a certain ings, esq.) ever proposed to bring back the other false, scandalous, wicked, seditious, and Rohillas to the country from which they were malicious libel, of and concerning the said expelled? to restore Cheit Sing to the zeminimpeachment of the said Warren Hastings, dary of Benares? or to return to the nahob of so exhibited as aforesaid, and of and con- Oude the present, which the governor of cerning the Commons of Great Britain in Bengal received from him for the benefit of parliament assembled, containing, amongst the company? Till such measures are adopted, other things, according to the tenour and and in the train of negociation, the world has effect following, to wit. But if after exerting every reason to conclude that the impeachall your efforts in the cause of your country, ment of Mr. Hastings (meaning the said imyou return covered with laurels, and crowned peachment so exhibited by the Commons of with success; if you preserve a loyal attach- Great Britain in parliament assembled, against ment to your sovereign, you may expect the the said Warren Hastings, esq., is carried on thunders of parliamentary vengeance; you will from motives of personal animosity, not from certainly be impeached, and probably be un regard to public justice; to the great scandal done (meaning thereby to cause it to be be- and dishonour of the Commons of Great lieved and understood, that the Commons of Britain in parliament assembled, and in high Great Britain in parliament assembled, had contempt of their authority; to the great disimpeached the saíd Warren Hastings of high turbance of the public peace and tranquillity crimes and misdemeanors, not from motives of this kingdom; in contempt of the present of justice, but because the said Warren Hast- sovereign lord the king, and his laws; to the ings had exerted all his efforts in the cause of evil and pernicious example of all others in . his country, and returned covered with laurels the like case offending; and also against the and crowned with success, and preserved a loyal peace of our said lord the present king, his attachment to our sovereign lord the present crown and dignity, &c. Whereupon the said king); to the great scandal and dishonour of attorney-general of our said lord the king, the Commons of Great Britain in parliament who for our said lord the king, in this behall, assembled, and in high contempt of their au- prosecuteth for our said lord the king, prayeth thority; to the great disturbance of the pub- the consideration of the Court, here in the lic peace and tranquillity of this kingdom; premises, and that due process of law may

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