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probability of its being affected by the proposed plan. Indeed no subject escaped his attention.
Burke, whenever he spoke of the enors mities of the East India Company's servants, described Mr. Hastings as the CaptainGeneral of iniquity; and pledged himself to bring forward momentous aharges against him, as soon as he should arrive in England. During the recess of 1785 Mr. Hastings returned from India. Parliament met January 24, 1786. After his Majesty's speech had undergone a discussion, Major Scott, agent to the late Governor-General of Bengal, reminded the house that Mr. Hastings had been some months arrived from his government; and he, therefore, called on Mr. Burke to bring forward the charges. Mr. Burke replied to the Major, by relating an anecdote of the great Duke of Parma, who, being challenged by Henry the Fourth of France to bring his forces into the open field, and instantly decide their disputes,' answered, with a smile,' that he knew very
well what he had to do, and was not come so far to be directed by an enemy.'
Though Burke did not immediately proceed to the proposed investigation of Mr. Hastings's conduct, it now engaged his at. tention so much that he did not enter greatly into other subjects of parliamentary deliberation. On the Duke of Richmond's plan of fortification, while Pitt, of the Ministers, stood almost alone, Opposition was conducted by the joint ability of Mr. Windham, Mr. Courtenay, Mr. Fox, Lord North, and Mr. Sheridan; but without the aid of Burke. On the reduction of the national debt, the transfer of duties on wine from the Customs to the Excise, and several other subjects of consequence,
he did not take an active part.
February 17th he called the attention of the house to the conduct of Mr. Hastings.
No measure, which he ever supported, subjected Burke to more o loquy and abuse than the prosecution of Hastings.
most frivolous, contemptible, and maligriant motives were ascribed to him by those who either were favourable to the GovernorGeneral, from admiration of his general conduct, from gratitude for particular benefits, or pretended to be so from receiving pay. Mr. M'Cormick, in deducing the proceedings of Burke from resentment against Mr. Hastings, on account of inattention to Mr. William Burke, is merely the repeater of hacknied abuse ; and has not, as in many of his assertions against this great man, the merit of originality. That Burke,
any man, would undertake so laborious a task, which required such minuteness of investigation concerning so intricate details, the materials to be fetched from such a distance, with so great and powerful a body inimical to an inquiry, merely because his friend had been slighted, is hardly within the compass of credibility. The allegation is supported by no proof, and is altogether improbable. *
The same observation will apply to all the other prosce cutors, as far as they were concerned; but to none with
Although the prosecution of Hastings long engaged, and at last fatigued the public attention ; and although Burke's conduct in it has been often discussed ; yet there are many who have neither considered the rise and progress of the discussion, nor the series of Burke's proceedings, so as to be able to form an accurate estimate of his motives and reasons.
It may, therefore, be not irrelative to the object of this work to take a short review of the steps that led to the impeachment.
more justness than to Mr. Francis. If riches or power had been the objects of that gentleman, whether would his official situation best enable him to gratify avarice or ambition, in supporting or opposing the Governor-General, who had so much the means of bestowing riches and power? Was it by thwarting the dispenser of wealth and high appointment that he could most effectually promote the interest of either himself or his friends ? What benefit could have accrued to him from the admission of charges which he should know to be unfounded? What motives could be assigned for such a conduct? Mr. Francis is a man, and, as of that species, must act from some such motive as prompts the actions of other men.' To justify the hypothesis, that he made charges which he himself did not believe to be true, another must be admitted, that he is a being sui generis, and not actuated by the usual inducements of the rest of mankind. The reader will observe, that it is not here meant to impeach Hastings, but to shew the absurdity of that censure which imputes conduct to which there exist not motives,
The act of 1773 had empowered his Majesty to constitute a supreme court of judicature, whose authority should extend to British subjects, or such others as were for the time employed in the service of the India Company. Complaints were made by the Supreme Council, private subjects of Britain in India, and the Company, 1. That the Judges had greatly exceeded their powers: 2. That it extended its jurisdiction to persons.whom it does not appear to have been the intention of the King or Parliament to submit to its jurisdiction : 3d. That it has taken cognizance of matters, both originally and pending the suit, the exclusive determination of which they humbly conceive it to have been the intention of the King and Parliament to leave to other Courts: 4. That the Judges consider the criminal law of England as in force, and binding upon the natiyes of Bengal, though utterly repugnant