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Your Lordships shall now hear what was the upshot of the whole. The Company soon afterwards hearing that this college was become the greatest nuisance in Calcutta, and that it had raised the cries of all the inhabitants against it, one of their servants, a Mr. Chapman, was deputed by the Governor, Sir John Shore, to examine into it, and your Lordships will find the account he gives of it in your minutes. In short, my Lords, we find that this was a seminary of robbers, housebreakers, and every nuisance to society; so that the Company was obliged to turn out the master, and to remodel the whole. Your Lordships will now judge of the merits and value of this, one of the sets-off brought forward by the prisoner against the charges which we have brought forward against him : it began in injustice and peculation, and ended in a seminary for robbers and housebreakers.
Nothing now remains to be pressed by me upon your Lordships’ consideration, but the account given by the late Governor-General, Earl Cornwallis, of the state in which he found the country left by his predecessor, Mr. Hastings, the prisoner at your bar. But, patient as I know your Lordships to be, I also know that your strength is not inexhaustible; and though what I have farther to add will not consume much of your Lordships' time, yet I conceive that there is a necessity for deferring it to another day.
. Y LORDS,--I should think it necessary to make an apology to your Lordships for appearing before you one day more, if I were inclined to measure this business either by the standard of my own ability, or by my own impatience, or by any supposed impatience of yours. I know no measure, in such a case, but the nature of the subject, and the duty which we owe to it. You will therefore, my Lords, permit me, in a few words, to lead you back to what we did yesterday, that you may the better comprehend the manner in which I mean to conclude the business to-day. My Lords, we took the liberty of stating to you the condition of Bengal before our taking possession of it, and of the several classes of its inhabitants. We first brought before you the Mahometan inhabitants, who had the judicial authority of the country in their hands; and we proved to you the utter ruin of that body of people, and with them of the justice of the country, by their being, both one and the other, sold to an infamous woman called Munny Begum. We next showed you, that the whole landed interest, the zemindars, or Hindoo gentry of the country, was likewise ruined by its being given over, by letting it on a five years’ lease, to infamous farmers, and giving it up to their merciless exactions, – and afterwards by subjecting the rank of those zemindars, their title-deeds, and all their pecuniary affairs, to the minutest scrutiny, under pain of criminal punishment, by a commission granted to a nefarious villain called Gunga Govind Sing. We lastly showed you that the remaining third class, that of the English, was partly corrupted, or had its authority dissolved, and that the whole superintending English control was subverted or subdued, - that the products of the country were diminished, and that the revenues of the Company were dilapidated, by an overcharge of expenses, in four years, to the amount of 500,000l., in consequence of these corrupt, dangerous, and mischievous projects. We have farther stated, that the Company’s servants were corrupted by contracts and jobs ; we proved that those that were not so corrupted were removed from their stations or reduced to a state of abject dependence ; we showed you the destruction of the Provincial Councils, the destruction of the Council-General, and the formation of a committee for no other ends whatever but for the purposes of bribery, concealment, and corruption. We next stated some of the most monstrous instances of that bribery; and though we were of opinion that in none of them any satisfactory defence worth mentioning had been made, yet we have thought that this should not hinder us from recalling to your Lordships’ recollection the peculiar nature and circumstances of one of those proceedings. The proceedings to which we wish to call your attention are those belonging to the second bribe given by the Nabob of Oude to Mr. Hastings. Mr. Hastings's own knowledge and opinion that that money was set apart for his use, either in bills or assets, I have before stated ; and I now wish to call your Lordships' minute recollection to the manner in which the fraudulent impeachment of Mr. Middleton, for the purpose of stifling an inquiry into that business, was carried on. Your Lordships will remember that I proved to you, upon the face of that proceeding, the collusive nature of the accusation, and that the real state of the case was not charged,—and that Mr. Hastings acquitted the party accused of one article of the charge, not upon the evidence of the case, contrary to his own avowed, declared, moral certainty of his guilt, but upon a pretended appeal to the conscience of the man accused. He did not, however, give him a complete, formal, official acquittal, but referred the matter to the Court of Directors, who could not possibly know anything of the matter, without one article of evidence whatever produced at the time or transmitted. We lastly proved. to you, that, after finding him guilty of five charges, and leaving the other to the Court of Directors, Mr. Hastings, without any reason assigned, appointed him to a great office in the Company’s service. These proceedings were brought before you for two purposes: first, to show the corrupt principle of the whole proceeding ; next, to show the manner in which the Company’s servants are treated. They are accused and persecuted, until they are brought to submit to whatever terms it may be thought proper to impose upon them ; they are then formally, indeed, acquitted of the most atrocious crimes charged against
with the scourge hung over them, - and in some instances rewarded by the greatest, most honorable, and most lucrative situations in the Company’s service. My Lords, it is on the same ground of the wicked, pernicious, and ruinous principles of Mr. Hastings's government, that I have charged this with everything that is chargeable against him, namely, that, if your Lordships should ratify those principles by your acquittal of him, they become principles of government, — rejected, indeed, by the Commons, but adopted by the Peerage of Great Britain. There is another article which I have just touched, but which I must do more than barely notice, upon account of the evil example of it: I mean the taking great sums of money, under pretence of an entertainment. Your Lordships will recollect, that, when this business was charged against him in India, Mr. Hastings neither affirmed nor denied the fact. Confession could not be there extorted from him. He next appeared before the House of Commons, and he still evaded a denial or a confession of it. He lastly appeared before your Lordships, and in his answer to our charge he in the same manner evaded either a confession or a denial. He forced us to employ a great part of a session in endeavoring to establish what we have at last established, the receipt of the sums first charged, and of seven lacs more, by him. At length the proof could not be evaded ; and after we had fought through all the difficulties which the law could interpose in his defence, and of which he availed himself with a degree of effrontery that has, I believe, no example in the world, he confesses, avows, and justifies his conduct. If the custom alleged be well founded, and be an honorable and a