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ty, which they [the soubahdars, or viceroys of the Mogul empire] assumed, it fell to my lot, very unexpectedly, to exert; and whether or not such power, or powers of that nature, were delegated to me by any provisions of any act of parliament I confess myself too little of a lawyer to pronounce.

only know, that the acceptance of the sovereignty of Benares, &c. is not acknowledged or admitted by any act of parliament; and yet, by the particular interference of the majority of the council, the company is clearly and indisputably seized of that sovereignty. If, therefore, the sovereignty of Benares, as ceded to us by the vizier, have any rights whatever annexed to it, (and be not a mere empty word without meaning,) those rights must be such as are held, countenanced, and established by the law, custom, and usage of the Mogul empire, and not by the provisions of any British act of parliament hitherto enacted. Those rights, and none other, I have been the involuntary instrument of enforcing. And if any future act of parliament shall positively, or by implication, tend to annihilate those very rights, or their exertion, as I have exerted them, I much fear, that the boasted sovereignty of Benares, which was held up as an acquisition almost obtruded on the company against my consent and opinion, (for I acknowledge, that even then I foresaw many difficulties and inconveniences in its future exercise ;) I fear, I say, that this sovereignty will be found a burden instead of a benefit, a heavy clog rather than a precious gem to its present possessors; I mean, unless the whole of our territory in that quarter shall be rounded and made an uniform compact body by one grand and systematic arrangement; such an arrangement as shall do away all the mischiefs, doubts, and inconveniences, (both to the governors and the governed,) arising from the variety of tenures, rights, and claims in all cases of landed property and feudal jurisdiction in India, from the informality, invalidity, and instability of all engagements in so divided and unsettled a state of society; and from the unavoidable anarchy and confu

sion of different laws, religions, and prejudices, moral, civil, and political, all jumbled together in one unnatural and discordant mass. Every part of Hindostan has been constantly exposed to these and similar disadvantages ever since the Mahomedan conquests. The Hindoos, who never incorporated with their conquerors, were kept in order only by the strong hand of power. The constant necessity of similar exertions would increase at once their energy and extent, so that rebellion itself is the parent and promoter of despotism. Sovereignty in India implies nothing else. For I know not how we can form an estimate of its powers, but from its visible effects, and those are every where the same from Cabool to Assam. The whole history of Asia is nothing more than precedents to prove the invariable exercise of arbitrary power. To all this I strongly alluded in the minutes I delivered in council, when the treaty with the new vizier was on foot in 1775; and I wished to make Cheit Sing independent, because in India dependence included a thousand evils, many of which I enumerated at that time, and they are entered in the ninth clause of the first section of this charge. I knew the powers with which an Indian sovereignty is armed, and the dangers to which tributaries are exposed. I knew, that, from the history of Asia, and from the very nature of mankind, the subjects of a despotic empire are always vigilant for the moment to rebel, and the sovereign is ever jealous of rebellious intentions. A zemindar is an Indian subject, and as such exposed to the common lot of his fellows. The mean and depraved state of a mere zemindar is therefore this very dependence above-mentioned on a despotic government, this very proneness to shake off his allegiance, and this very exposure to continual danger from his sovereign's jealousy, which are consequent on the political state of Hindostanic governments. Bulwant Sing, if he had been, and Cheit Sing, as long as he was, a zemindar, stood exactly in this mean and depraved state by the constitution of his country. I did not make it for him,

but would have secured him from it. Those, who made him a zemindar, entailed upon him the consequences of so mean and depraved a tenure. Ally Verdy Khân and Cossim Ally fined all their zemindars on the necessities of war, and on every pretence either of court necessity or court extravagance."

I beseech your lordships seriously to look upon the whole nature of the principles upon which the prisoner defends himself. He appeals to the custom and usage of the Mogul empire; and the constitution of that empire is, he says, arbitrary power. He says, that he does not know whether any act of parliament bound him not to exercise this arbitrary power; and that if any such act should in future be made, it would be mischievous and ruinous to our empire in India. Thus he has at once repealed all preceding acts, he has annulled by prospect every future act you can make ; and it is not in the power of the parliament of Great Britain, without ruining the empire, to hinder his exercising this despotic authority. All Asia is by him disfranchised at a stroke. Its inhabitants have no rights, no laws, no liberties, their state is mean and depraved; they may be fined for any purpose of court extravagance, or prodigality; or as Cheit Sing was fined by him, not only upon every war, but upon every pretence of war.

This is the account he gives of his power and of the people subject to the British government in India. We deny, that the act of parliament gave him any such power; we deny, that the India Company gave him any such power; or that they had ever any such power to give. We even deny, that there exists in all the human race a power to make the government of any state dependent upon individual will: we disclaim, we reject all such doctrines with disdain and indignation; and we have brought them up to your lordships to be tried at your bar.

What must be the condition of the people of India, governed, as they have been, by persons who maintain these

principles as maxims of government, and not as occasional deviations caused by the irregular will of man; principles by which the whole system of society is to be controlled; not by law, reason, or justice, but by the will of one man?

Your lordships will remark, that not only the whole of the laws, rights, and usages, but the very being of the people, are exposed to ruin; for Mr. Hastings says, that the people may be fined, that they may be exiled, that they may be imprisoned, and that even their lives are dependent upon the mere will of their foreign master and that he, the company's governor, exercised that will under the authority of this country. Remark, my lords, his application of this doctrine. I would, he says, have kept Cheit Sing from the consequences of this dependence, by making him independent, and not in any manner subjecting him to our government. The moment he came into a state of dependence upon the British government, all these evils attached upon him. It is, he adds, disagreeable to me to exert such powers, but I know they must be exerted, and I declare there is no security from this arbitrary power, but by having nothing to do with the British government.

My lords, the House of Commons has already well considered what may be our future moral and political condition when the persons, who come from that school of pride, insolence, corruption, and tyranny, are more intimately mixed up with us of purer morals. Nothing but contamination can be the result, nothing but corruption can exist in this country, unless we expunge this doctrine out of the very hearts and souls of the people. It is not to the gang of plunderers and robbers, of which I say this man is at the head, that we are only, or indeed principally, to look. Every man in Great Britain will be contaminated and must be corrupted, if you let loose among us whole legions of men, generation after generation, tainted with these abominable vices, and avowing these detestable principles. It is therefore to preserve the integrity and honor of the Commons of Great Britain, that we have brought this man to your lordships' bar.

When these matters were first explained to your lordships, and strongly enforced by abilities greater than I can exert, there was something like compunction shown by the prisoner: but he took the most strange mode to cover his guilt. Upon the cross examination of Major Scott he discovered all the engines of this Indian corruption. Mr. Hastings got that witness to swear, that this defence of his, from which the passages I have read to your lordships are extracted, was not his, but that it was the work of his whole council, composed of Mr. Middleton, Mr. Shore, Mr. Halhed, Mr. Baber, the whole body of his Indian cabinet council;-that this was their work and not his; and that he disclaimed it, and therefore that it would be wrong to press it upon him. Good God! my lords, what shall we say in this stage of the business? The prisoner put in an elaborate defence, he now disclaims that defence. He told us, that it was of his own writing, that he had been able to compose it in five days, and he now gets five persons to contradict his own assertions, and to disprove on oath his most solemn declarations.

My lords, this business appears still more alarming, when we find not only Mr. Hastings, but his whole council engaged in it. I pray your lordships to observe, that Mr. Halhed, a person concerned with Mr. Hastings in compiling a code of Gentoo laws, is now found to be one of the persons to whom this very defence is attributed, which contains such detestable and abominable doctrines. But are we to consider the contents of this paper as the defence of the prisoner, or not? Will any one say, that when an answer is sworn to in Chancery, when an answer is given here to an impeachment of the Commons, or when a plea is made to an indictment, that it is drawn by the defendant's counsel, and therefore is not his? Did we not all hear him read this defence in part at our bar, did we not see him hand it to his secretary to have it read by his son, did he not then hear it read from end to end; did not he himself desire it to be printed, (for it was no act of ours,) and did he not superintend and revise the

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