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heritable property."

There, after going through all the nicety of pedigree, it is declared, that "when a father, or grandfather, a great grandfather, or any relations of that nature decease, or lose their cast, or renounce the world, or are desirous to give up their property; their sons, grandsons, great grandsons, and other natural heirs, may divide and assume their glebe lands, orchards, jewels, corals, clothes, furniture, cattle, and birds, and all the estate, real and personal." My lords, this law recognises this kind of property, it regulates it with the nicest accuracy of distinction; it settles the descent of it in every part and circumstance. It no where asserts, (but the direct contrary is positively asserted,) that the magistrate has any power whatever over property. It states that it is the magistrate's duty to protect it; that he is bound to govern by law; that he must have a council of bramins to assist him in every material act that he does; in short, my lords, there is not even a trace of arbitrary power in the whole system.

My lords, I will mention one article to let you see in a very few words, that these Gentoos not only have an inheritance, but that the law has established a right of acquiring possession in the property of another by prescription. The passage stands thus; "If there be a person, who is not a minor, (a man ceases to be a minor at fifteen years of age,) nor impotent, nor diseased, nor an idiot, nor so lame as not to have power to walk, nor blind, nor one who, on going before a magistrate, is found incapable of distinguishing and attending to his own concerns, and who has not given to another person power to employ and to use his property; if, in the face of any such person, another man has applied to his own use, during the space of twenty years, the glebe land, or houses, or orchards of that person, without let or molestation from him, from the twenty-first year the property becomes invested in the person so applying such things to his own use; and any claim of the first person abovementioned, upon such glebe, houses, or orchards, shall by no

means stand good but if the person before mentioned comes under any of the circumstances herein before described, his claim in that case shall stand good." Here you see, my lords, that possession shall, by prescription, stand good against the claims of all persons who are not disqualified from making their claims.

I might, if necessary, show your lordships, that the highest magistrate is subject to the law; that there is a case in which he is fineable; that they have established rules of evidence and of pleading; and in short, all the rules which have been formed in other countries, to prevent this very arbitrary power. Notwithstanding all this, the prisoner at the bar, and his counsel, have dared to assert, in this sacred temple of justice, in the presence of this great assembly, of all the bishops, of all the peers, and of all the judges of this land, that the people of India have no laws whatever.

I do not mean to trouble your lordships with more extracts from this book. I recommend it to your lordships' reading; when you will find, that, so far from the magistrate having any power either to imprison arbitrarily, or to fine arbitrarily, the rules of fines are laid down with ten thousand times more exactness than with us. If you here find that the magistrate has any power to punish the people with arbitrary punishment, to seize their property, or to disfranchise them of any rights or privileges, I will readily admit that Mr. Hastings has laid down good, sound doctrine upon this subject. There is his own book, a compilation of their laws, which has in it not only good and excellent positive rules, but a system of as enlightened jurisprudence, with regard to the body and substance of it, as perhaps any nation ever possessed: a system which must have been composed by men of highly cultivated understandings.

As to the travellers that have been quoted, absurd as they are in the ground of their argument, they are not less absurd in their reasonings. For having first laid it down, that there is no property, and that the government is the proprietor of

every thing, they argue, inferentially, that they have no laws. But if ever there were a people, that seem to be protected with care and circumspection from all arbitrary power, both in the executive and judicial department, these are the people that seem to be so protected.

I could show your lordships that they are so sensible of honor, that fines are levied and punishment inflicted according to the rank of the culprits, and that the very authority of the magistrate is dependent on their rank. That the learned counsel should be ignorant of these things is natural enough. They are concerned in the gainful part of their profession. If they know the laws of their own country, which I dare say they do, it is not to be expected that they should know the laws of any other. But, my lords, it is to be expected, that the prisoner should know the Gentoo laws : for he not only cheated Nobkissin of his money to get these laws translated, but he took credit for the publication of the work as an act of public spirit, after shifting the payment from himself, by fraud and peculation. All this has been proved by the testimonies of Mr. Auriol and Mr. Halhed, before your lordships.

We do not bring forward this book as evidence of guilt or innocence, but to show the laws and usages of the country, and to prove the prisoner's knowledge of them.

From the Gentoo we will proceed to the Tartarian government of India, a government established by conquest, and therefore not likely to be distinguished by any marks of extraordinary mildness towards the conquered. The book before me will prove to your lordships, that the head of this government (who is falsely supposed to have a despotic authority) is absolutely elected to his office. Tamerlane was elected; and Ghinges Khân particularly valued himself on improving the laws and institutions of his own country. These laws we only have imperfectly in this book; but we are told in it, and I believe the fact, that he forbad, under pain of death, any prince or other person to presume to cause himself to be proclaimed

great Khân or Emperor, without being first duly elected by the princes lawfully assembled in general diet. He then established the privileges and immunities granted to the Tunkawns, that is, to the nobility and gentry of the country, and afterwards published most severe ordinances against governors who failed in doing their duty, but principally against those who commanded in far distant provinces. This prince was in this case, what I hope your lordships will be, a very severe judge of the governors of countries remote from the seat of the government.

My lords, we have in this book sufficient proof that a Tartarian sovereign could not obtain the recognition of ancient laws, or establish new ones, without the consent of his parliament, that he could not ascend the throne, without being duly elected; and that when so elected, he was bound to preserve the great in all their immunities, and the people in all their rights, liberties, privileges, and properties. We find these great princes restrained by laws, and even making wise and salutary regulations for the countries which they conquered. We find Ghinges Khân establishing one of his sons in a particular office, namely, conservator of those laws; and he has ordered, that they should not only be observed in his time, but by all posterity; and accordingly they are venerated at this time in Asia. If then this very Ghinges Khân, if Tamerlane, did not assume arbitrary power, what are you to think of this man, so bloated with corruption, so bloated with the insolence of unmerited power, declaring that the people of India have no rights, no property, no laws; that he could not be bound even by an English act of parliament; that he was an arbitrary sovereign in India, and could exact what penalties he pleased from the people, at the expense of liberty, property, and even life itself. Compare this man, this compound of pride and presumption, with Ghinges Khân, whose conquests were more considerable than Alexander's, and yet who made the laws the rule of his conduct; compare him with Tamerlane, whose institutes I have before me. I

wish to save your lordships' time, or I could show you in the life of this prince, that he, violent as his conquests were, bloody as all conquests are, ferocious as a Mahomedan making his crusades for the propagation of his religion, he yet knew how to govern his unjust acquisitions with equity and moderation. If any man could be entitled to claim arbitrary power, if such a claim could be justified by extent of conquest, by splendid personal qualities, by great learning and eloquence, Tamerlane was the man who could have made and justified the claim. This prince gave up all his time, not employed in conquests, to the conversation of learned men. He gave himself to all studies that might accomplish a great man. Such a man I say might, if any may, claim arbitrary power. But the very things that made him great, made him sensible that he was but a man. Even in the midst of all his conquests, his tone was a tone of humility; he spoke of laws, as every man must, who knows what laws are; and though he was proud, ferocious, and violent, in the achievement of his conquests, I will venture to say no prince ever established institutes of civil government more honorable to himself, than the institutes of Timour. I shall be content to be brought to shame before your lordships, if the prisoner at your bar can show me one passage, where the assumption of arbitrary power is even hinted at by this great conqueror. He declares, that the nobility of every country shall be considered as his brethren; that the people shall be acknowledged as his children; and that the learned and the dervises shall be particularly protected. But, my lords, what he particularly valued himself upon I shall give your lordships in his own words: "I delivered the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor; and after proof of the oppression, whether on the property or the person, the decision which I passed between them was agreeable to the sacred law; and I did not cause any one person to suffer for the guilt of another."*

* Institutes of Timour, page 165.

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