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Stockdale, not of Mr. Hastings, with whom I have no concern. I am sorry indeed to be so often oblige d to repeat this protest ; but I really feel myself embarrassed with those repeated coincidence of defense which thicken on me as I advance, and which were no doubt, overlooked by the Commons when they directed this interlocutory inquiry into his conduct.
I ask then, as counsel for Mr. Stockdale, whether, when a great state criminal is brought to justice at an immense expense to the public, accused of the most oppressive cruelties, and charged with the robbery of princes and the destruction of nations—it is not open to any one to ask, Who are his accusers? What are the sources and the authorities of these shocking complaints? Where are the ambassadors or memorials of those princes whose revenues he has plundered? Where are the witnesses for those unhappy men in whose persons the rights of humanity have been violated ?—How deeply buried is the blood of the innocent, that it does not rise up in retributive judgment to confound the guilty! These surely are questions, which, when a fellow citizen is upon a long, painful, and expensive trial, humanity has a right to propose; which the plain sense of the most unlettered man may be expected to dictate, and which all history must provoke from the more enlightened. When CICERO impeached VERRES, before the great tribuual of Rome, of similar cruelties and depredations in her provinces, the Roman people were not left to such inquiries. All SICILY surrounded the Forum, demanding justice upon her plunderer and spoiler, with tears and imprecations. It was not by the eloquence of the orator, but by the cries and tears of the miserable, that Cicero prevailed in that illustrious cause. VERRES fled from the oaths of his accusers and their witnesses, and not from the voice of Tully. To preserve the fame of his eloquence, he composed his five celebrated speeches; but they were never delivered against the criminal, because he had fled from the city, appalled with the sight of the persecuted
and the oppressed. It may be said, that the cases of Sicily and India are widely different; perhaps they may be; whether they are or not is foreign to my purpose. I am not bound to deny the possibility of answers to such questions; I am only vindicating the right to ask them.
PART IV. Mr. E. now leaves his attempt in favor of the defender of Mr. Hastings, and consequently of his client, and enters on some of the details of the pamphlet, but returns to it again for the purpose of showing that the misgovernment of India is ascribable not to Mr. Hastings, but to the wicked policy of England, and his positive written instructions.
Gentlemen of the Jury—If this be a wilfully false account of the instructions given to Mr. Hastings for his government, and of his conduct under them, the author and publisher of this defense deserve the severest punishment, for a mercenary imposition on the public. But if it be true that he was directed to make the safety and prosperity of Bengal the first object of his attention, and that, under his administration, it has been safe and prosperous; if it be true that the security and preservation of our possessions and revenues in Asia were marked out to him as the great leading principle of his government, and that those possessions and revenues, amidst unexampled dangers, have been secured and preserved ; then a question may be unaccountably mixed with your consideration, much beyond the consequence of the present prosecution, involving, perhaps, the merit of the impeachment itself which gave it birth.
It may, and must be true, that Mr. Hastings has repeatedly offended against the rights and privileges of Asiatic government, if he was the faithful deputy of a power which could not maintain itself an hour without trampling on both :-he may and must have offended against the laws of God and nature, if he was the faith
ful viceroy of an empire wrested in blood from the people to whom God and nature had given it:-he may and must have preserved that unjust dominion over timorous and abject nations, by a terrifying, overbearing, insulting superiority, if he was the faithful administrator of your government, which, having no root in consent or affection-no foundation in similarity of interests—nor support from any one principle which cements men together in society, could only be upheld by alternate stratagem and force. The unhappy people of India, feeble and effeminate as they are from the softness of their climate, and subdued and broken as they have been by the knavery and strength of civilization, still occasionally start up in all the vigor and intelligence of insulted nature : to be governed at all, they must be governed with a rod of iron; and our empire in the East, would long since have been lost to Great Britain, if civil skill and military prowess had not united their efforts to support an authority—which heaven never gave—by means which it never can sanction.
Gentlemen, I think I can observe that you are touched with this way of considering the subject; and I can account for it.--I have not been considering it through the cold medium of books, but have been speaking of man and his nature, and of human dominion, from what I have seen of them myself amongst reluctant nations submitting to our authority. I know what they feel, and how such feelings can alone be repressed. I have heard them in my youth from a naked savage, in the indignant character of a prince surrounded by his subjects, addressing the governor of a British colony, holding a bundle of sticks in his hand, as the notes of his unlettered eloquence: “Who is it,”-said the jealous ruler over the desert, encroached upon by the restless foot of English adventure, who is it that causes this river to rise in the high mountains, and to empty itself into the ocean? Who is it that causes to blow the loud winds of winter, and that calms them again in the summer?-Who is it
that rears up the shade of those lofty forests, and blasts them with the quick lightning at his pleasure?—The same Being who gave to you a country on the other side of the waters, and
gave ours to us; and by this title we will defend it !”—said the warrior, throwing down his tomahawk upon the ground, and raising the war-sound of his nation. These are the feelings of subjugated man all round the globe; and depend upon it, nothing but fear will control where it is vain to look for affection.
These reflections are the only antidotes to those anathemas of super-human eloquence which have lately shaken these walls that surround us ;—but which it unaccountably falls to my province, whether I will or ño, a little to stem the torrent of-by reminding you, that you have a mighty sway in Asia, which cannot be maintained by the finer sympathies of life, or the practice of its charities and affections. What will they do for when surrounded by two hundred thousand men with artillery, cavalry, and elephants, calling upon you for their dominions which you have robbed them of? Justice may, no doubt, in such a case forbid the levying of a fine to pay a revolting soldiery ;-a treaty may stand in the way of increasing a tribute to keep up the very existence of the government; and delicacy for women may forbid all entrance into a Zenana for money, whatever may be the necessity for taking it. If England, from a lust of ambition and dominion, will insist on maintaining despotic rule over distant and hostile nations, beyond all comparison more numerous and extended than herself, and give commission to her viceroys to govern them with no other instructions than to preserve them, and to secure permanently their revenues; with what color of consistency or reason can she place herself in the moral chair, and affect to be shocked at the execution of her own orders; adverting to the exact measure of wickedness and injustice necessary to their execution-and complaining only of the excess as the immorality-considering her authority as a dispensation for breaking the commands of God,
and the breach of them as only punishable when contrary to the ordinances of man? Such a proceeding, gentlemen, begets serious reflections. It would be better perhaps for the masters and the servants of all such governments, to join in supplication, that the great Author of violated humanity may not confound them together in one common judgınent.
Mr. E. concludes with the following:
If a man in the situation of the author, anxious to defend a fellow-citizen whom he believed oppressed, injured and overwhelmed by the pressure of authority, did in a long work, use one or two intemperate expressions, must he on this account be subjected to infamy? Are you therefore to find him guilty of the odious crime of libel? If this severe duty is binding on your consciences the liberty of the press is an empty sound, and no inan can venture to write on any subject, however pure his purpose, without an attorney at one elbow and a counsel at the other.
From minds thus subdued by the terror of punishment, there could issue no works of genius to expand the empire of human reason, nor any masterly compositions on the general nature of government, by the help of which, the great commonwealths of mankind have founded their establishments; much less any of those useful applications of them to critical conjunctures, by which, from time to time, our own constitution, by the the exertions of patriot citizens, has been brought back to its standard. Under such terrors, all the great lights of science and civilization must be extinguished : for men cannot communicate their free thoughts to one another with a lash held over their heads. It is the nature of every thing that is great and useful, both in the animate and inanimate world, to be wild and irregular-and we must be contented to take them with the alloys which