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pire thought of the days when Cicero pleaded | Burke at their head, appeared in full dress. the cause of Sicily against Verres; and when, The collectors of gossip did not fail to remark before a senate which had still some show of that even Fox, generally so regardless of his freedom, Tacitus thundered against the op- appearance, had paid to the illustrious tribunal pressor of Africa. There were seen, side by the compliment of wearing a bag and sword. side, the greatest painter and the greatest scho- Pitt had refused to be one of the conductors of lar of the age. The spectacle had allured the impeachment; and his commanding, copiReynolds from that easel which has preserved ous, and sonorous eloquence was wanting to to us the thoughtful foreheads of so many that great muster of various talents. Age and writers and statesmen, and the sweet smiles of blindness had unfitted Lord North for the duso many noble matrons. It had induced Parr ties of a public prosecutor; and his friends to suspend his labours in that dark and pro. were left without the help of his excellent found mine from which he had extracted a vast sense, his tact, and his urbanity. But, in spite treasure of erudition-a treasure too often bu- of the absence of these two distinguished memried in the earth, too often paraded with inju- bers of the Lower House, the box in which the dicious and inelegani ostentation; but still pre- managers stood contained an array of speakcious, massive, and splendid. There appeared ers such as perhaps had not appeared together the voluptuous charms of her to whom the heir since the great age of Athenian eloquence. of the throne had in secrel plighted his faith. There stood Fox and Sheridan, the English There, too, was she, the beautiful mother of a Demosthenes and the English Hyperides. beautiful race, the Saint Cecilia, whose deli. There was Burke, ignorant, indeed, or neglicate features, lighted up by love and music, gent of the art of adapting his reasonings and arı has rescued from the common decay. There his style to the capacity and taste of his hcarwere the members of that brilliant society ers; but in aptitude of comprehension and which quoted, criticised, and exchanged repar. richness of imagination superior to every oratees, under the rich peacock hangings of Mrs. tor, ancient or modern. There, with eyes reMontague. And there the ladies, whose lips, verentially fixed on Burke, appeared the finest more persuasive than those of Fox himself, had gentleman of the age-his form developed by carried the Westminster election against pa- every manly exercise-his face beaming with lace and treasury, shone round Georgiana Du- intelligence and spirit-the ingenious, the chess of Devonshire.
chivalrous, the high-souled Windham. Nor, The Sergeants made proclamation. Hast- though surrounded by such men, did the ings advanced to the bar, and bent his knee. youngest manager pass unnoticed. At an age The culprit was indeed not unworthy of that when most of those who distinguish them. great presence. He had ruled an extensive selves in life are still contending for prizes and populous country, had made laws and and fellowships at college, he had won for treaties, had sent forth armies, had set up and himself a conspicuous place in Parliament. pulled down princes. And in his high place No advantage of fortune or connection was he had so borne himself, that all had feared wanting that could set off to the height his him, that most had loved him, and that hatred splendid talents and his unblemished honour. itself could deny him no title to glory, except At twenty-three he had been thought worthy virtue. He looked like a great man, and not to be ranked with the veteran statesmen who like a bad man. A person small and ema- appeared as the delegates of the British Comciated, yet deriving dignity from a carriage mons, at the bar of the British nobility. All which, while it indicated deference to the who stood at that bar, save him alone, are court, indicated also habitual self-possession gone-culprit, advocates, accusers. To the and self-respect; a high and intellectual fore- generation which is now in the vigour of life, head; a brow pensive, but not gloomy; a he is the sole representative of a great age month of inflexible decision ; a face pale and which has passed away. But those who, worn, but serene, on which was written, as within the last ten years, have listened with legibly as under the great picture in the Coun- delight, till the morning sun shone on the cil-chamber at Calcutta, Mens æqua in arduis, - tapestries of the House of Lords, to the lofty such was the aspect with which the great pro- and animated eloquence of Charles Earl Grey, consul presented himself to his judges. are able to form some estimate of the powers
His counsel accompanied him, men all of of a race of men among whom he was not the whom were afterwards raised by their talents foremost. and learning to the highest posts in their pro- The charges and the answers of Hastings fession,—the bold and strong-minded law, were first read. This ceremony occupied two afterwards Chief Justice of the King's Bench; whole days, and was rendered less tedious he more humane and eloquent Dallas, after than it would otherwise have been, by the wards Chief Justice of the Common Pleas; silver voice and just emphasis of Cowper, the and Plomer, who, nearly twenty years later, clerk of the couri, a near relation of the amia. successfully conducted in the same high court ble poet. On the third day Burke rose. Four the defence of Lord Melville, and subsequently sittings of the court were occupied by his became Vice-chancellor and master of the opening speech, which was intended to be a Rolls.
general introduction to all the charges. With But neither the culprit nor his advocates at- an exuberance of thought and a splendour of acted so much notice as the accusers. In diction which more than satisfied the highly. the midst of the blaze cf red drapery, a space raised expectation of the audience, he described had been fitted up with green benches and the character and institutions of the natives of
for the Commons. The managers, with | India; recounted the circumstances in which
the Asiatic empire of Britain had originated;} his father might have envied, to sink back, as and set forth the constitution of the Company if exhausted, into the arms of Burke, who and of the English Presidencies. Having thus hugged him with the energy of generous admiattempted to conmunicate to his hearers an ration! idea of Eastern society, as vivid as that which June was now far advanced. The session existed in his own mind, he proceeded to ar- could not last much longer, and the progress raign the administration of Hastings, as sys- which had been made in the impeachment was tematically conducted in defiance of morality not very satisfactory. There were twenty and public law. The energy and pathos of charges. On two only of these had even the the great orator extorted expressions of un- case for the prosecution been heard; and it wonted admiration even from the stern and was now a year since Hastings had been adhostile Chancellor; and, for a moment, seemed mitted to bail. to pierce even the resolute heart of the defend- The interest taken by the public in the trial ani. The ladies in the galleries, unaccustomed was great when the court began to sit, and io such displays of eloquence, excited by the rose to the height when She ridan spoke on the solemnity of the occasion, and perhaps not un-charge relating to the Begums. From that willing to display their taste and sensibility, time the exciteinent went down fast. The were in a state of uncontrollable emotion. spectacle had lost the attraction of novelty. Handkerchiefs were pulled out; smelling-bot. The great displays of rhetoric were iles were handed round; hysterical sobs and What was behind was not of a nature to entice screams were heard; and Mrs. Sheridan was men of letters from their books in the morning, carried out in a fit. At length the orator con- or to lempt ladies who had left the masquerade cluded. Raising his voice till the old arches at two, to be out of bed before eight. There of Irish oak resounded—“Therefore,” said he, remained examinations and cross-examinahath it with all confidence been ordered by tions. There remained statements of accounts. the Commons of Great Britain, that I impeach There remained the reading of papers, filled Varren Hastings of high crimes and misde- with words unintelligible to English ears—with mercurs. I impeach him in the name of the lacs and crores, zeinindars and aumils, sunConnons House of Parliament, whose trust nuds and perwannabs, jaghires and nuzzurs. ne has betrayed. I impeach him in the name There remained bickerings, not always carried of the English nation, whose ancient honour on with the best taste or with the best temper, he has sullied. I impeach him in the name between the managers of the impeachment and of the people of India, whose rights he has the counsel for the defence, particularly between trodden under foot, and whose country he has Mr. Burke and Mr. Law. There remained the turned into a desert. Lastly, in the name of endless marches and counter-marches of the human nature itself, in the name of both sexes, Peers between their house and the hall; for in the name of every age, in the name of every as often as a point of law was to be disrank, 1 impeach the common enemy and op- cussed their lordships retired to discuss it pressor of all!"
apart; and the consequence was, as the late When the deep murmur of various emotions Lord Stanhope wittily said, that the judges had subsided, Mr. Fox rose to address the Lords walked and the trial stood still. respecting the course of proceeding to be fol. It is to be added, that in the spring of 1788, lowed. The wish of the accuser was, that the when the trial commenced, no important quescourt would bring to a close the investigation tion, either of domestic or foreign policy, ex. of the first charge before the second was open-cited the public mind. The proceeding in ed. The wish of Hastings and his counsel Westminster Hall, therefore, naturally excited was, that the managers should open all the most of the attention of Parliament and of the charges, and produce all the evidence for the public. It was the one great event of that sea. prosecution, before the defence began. The son. But in the following year, the king's ill. Lords retired to their own house, lo consider ness, the debates on the regency, the expectathe question. The Chancellor took the side of tion of a change of ministry, completely diverted Hastings. Lord Loughborough, who was now public attention from Indian affairs; and within in opposition, supported the demand of the a fortnight after George the Third had returned managers. The division showed which way thanks in St. Paul's for his recovery, the Statesthe inclination of the tribunal leaned. A ina General of France met at Versailles. In the jority of near three to one decided in favour of midst of the agitation produced by those events, the course for which Hastings contended. the impeachment was for a time almost for
When the court sat again, Mr. Fox, assisted gotten. by Mr. Grey, opened the charge respecting The trial in the hall went on languidly. In Cheyte Sing, and several days were spent in the session of 1788, when the proceedings had reading papers and hearing witnesses. The the interest of novelty, and when the Peers had next article was that relating to the Princesses little other business before them, only thirty. of Oude. The conduct of this part of the case five days were given to the impeachment. În was intrusted to Sheridan. The curiosity of 1789, the Regency Bill occupied :he Upper the public to hear hina was unbounded. His House till the session was far advanced. When sparkling and highly-finished declamation last- the king recovered, the circuits were beginning. ed two days; but the Hall was crowded to suf. The judges left town; the Lords waited for the focation during the whole time. It was said return of the oracles of jurisprudence; and that fifty guineas had been paid for a single the consequence was, that during the whole ticket. Sheridan, when he concluded, con- year only seventeen days were given to the Trived, with a knowledge of stage-effect which case of Hastings. It was clear that the inalier Vol. IV.-63
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would be protracted to a length unprecedented Burke was deeply hurt. But his zeal for what in the annals of criminal law.
he considered as the cause of justice and mer. In truth, it is impossible to deny that im-cy triumphed over his personal feelings. He peachment, though it is a fine ceremony, and received the censure of the House with dignity ihough it may have been useful in the seven- and meekness, and declared that no personal teenth century, is not a proceeding from which mortification or humiliation should induce him much good can now be expected. Whatever to finch from the sacred duty which he had confidence may be placed in the decisions of undertaken. the Peers on an appeal arising out of ordinary In the following year, the Parliament was litigation, it is certain that no man has the least dissolved; and the friends of Hastings enter. confidence in their impartiality, when a great tained a hope that the new House of Commons public functionary, charged with a great state might not be disposed to go on with the im. crime, is brought to their bar. They are all peachment. They began by maintaining that politicians. There is hardly one among them, the whole proceeding was terminated by the whose vote on an impeachment may not be dissolution. Defeated on this point, they made confidentļy predicted before a witness has been a direct motion that the impeachment should be examined; and even were it possible to rely on dropped; but they were defeated by the comtheir justice, they would still be quite unfit to bined forces of the government and the oppotry such a cause as that of Hastings. They sition. It was, however, resolved that, for the sit only during half the year. They have to sake of expedition, many of the articles should transact much legislative and much judicial be withdrawn. In truth, had not some such business. The law-lords, whose advice is re- measure been adopted, the trial would have quired to guide the unlearned majority, are lasted till the defendant was in his grave. employed daily in administering justice else- At length, in the spring of 1795, the decision where. It is impossible, therefore, that during was pronounced, nearly eight years after Hasta busy session, the Upper House should give ings had been brought by'the sergeant-at-arms more than a few days to an impeachment. To of the Commons to the bar of the Lords. On expect that their lordships would give up par- the last day of this great procedure, the public tridge-shooting, in order to bring the greatest curiosity, long suspended, seemed to be redelinquent to speedy justice, or to relieve ac-vived. Anxiety about the judgment there cused innocence by speedy acquittal, would be could be none; for it had been fully ascerunreasonable indeed. A well constituted tribu- tained that there was a great majority for the nal, sitting regularly six days in the week, and defendant. But many wished to see the panine hours in the day, would have finished the geant, and the hall was as much crowded as trial of Hastings in less than three months. on the first day. But those who, having been The Lords had no: finished their work in seven present on the first day, now bore a part in the years.
proceedings of the last, were few, and most of The result ceased to be a matter of doubt, those few were altered men. from the time when the Lords resolved that As Hastings himself said, the arraignment they would be guided by the rules of evidence had taken place before one generation, and the which are received in inferior courts of the judgment was pronounced by another. The realm. Those rules, it is well known, exclude spectator could not look at the woolsack, or at much information which would be quite suffi- the red benches of the peers, or at the green cient to determine the conduct of any reasona benches of the Commons, without seeing ble man, in the most important transactions of something that reminded him of the instability private life. Those rules, at every assizes, of all human things ;-of the instability of save scores of culprits, whom judges, jury, and power, and fame, and life, of the more lamentaspectators, firmly believed to be guilty. But ble instability of friendship. The great seal when those rules were rigidly applied to of- was borne before Lord Loughborough, who, fences committed many years before, at the when the trial commenced, was a fierce oppodistance of many thousand iniles, conviction nent of Mr. Pitt's government, and who was was, of course, out of the question. We do now a member of that government; while not blame the accused and his counsel for Thurlow, who presided in the court when it availing themselves of every legal advantage first sat, estranged from all his old allies, sat in order to obtain an acquittal. But it is clear scowling among the junior barons. Of a hunthat an acquittal so obtained canpot be pleaded dred and sixty nobles who walked in the proin bar of the judgment of history,
cession on the first day, sixty had been laid in Several attempts were made by the friends their family vaults. Still more affecting must of Hastings to put a stop to the trial. In 1789 have been the sight of the managers' box. they proposed a vote of censure upon Burke, What had become of that fair fellowship, so for some violent language which he had used closely bound together by public and private respecting the death of Nuncomar, and the ties, 80 resplendent with every talent and acconnection between Hastings and Impey. complishment? It had been scattered by caBurke was then unpopular in the last de- lamities more bitter than the bitterness ii gree both with the House and with the coun- death. The great chiefs were still living, and try. The asperity and indecency of some still in the full vigour of their genius. But expressions which he had used during the their friendship was at an end. It had been debates on the Regency had annoyed even his violently and publicly dissolved with tears and warmest friends. The vote of censure was stormy reproaches. If those men, once so dear carried, and those who had moved it hoped to each other, were now compelled to meet for that the managers would resign in disgust. the purpose of managing the impeachmen!
they met as strangers whom public business do not prove it to be true. For an English colhad brought together, and behaved to each lector or judge would have found it easy to inother with cold and distant civility. Burke duce any native who could write, to sign a had in his vortex whirled away Windham. panegyric on the most odious ruler that ever Fox had been followed by Sheridan and Grey. was in India. It was said that at Benares, the
Only twenty-nine peers voted. of these very place at which the acts set forth in the only six found Hastings guilty, on the charges first article of impeachment had been comrelating to Cheyte Sing and to the Begums. mitted, the natives had erected a temple to On other charges the majority in his favour Hastings; and this story excited a strong senwas still greater. On some he was unani- sation in England. Burke's observations on mously absolved. He was then called to the the apotheosis were admirable. He saw no bar, informed from the woolsack that the Lords reason for astonishment, he said, in the incihad acquitted him, and solemnly discharged. dent which had been represented as so strikHe bowed respectfully, and retired.
ing. He knew something of the mythology of We have said that the decision had been the Brahmins. He knew that, as they worfully expected. It was also generally approved. shipped some gods from love, so they worAt the commencement of the trial there had shipped others from fear. He knew that they been a strong and indeed unreasonable feeling erected shrines, not only to the benignant deiagainst Hastings. At the close of the trial, ties of light and plenty, but also to the fiends there was a feeling equally strong and equally who preside over smallpox and murder. Nor unreasonable in his favour. One cause of the did he at all dispute the claim of Mr. Hastings change was, no doubt, what is commonly call- to be admitted into such a Pantheon. This ed the fickleness of the multitude, but what reply has always struck us as one of the finest seems to us to be merely the general law of that ever was made in Parliament. It is a human nature. Both in individuals and in grave and forcible argument, decorated by the masses violent excitement is always followed most brilliant wit and fancy. by remission, and often by reaction. We are Hastings was, however, safe. But, in every all inclined to depreciate whatever we have thing except character, he would have been overpraised; and, on the other hand, to show far better off, if, when first impeached, he had undue indulgence where we have shown un- at once pleaded guilty, and paid a fine of fifty due rigour. It was thus in the case of Hast- thousand pounds. He was a ruined man. The ings. The length of his trial, moreover, made legal expenses of his defence had been enorhim an object of compassion. It was thought, mous. The expenses which did not appear in and not without reason, that, even if he was his attorney's bill were perhaps larger still. guilty, he was still an ill-used man, and that Great sums had been paid to Major Scott. an impeachment of eight years was more than Great sums had been laid out in bribing newsa sufficient punishment. It was also felt that, papers, rewarding pamphleteers, and circulatthough in the ordinary course of criminal law, ing tracts. Burke, so early as 1790, declared a defendant is not allowed to set off his good in the House of Commons that twenty thousand actions against his crimes, a great political pounds had been employed in corrupting the cause should be tried on different principles; press. It is certain that no controversial and that a man who had governed a great weapon, from the gravest reasoning to the country during thirteen years might have done coarsest ribaldry, was left unemployed. Logan, some very reprehensible things, and yet might in prose, defended the accused governor with be on the whole deserving of rewards and ho- great ability. For the lovers of verse, the nours rather than of fine and imprisonment. speeches of the managers were burlesqued in The Press, an instrument neglected by the pro- Simpkin's letters. It is, we are afraid, indissecutors, was used by Hastings and his friends putable that Hastings stooped so low as to with great effect. Every ship, too, that arrived court the aid of that malgnant and filthy bafrom Madras or Bengal brought a cuddy full boon, John Williams, who called himself Anof his admirers. Every gentleman from India thony Pasquin. It was necessary to subsidize spoke of the late Governor-General as having such allies largely. The private hoards of Mrs. deserved better, and having been treated Hastings had disappeared. It is said that the worse, than any man living. The effect of banker to whom they had been intrusted had this testimony, unanimously given by all per- failed. Still, if Hastings had practised strict sons who knew the East, was naturally very economy, he would, after all his losses, have great. Retired members of the Indian ser- had a moderate competence; but in the mavices, civil and military, were settled in all nagement of his private affairs he was imprn. corners of the kingdom. Each of them was, dent. The dearest wish of his heart had always of course, in his own little circle regarded as been to regain Daylesford. At length, in the an oracle on an Indian question; and they very year in which his trial commenced, the were, with scarcely one exception, the zealous wish was accomplished ; and the domaio, advocates of Hastings. It is to be added, that alienated more than seventy years before, rethe numerous addresses to the late Governor. turned to the descendant of its old lords. But General, which his friends in Bengal ohtained the manor house was a ruin; and the grounds from the natives and transmitted to England, round it had, during many years, been utterly made a considerable impression. To these ad- neglected. Hastings proceeded to build, to dresses we attach little or no importance. plant, to form a sheet of water, to excavate a That Hastings was beloved by the people grotto; and, before he was dismissed from the whoin he governed is true; but the eulogies bar of the House of Lords, he had expended of pundits, zemindars, Mohammedan doctors, more than 40,0002. iv adorning his sea..
The general feeling both of the Directors and with marked favour. Fox had been a principal of the proprietors of the East India Company manager of the impeachment. To Pitt it was was, that he had great claims on them, that his owing that there had been an impeachment; services to them had been eminent, and that his and Hastings, we fear, was on this occasion misfortunes had been the effect of his zeal for guided by personal considerations, rather than their interests. His friends in Leadenhall by a regard to the public interest. street, proposed to reimburse him for the costs The last twenty-four years of his life were of his trial, and to settle on him an annuity of chiefly passed at Daylesford. He amused himtive thousand pounds a year. But the consent self with embellishing his grounds, riding fine of the Board of Control was required; and at Arab horses, fattening prize-cattle, and trying the head of the Board of Control was Mr. Dun- to rear Indian animals and vegetables in Eng. das, who had himself been a party to the im- land. He sent for seeds of a very fine custardpeachment, who had, on that account, been apple, from the garden of what had once been reviled with great bitterness by the partisans his own villa, among the green hedgerows of of Hastings, and who, therefore, was not in a Allipore. He tried also to naturalize in Worvery complying mood. He refused to consent cestershire the delicious leechee, almost the to what the Directors suggested. The Directors only fruit of Bengal, which deserves to be reremonstrated. A long controversy followed. gretted even amidst the plenty of Covent-Gar. Hastings, in the mean time, was reduced to den. The Mogul emperors, in the time of their such distress that he could hardly pay his greatness, had in vain attempted to introduce weekly bills. At length a compromise was into Hindostan the goat of ihe table-land of made. An annuity of four thousand a year Thibet, whose down supplies the looms of was settled on Hastings; and, in order to en-Cashmere with the materials of the finest able him to meet pressing demands, he was to shawls. Hastings tried, with no better fortune, receive ten years' annuity in advance. The to rear a breed at Daylesford ; nor does he Company was also permitted to lend him fifty seem to have succeeded better with the cattle thousand pounds, to be repaid by instalments, of Bootan, whose tails are in high esteem as the without interest. This relief, though given in best fans for brushing away the musquitoes. the most absurd manner, was sufficient to en- Literature divided his attention with his conable the retired governor to live in comfort, servatories and his menagerie. He had always and even in luxury, if he had been a skilful loved books, and they were now necessary 10 manager. But he was careless and profuse, him. Though not a poet, in any high sense and was more than once under the necessity of the word, he wrote neat and polished lines of applying to the Company for assistance, with great facility, and was fond of exercising which was liberally given.
this talent. Indeed, if we must speak out, he He had security and affluence, but not the seems to have been more of a Trissotin than power and dignity, which, when he landed was to be expected from the powers of his from India, he had reason to expect. He had mind, and from the great part which he had then looked forward to a coronet, a red riband, played in life. We are assured in these Me. a seat at the Council-board, an office at White-moirs, that the first thing which he did in the hall. He was then only fifty-two, and might morning was to compose a copy of verses. hope for many years of bodily and mental When the family and guests assembled, the vigour. The case was widely different when poem made its appearance as regularly as the he left the bar of the Lords. He was now too eggs and rolls; and Mr. Gleig requires us to old a man to turn his mind to a new class of believe that, if from any accident Hastings studies and duties. He had no chance of re- came to the breakfast-table without one of his ceiving any mark of royal favour while Mr. charming performances in his hand, the omis. Pitt remained in power; and, when Mr. Pitt sion was felt by all as a grievous disappoint. retired, Hastings was approaching his seven- ment. Tastes differ widely. For ourselves
we must say that, however good the breakfasts Once, and only once, after his acquittal, he at Daylesford may have been—and we are as. interfered in politics, and that interference was sured that the tea was of the most aromatic not much to his honour. In 1804, he exerted flavour, and that neither tongue nor venison. himself strenuously to prevent Mr. Addington, pasty was wanting—we should have thought against whom Fox and Pitt had combined, ihe reckoning high, if we had been forced to from resigning the Treasury. It is difficult to earn our repast by listening every day to a new believe that a man so able and energetic as madrigal or sonnet composed by our host. We Hastings, can have thought that, when Bona- are glad, however, that Mr. Gleig has preserved parle was at Boulogne with a great army, the this little feature of character, though we think defence of our island could safely be intrusted it by no means a beauty. It is good to be often to a ministry which did not contain a single reminded of the inconsistency of human naperson whom flattery could describe as a great ture; and to learn to look without wonder or statesman. It is also certain that, on the im- disgust on the weaknesses which are found in portant question which had raised Mr. Adding the strongest minds. Dionysius in old times, ton to power, and on which he differed from Frederic in the last century, with capacity and both Fox and Pitt, Hastings, as might nave vigour equal to the conduct of the greatest afbeen expected, agreed with Fox and Piti, and fairs, united all the little vanities and affectawas decidedly opposed to Addington. Religious tions of provincial blue-stockings. These great intolerance has never been the vice of the India examples may console the admirers of Hastservice, and certainly was not the vice of ings for the affliction of seeing him reduced to llastings. But Mr. Addington had treated him the level of the Hayleys and the Sewards.