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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 Burze, who and of the English Presidencies. Having thus hugged him with the energy of generous admi attempted to communicate to his hearers an ration! idea of Eastern society, as vivid as that which existed in his own mind, he proceeded to arraign the administration of Hastings, as systematically conducted in defiance of morality and public law. The energy and pathos of the great orator extorted expressions of unwonted admiration even from the stern and hostile Chancellor; and, for a moment, seemed to pierce even the resolute heart of the defend- The interest taken by the public in the trial ant. The ladies in the galleries, unaccustomed was great when the court began to sit, and to such displays of eloquence, excited by the rose to the height when Sheridan spoke on the sclemnity of the occasion, and perhaps not un-charge relating to the Begums. From that willing to display their taste and sensibility, time the excitement 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 over. tles 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 tempt 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-examina"hath 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 Warren Hastings of high crimes and misde- with words unintelligible to English ears-with meanours. I impeach him in the name of the lacs and crores, zemindars and aumils, sunCommons House of Parliament, whose trust nuds and perwannahs, jaghires and nuzzurs, he 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 dis rank, I impeach the common enemy and op- cussed their lordships retired to discuss it pressor of all !" apart; and the consequence was, as the late Lord Stanhope wittily said, that the judges walked and the trial stood still.
June was now far advanced. The session could not last much longer, and the progress which had been made in the impeachment was not very satisfactory. There were twenty charges. On two only of these had even the case for the prosecution been heard; and it was now a year since Hastings had been admitted to bail.
When the deep murmur of various emotions had subsided, Mr. Fox rose to address the Lords 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 ques court would bring to a close the investigation|tion, either of domestic or foreign policy, exof 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 seaprosecution, before the defence began. The son. But in the following year, the king's illLords retired to their own house, to consider ness, the debates on the regency, the expecta the 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 ma- 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 gotten.
The trial in the hall went on languidly. In the session of 1788, when the proceedings had the interest of novelty, and when the Peers had little other business before them, only thirty five days were given to the impeachment. In 1789, the Regency Bill occupied the Upper House till the session was far advanced. When the king recovered, the circuits were beginning The judges left town; the Lords waited for the return of the oracles of jurisprudence; and the consequence was, that during the whole year only seventeen days were given to the case of Hastings. It was clear that the matter 2T2
When the court sat again, Mr. Fox, assisted by Mr. Grey, opened the charge respecting Cheyte Sing, and several days were spent in reading papers and hearing witnesses. The next article was that relating to the Princesses of Oude. The conduct of this part of the case was intrusted to Sheridan. The curiosity of the public to hear him was unbounded. His sparkling and highly-finished declamation lasted two days; but the Hall was crowded to suffocation during the whole time. It was said that fifty guineas had been paid for a single ticket. Sheridan, when he concluded, convived, with a knowledge of stage-effect which VOL. IV.-63
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 cy triumphed over his personal feelings. He received the censure of the House with dignity and meekness, and declared that no personal mortification or humiliation should induce him to flinch from the sacred duty which he had undertaken.
In truth, it is impossible to deny that impeachment, though it is a fine ceremony, and though it may have been useful in the seventeenth century, is not a proceeding from which much good can now be expected. Whatever confidence may be placed in the decisions of the Peers on an appeal arising out of ordinary litigation, it is certain that no man has the least confidence in their impartiality, when a great public functionary, charged with a great state crime, is brought to their bar. They are all politicians. There is hardly one among them, whose vote on an impeachment may not be confidently predicted before a witness has been examined; and even were it possible to rely on their justice, they would still be quite unfit to try such a cause as that of Hastings. They sit only during half the year. They have to transact much legislative and much judicial business. The law-lords, whose advic quired to guide the unlearned majority, are employed daily in administering justice elsewhere. It is impossible, therefore, that during a busy session, the Upper House should give more than a few days to an impeachment. To expect that their lordships would give up partridge-shooting, in order to bring the greatest delinquent to speedy justice, or to relieve cused innocence by speedy acquittal, would be unreasonable indeed. A well constituted tribunal, sitting regularly six days in the week, and nine hours in the day, would have finished the trial of Hastings in less than three months. The Lords had not finished their work in seven years.
In the following year, the Parliament was dissolved; and the friends of Hastings enter tained a hope that the new House of Commons might not be disposed to go on with the im. peachment. They began by maintaining that the whole proceeding was terminated by the dissolution. Defeated on this point, they made a direct motion that the impeachment should be dropped; but they were defeated by the combined forces of the government and the opposition. It was, however, resolved that, for the sake of expedition, many of the articles should be withdrawn. In truth, had not some such measure been adopted, the trial would have lasted till the defendant was in his grave.
At length, in the spring of 1795, the decision was pronounced, nearly eight years after Hast ings had been brought by the sergeant-at-arms of the Commons to the bar of the Lords. On the last day of this great procedure, the public curiosity, long suspended, seemed to be reac-vived. Anxiety about the judgment there could be none; for it had been fully ascer tained that there was a great majority for the defendant. But many wished to see the pa geant, and the hall was as much crowded as on the first day. But those who, having been present on the first day, now bore a part in the proceedings of the last, were few, and most of those few were altered men.
The result ceased to be a matter of doubt, from the time when the Lords resolved that they would be guided by the rules of evidence which are received in inferior courts of the realm. Those rules, it is well known, exclude much information which would be quite sufficient to determine the conduct of any reasonable man, in the most important transactions of private life. Those rules, at every assizes, save scores of culprits, whom judges, jury, and spectators, firmly believed to be guilty. But when those rules were rigidly applied to of fences committed many years before, at the distance of many thousand miles, conviction was, of course, out of the question. We do not blame the accused and his counsel for availing themselves of every legal advantage in order to obtain an acquittal. But it is clear hat an acquittal so obtained cannot be pleaded in bar of the judgment of history.
Several attempts were made by the friends of Hastings to put a stop to the trial. 1789 they proposed a vote of censure upon Burke, for some violent language which he had used respecting the death of Nuncomar, and the connection between Hastings and Impey. Burke was then unpopular in the last degree both with the House and with the country. The asperity and indecency of some expressions which he had used during the debates on the Regency had annoyed even his warmest friends. The vote of censure was carried, and those who had moved it hoped that the managers would resign in disgust.
As Hastings himself said, the arraignment had taken place before one generation, and the judgment was pronounced by another. The spectator could not look at the woolsack, or at the red benches of the peers, or at the green benches of the Commons, without seeing something that reminded him of the instability of all human things;-of the instability of power, and fame, and life, of the more lamenta ble instability of friendship. The great seal was borne before Lord Loughborough, who, when the trial commenced, was a fierce opponent of Mr. Pitt's government, and who was now a member of that government; while Thurlow, who presided in the court when it first sat, estranged from all his old allies, sat scowling among the junior barons. Of a hundred and sixty nobles who walked in the procession on the first day, sixty had been laid in their family vaults. Still more affecting must have been the sight of the managers' box What had become of that fair fellowship, so closely bound together by public and private ties, so resplendent with every talent and accomplishment? It had been scattered by calamities more bitter than the bitterness of death. The great chiefs were still living, and still in the full vigour of their genius. But their friendship was at an end. It had been violently and publicly dissolved with tears and stormy reproaches. If those men, once so dear to each other, were now compelled to meet for the purpose of managing the impeachment
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 sen was 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 the Brahmins. He knew that, as they worshipped some gods from love, so they worshipped others from fear. He knew that they erected shrines, not only to the benignant deities of light and plenty, but also to the fiends who preside over smallpox and murder. Nor did he at all dispute the claim of Mr. Hastings to be admitted into such a Pantheon. This reply has always struck us as one of the finest that ever was made in Parliament. It is a grave and forcible argument, decorated by the most brilliant wit and fancy.
We have said that the decision had been fully expected. It was also generally approved. At the commencement of the trial there had been a strong and indeed unreasonable feeling against Hastings. At the close of the trial, there was a feeling equally strong and equally unreasonable in his favour. One cause of the change was, no doubt, what is commonly called the fickleness of the multitude, but what seems to us to be merely the general law of human nature. Both in individuals and in masses violent excitement is always followed by remission, and often by reaction. We are all inclined to depreciate whatever we have overpraised; and, on the other hand, to show undue indulgence where we have shown undue rigour. It was thus in the case of Hastings. The length of his trial, moreover, made him an object of compassion. It was thought, and not without reason, that, even if he was guilty, he was still an ill-used man, and that an impeachment of eight years was more than a sufficient punishment. It was also felt that, though in the ordinary course of criminal law, a defendant is not allowed to set off his good actions against his crimes, a great political cause should be tried on different principles; and that a man who had governed a great country during thirteen years might have done some very reprehensible things, and yet might be on the whole deserving of rewards and honours rather than of fine and imprisonment. The Press, an instrument neglected by the prosecutors, was used by Hastings and his friends with great effect. Every ship, too, that arrived from Madras or Bengal brought a cuddy full of his admirers. Every gentleman from India spoke of the late Governor-General as having deserved better, and having been treated worse, than any man living. The effect of this testimony, unanimously given by all persons who knew the East, was naturally very great. Retired members of the Indian services, civil and military, were settled in all corners of the kingdom. Each of them was, of course, in his own little circle regarded as an oracle on an Indian question; and they were, with scarcely one exception, the zealous advocates of Hastings. It is to be added, that the numerous addresses to the late GovernorGeneral, which his friends in Bengal obtained from the natives and transmitted to Engiand, made a considerable impression. To these addresses we attach little or no importance. That Hastings was beloved by the people whom he governed is true; but the culogies of pundits, zemindars, Mohammedan doctors,
Hastings was, however, safe. But, in every thing except character, he would have been far better off, if, when first impeached, he had at once pleaded guilty, and paid a fine of fifty thousand pounds. He was a ruined man. The legal expenses of his defence had been enor mous. The expenses which did not appear in his attorney's bill were perhaps larger still. Great sums had been paid to Major Scott. Great sums had been laid out in bribing newspapers, rewarding pamphleteers, and circulating tracts. Burke, so early as 1790, declared in the House of Commons that twenty thousand pounds had been employed in corrupting the press. It is certain that no controversial weapon, from the gravest reasoning to the coarsest ribaldry, was left unemployed. Logan, in prose, defended the accused governor with great ability. For the lovers of verse, the speeches of the managers were burlesqued in Simpkin's letters. It is, we are afraid, indisputable that Hastings stooped so low as to court the aid of that malignant and filthy baboon, John Williams, who called himself Anthony Pasquin. It was necessary to subsidize such allies largely. The private hoards of Mrs. Hastings had disappeared. It is said that the banker to whom they had been intrusted had failed. Still, if Hastings had practised strict economy, he would, after all his losses, have had a moderate competence; but in the management of his private affairs he was imprudent. The dearest wish of his heart had always been to regain Daylesford. At length, in the very year in which his trial commenced, the wish was accomplished; and the domain, alienated more than seventy years before, returned to the descendant of its old lords. But the manor-house was a ruin; and the grounds round it had, during many years, been utterly neglected. Hastings proceeded to build, to plant, to form a sheet of water, to excavate a grotto; and, before he was dismissed from the bar of the House of Lords, he had expended more than 40,0001. in a lorning his sea..
The general feeling both of the Directors and of the proprietors of the East India Company was, that he had great claims on them, that his services to them had been eminent, and that his misfortunes had been the effect of his zeal for their interests. His friends in Leadenhall 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 him five 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 custardapple, from the garden of what had once been his own villa, among the green hedgerows of Allipore. He tried also to naturalize in Wor cestershire the delicious leechee, almost the only fruit of Bengal, which deserves to be regretted even amidst the plenty of Covent-Gar den. The Mogul emperors, in the time of their greatness, had in vain attempted to introduce into Hindostan the goat of the table-land of Thibet, whose down supplies the looms of Cashinere with the materials of the finest shawls. Hastings tried, with no better fortune, to rear a breed at Daylesford; nor does he seem to have succeeded better with the cattle of Bootan, whose tails are in high esteem as the best fans for brushing away the musquitoes.
peachment, who had, on that account, been reviled with great bitterness by the partisans of Hastings, and who, therefore, was not in a very complying mood. He refused to consent to what the Directors suggested. The Directors remonstrated. A long controversy followed. Hastings, in the mean time, was reduced to such distress that he could hardly pay his weekly bills. At length a compromise was made. An annuity of four thousand a year was settled on Hastings; and, in order to enable him to meet pressing demands, he was to receive ten years' annuity in advance. The Company was also permitted to lend him fifty thousand pounds, to be repaid by instalments, without interest. This relief, though given in the most absurd manner, was sufficient to enable the retired governor to live in comfort, and even in luxury, if he had been a skilful manager. But he was careless and profuse, and was more than once under the necessity ef applying to the Company for assistance, which was liberally given.
He had security and affluence, but not the power and dignity, which, when he landed from India, he had reason to expect. He had then looked forward to a coronet, a red riband, a seat at the Council-board, an office at Whitehall. He was then only fifty-two, and might hope for many years of bodily and mental vigour. The case was widely different when he left the bar of the Lords. He was now too old a man to turn his mind to a new class of studies and duties. He had no chance of receiving any mark of royal favour while Mr. Pitt remained in power; and, when Mr. Pitt retired, Hastings was approaching his seventieth year.
Once, and only once, after his acquittal, he interfered in politics, and that interference was not much to his honour. In 1804, he exerted himself strenuously to prevent Mr. Addington, against whom Fox and Pitt had combined, from resigning the Treasury. It is difficult to believe that a man so able and energetic as Hastings, can have thought that, when Bonaparte was at Boulogne with a great army, the defence of our island could safely be intrusted to a ministry which did not contain a single person whom flattery could describe as a great statesraan. It is also certain that, on the important question which had raised Mr. Addington to power, and on which he differed from both Fox and Pitt, Hastings, as might nave been expected, agreed with Fox and Pitt, and was decidedly opposed to Addington. Religious intolerance has never been the vice of the India service, and certainly was not the vice of Hastings. But Mr. Addington had treated him
with marked favour. Fox had been a principa. manager of the impeachment. To Pitt it was owing that there had been an impeachment; and Hastings, we fear, was on this occasion guided by personal considerations, rather than by a regard to the public interest.
Literature divided his attention with his conservatories and his menagerie. He had always loved books, and they were now necessary to him. Though not a poet, in any high sense of the word, he wrote neat and polished lines with great facility, and was fond of exercising this talent. Indeed, if we must speak out, he seems to have been more of a Trissotin than was to be expected from the powers of his mind, and from the great part which he had played in life. We are assured in these Memoirs, that the first thing which he did in the morning was to compose a copy of verses. When the family and guests assembled, the poem made its appearance as regularly as the eggs and rolls; and Mr. Gleig requires us to believe that, if from any accident Hastings came to the breakfast-table without one of his charming performances in his hand, the omis sion was felt by all as a grievous disappoint ment. Tastes differ widely. For ourselves we must say that, however good the breakfasts at Daylesford may have been-and we are as sured that the tea was of the most aromatic flavour, and that neither tongue nor venison. pasty was wanting-we should have thought the reckoning high, if we had been forced to earn our repast by listening every day to a new madrigal or sonnet composed by our host. We are glad, however, that Mr. Gleig has preserved this little feature of character, though we think it by no means a beauty. It is good to be often reminded of the inconsistency of human nature; and to learn to look without wonder or disgust on the weaknesses which are found in the strongest minds. Dionysius in old times, Frederic in the last century, with capacity and vigour equal to the conduct of the greatest af fairs, united all the little vanities and affectations of provincial blue-stockings. These great examples may console the admirers of Hastings for the affliction of seeing him reduced to the level of the Hayleys and the Sewards.
When Hastings had passed many years in He lived about four years longer in the en. retirement, and had long outlived the common joyment of good spirits, of faculties not im age of men, he again became for a short time paired to any painful or degrading extent, and an object of general attention. In 1813 the of health such as is rarely enjoyed by those charter of the East India Company was renew-who attain such an age. At length, on the 224 ed; and much discussion about Indian affairs of August, 1819, in the eighty-sixth year of his took place in Parliament. It was determined to age, he met death with the same tranquil and examine witnesses at the bar of the Commons, decorous fortitude which he had opposed to and Hastings was ordered to attend. He had all the trials of his various and eventful life. appeared at that bar before. It was when he With all his fa ilts-and they were neither read his answer to the charges which Burke few nor small-only one cemetery was worthy had laid on the table. Since that time twenty- to contain his remains. In that temple of siseven years had elapsed; public feeling had lence and reconciliation, where the enmities undergone a complete change; the nation had of twenty generations lie buried, in the Great now forgotten his faults, and remembered only Abbey which has for ages afforded a quiet his services. The reappearance, too of a man resting-place to those whose minds and bodies who had been among the most distinguished have been shattered by the contentions of the of a generation that had passed away, who now Great Hall, the dust of the illustrious accused belonged to history, and who seemed to have should have been mingled with the dust of the risen from the dead, could not but produce a illustrious accusers. This was not to be. Yet solemn and pathetic effect. The Commons the place of interment was not ill chosen. Bereceived him with acclamations, ordered a hind the chancel of the parish-church of chair to be set for him, and when he retired, Daylesford, in earth which already held the rose and uncovered. There were, indeed, a bones of many chiefs of the house of Hastings, few who did not sympathize with the general was laid the coffin of the greatest man who feeling. One or two of the managers of the has ever borne that ancient and widely extendimpeachment were present. They sat in the ed name. On that very spot probably, foursame seats which they had occupied when they score years before, the little Warren, meanly had been thanked for the services which they clan and scantily fed, had played with the chilhad rendered in Westminster Hall; for, by the dren of ploughmen. Even then his young mind courtesy of the House, a member who has been had revolved plans which might be called rothanked in his place, is considered as having a mantic. Yet, however romantic, it is not likeright always to occupy that place. These gen- ly that they had been so strange as the truth. tlemen were not disposed to admit that they Not only had the poor orphan retrieved the had employed several of the best years of their fallen fortunes of his line. Not only had he lives in persecuting an innocent man. They repurchased the old lands, and rebuilt the old accordingly kept their seats, and pulled their dwelling. He had preserved and extended an hats over their brows; but the exceptions only empire. He had founded a polity. He had made the prevailing enthusiasm more remark-administered government and war with more able. The Lords received the old man with than the capacity of Richelieu; and had pasimilar tokens of respect. The University of tronised learning with the judicious liberality Oxford conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Cosmo. He had been attacked by the most of Laws; and, in the Sheldonian theatre, the formidable combination of enemies that ever under-graduates welcomed him with tumultu- sought the destruction of a single victim; and ous cheering. over that combination, after a struggle of ten years, he had triumphed. He had at length gone down to his grave in the fulness of agein peace, after so many troubles; in honour, after so much obloquy.
Those who look on his character without fa.
These marks of public esteem were soon followed by marks of the favour of the crown. Hastings was sworn of the Privy Council, and was admitted to a long private audience of the Prince Regent, who treated him very graciously. When the Emperor of Russia and the Kingvour or malevolence, will pronounce that, in of Prussia visited England, Hastings appeared the two great elements of all social virtue-in in their train both at Oxford and in the Guild- respect for the rights of others, and in sympa hall of London; and, though surrounded by a thy for the sufferings of others-he was deficrowd of princes and great warriors, was every-cient. His principles were somewhat lax. where received by the public with marks of His heart was somewhat hard. But while we respect and admiration. He was presented by cannot with truth describe him either as a the Prince Regent both to Alexander and to righteous or as a merciful ruler, we cannot Frederic William; and his Royal Highness regard without admiration the amplitude and went so far as to declare in public, that honours fertility of his intellect-his rare talents for far higher than a seat in the Privy Council command, for administration, and for contro were due, and should soon be paid, to the man versy-his dauntless courage-his honourable who had saved the British dominions in Asia. poverty-his fervent zeal for the interests of Hastings now confidently expected a peerage; the state-his noble equanimity, tried by both but, from some unexplained cause, he was extremes of fortune, ar never disturbed by aga disappointed. either.