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called upon for the payment of twenty shillings. Would twenty shillings have ruined Mr. Hampden's fortune ? No! but the jay. ment of half twenty shillings, on the principle it was demanded, would have made him a slave! It is the weight of that preamble, of which you are so fond, and not the weight of the duty, that the Americans are unable and unwilling to bear. You are, therefore, at this moment, in the awkward situation of fighting for a phantom; a quiddity; a thing that wants, not only a substance, but even a name; for a thing which is neither abstract right, nor profitable enjoyment.
They tell you, Sir, that your dignity is tied to it. I know not how it happens, but this dignity of yours is a terrible incumbrance to you; for it has of late been ever at war with your interest, your equity, and every idea of your policy. Show the thing you contend for to be reason, show it to be common sense, show it to be the means of obtaining some useful end, and then I am content to allow it what dignity you please. But what dignity is derived from the perseverance in absurdity, is more than I ever could discern! Let us, Sir, embrace some system or other before we end this session. Do you mean to tax America, and to draw a productive revenue from thence ? If you do, speak out: name, fix, ascertain this revenue; settle its quantity ; define its objects ; provide for its collection; and then fight, when you have something to fight for. If you murder, rob; if you kill, take possession: and do not appear in the character of madmen, as well as assassins, - violent, vindictive, bloody and tyrannical, without an object. But may better counsels guide you !
69. DESPOTISM INCOMPATIBLE WITH RIGHT, 1788. - Id. My LORDs, you have now heard the principles on which Mr. Hastings governs the part of Asia subjected to the British empire. Here he has declared his opinion, that he is a despotic prince; that he is to use arbitrary power; and, of course, all his acts are covered with that shield. “I
know," says he, “ the Constitution of Asia only from its practice.” Will your Lordships submit to hear the corrupt practices of mankind made the principles of Government? He have arbitrary power! — My Lords, the East-India. Company have not arbitrary power to give him ; the King has no arbitrary power to give him; your Lordships have not ; nor the Commons ; nor the whole Legislature. We have no arbitrary power to give, because arbitrary power is a thing which neither any man can hold nor any man can give. No man can lawfully govern himself according to his own will,— much less can one person be governed by the will of another. We are all horn in subjection, - all born equally, high and low, governors and gov. erned, in subjection to one great, immutable, prečxistent law, prior to all our devices, and prior to all our contrivances, paramount to all our ideas and to all our sensations, antecedent to our ery existence, by which we are knit and connected in the eternal frame of the universe, out of which we cannot stir.
This great law does not arise from our conventions or compacts ; on the contrary, it gives to our conventions and compacts all the force and sanction they can have; -it does not arise from our vain institutions. Every good gift is of God; all power is of God; — and He who has given the power, and from whom alone it originates, will never suffer the exercise of it to be practised upon any less solid foundation than the power itself. If, then, all dominion of man over man is the effect of the divine disposition, it is bound by the eternal laws of Him that gave it, with which no human authority can dispense; neither he that exercises it, nor even those who are subject to it; and, if they were mad enough to make an express compact, that should release their magistrate from his duty, and should declare their lives, liberties and properties, dependent upon, not rules and laws, but his mere capricious will, that covenant would be void.
This arbitrary power is not to be had by conquest. sovereign have it by succession; for no man can succeed to fraud, rapine, and violence. Those who give and those who receive arbitrary power are alike criminal; and there is no man but is bound to resist it to the best of his power, wherever it shall show its face to the world.
Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity. Name me a magistrate, and I will name property ; name me power, and I will name protection. It is a contradiction in terms, it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in politics, to say that any man can have arbitrary power. In every patent of office the duty is included. For what else does a magistrate exist? To suppose for power, is an absurdity in idea. Judges are guided and governed by the eternal laws of justice, to which we are all subject. We may bite our chains, if we will ; but we shall be made to know ourselves, and be taught that man is born to be governed by law; and he that will substitute will in the place of it is an enemy to God.
Nor can any
60. IMPEACHMENT OF WARREN HASTINGS, 1788. — Id. The unremitting energy of Burke's appeals, in the prosecution of Hastings, was a subject of wonder at the time, and is a lasting memorial of his zeal in what he believed an honest cause, for the admiration of posterity. Hastings himself has said of Burke's eloquence against birn, -" For the first half-hour, I looked up to the orator in a reverie of wonder; and, during that time, I felt myself the most culpable man on earth.” The trial of Warren JÍastings commenced in Westminster Hall, Feb. 18, 1788. The whole process occupied ten years, from 1785 to 1795. On the 23d of April, 1796, Hastings was acquitted by a large majority of the Peers.
MY LORD, I do not mean now to go further than just to remind your Lordships of this, – that Mr. Hastings' government was one whole system of oppression, of robbery of individuals, of spoliation of the public, and of supersession of the whole system of the English Government, in order to vest in the worst of the natives all the power that could possibly exist in any Government; in order to defeat she ends which all Governments ought, in common, to have in view In the name of the Commons of England, I charge all this villany upon Warren Hastings, in this last moment of my application to you
My Lords, what is it that we want here, to a great act of national justice? Do we want a cause, my Lords ? You have the cause of oppressed princes, of undone women of the first rank, of desolated l'rovinces, and of wasted Kingdoms.
Do you want a criminal, my Lords ? When was there so much iniquity ever laid to the charge of any one ? - No, my Lords, you must not look to punish any other such delinquent from India. Warren Hastings has not left substance enough in India to nourish such another delinquent.
My Lords, is it a prosecutor you want? You have before you the Commons of Great Britain as prosecutors; and I believe, my Lords, that the sun, in his beneficent progress round the world, does not behold a more glorious sight than that of men, separated from a remote people by the material bounds and barriers of nature, united by the bond of a social and moral community ; — all the Commons of England resenting, as their own, the indignities and cruelties that are offered to all the people of India.
Do we want a tribunal ? My Lords; no example of antiquity, nothing in the modern world, nothing in the range of human imagin. ation, can supply us with a tribunal like this. We commit safely the interests of India and humanity into your hands. Therefore, it is with confidence that, ordered by the Commons,
I impeach Warren Hastings, Esquire, of high crimes and misdemeanors.
I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, whose Parliamentary trust he has betrayed.
I impeach him in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonored.
I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights and liberties, he has subverted; whose properties he has destroyed; whose country he has laid waste and desolate.
I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.
I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has eruelly outraged, injured and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, cank, situation, and condition of life.
61. PERORATION AGAINST WARREN JIASTINGS. - Edmund Burke. My LORDS, at this awful close, in the name of the Commons, ana surrounded by them, I attest the retiring, I attest the advancing generations, between which, as a link in the great chain of eternal order, we stand. We call this Nation, we call the world to witness, that the Commons have shrunk from no labor; that we have been guilty of no pro varication that we have made no compromise with crime; that we have act feared any odium whatsoever, in the long warfare which we nave carried on with the crimes, with the vices, with the exorbitant wealth, with the enormous and overpowering influence of Eastern corruption.
My Lords, it has pleased Providence to place us in such a state that we appear every moment to be upon the verge of some great mutations. There is one thing, and one thing only, which defies all mutation: that which existed before the world, and will survive thu fabric of the world itself, -I mean justice; that justice which, emanating from the Divinity, has a place in the breast of every one of us, given us for our guide with regard to ourselves and with regard to others, and which will stand, after this globe is burned to ashes, our advocate or our accuser, before the great Judge, when He comes to call upon us for the tenor of a well-spent life. My Lords, the Commons will share in every fate with your
Lord. ships ; there is nothing sinister which can happen to you, in which we shall not all be involved; and, if it should so happen that we shall be subjected to some of those frightful changes which we have seen, if it should happen that your Lordships, stripped of all the decorous distinctions of human society, should, by hands at once base and cruel, be led to those scaffolds and machines of murder upon which great kings and glorious queens have shed their blood, amidst the prelates, amidst the nobles, amidst the magistrates, who supported their thrones, — may you in those moments feel that consolation which I am persuaded they felt in the critical moments of their dreadful agony!
My Lords, if you must fall, may you so fall! but, if you stand, and stand I trust you will, — together with the fortune of this ancient monarchy, together with the ancient laws and liberties of this great and illustrious Kingdom, may you stand as unimpeached in honor as in power; may you stand, not as a substitute for virtue, hut as an ornament of virtue, as a security for virtue; may you stand long, and long stand the terror of tyrants; may you stand the refuge of afflicted Nations ; may you stand a sacred temple, for the perpetual residence of an inviolable justice !
BRISTOL. - Edmund Burk
GENTLEMEN, I have had my day. I can never sufficiently express my gratitude unto you for having set me in a place wherein I could lend the slightest help to great and laudable designs. If I have had my share in any measure giving quiet to private property and private conscience; if by my vote I have aided in securing to families the best possession, peace; if I have joined in reconciling kings to their subjects, and subjects to their prince; if I have assisted to loosen the foreign holdings of the citizen, and taught him to look for his protection to the laws of his country, and for his comfort to the good will of his countrymen ; if I have thus taken my part with the best of men in the best of their actions, — I can shut the book ;- I might wish to read a paço or two more, - but this is enough foi my measure. I have not lived in vain.
And now, Gentlemen, on this serious day, when I come, as it were, to make up my account with you, let pie take to myself some degree of honest pride, on the nature of the charges that are against me. I do not here stand before you accused of venality, or of neglect of duty. It is not said that, in the long period of my service, I have, in a single instance, sacrificed the slightest of your interests to my ambition, or to my fortune.
It is not alleged that, to gratify any anger or revenge of my own, or of my party, I have had a share in wronging or oppressing any description of men, or any one man in any description. No! the charges against me are all of one kind, — that I have pushed the principles of general justice and benevolence too far, — further than a cautious policy would warrant, and further than the opinions of many would go along with me. In every accident which may happen through life, in pain, in sorrow, in depression and distress, - I will all to mind this accusation, and be comforted.
63. MARIE ANTOINETTE, 1790.* - Edmund Burke. It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles ; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in, - glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendor, and joy. O! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom ; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a Nation of gallant men, in a Nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.
But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of Nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gonc, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
• Born, 1755; beheaded, 1792.