SPEECH IN GENERAL REPLY.
Fifth day: Saturday, June 7, 1794.
My Lords,—We will now resume the consideration of the remaining part of our charge, and of the prisoner’s attempts to defend himself against it.
Mr. Hastings, well knowing (what your Lordships must also by this time be perfectly satisfied was the case) that this unfortunate Nabob had no will of his own, draws down his poor victim to Chunar by an order to attend the Governor-General. If the Nabob ever wrote to Mr. Hastings, expressing a request or desire for this meeting, his letter was unquestionably dictated to him by the prisoner. We have laid a ground of direct proof before you, that the Nabob’s being at Chunar, that his proceedings there, and that all his acts were so dictated, and consequently must be so construed.
I shall now proceed to lay before your Lordships the acts of oppression committed by Mr. Hastings through his two miserable instruments: the one, his passive instrument, the Nabob; the other, Mr. Middleton, his active instrument, in his subsequent plans for the entire destruction of that country. In page 513 of the printed Minutes you have Mr. Middleton’s declaration of his promptitude to represent everything agreeably to Mr. Hastings’s wishes.
“My dear Sir,—I have this day answered your public letter in the form you seemed to expect. I hope there is nothing in it that may to you appear too pointed. If you wish the matter to be otherwise understood than I have taken up and stated it, I need not say I shall be ready to conform to whatever you may prescribe, and to take upon myself any share of the blame of the hitherto non-performance of the stipulations made on behalf of the Nabob; though I do assure you I myself represented to his Excellency and the ministers, conceiving it to be your desire, that the apparent assumption of the reins of his government, (for in that light he undoubtedly considered it at the first view,) as specified in the agreement executed by him, was not meant to be fully and literally enforced, but that it was necessary you should have something to show on your side, as the Company were deprived of a benefit without a requital; and upon the faith of this assurance alone, I believe I may safely affirm, his Excellency’s objections to signing the treaty were given up. If I have understood the matter wrong, or misconceived your design, I am truly sorry for it. However, it is not too late to correct the error; and I am ready to undertake, and, God willing, to carry through, whatever you may, on the receipt of my public letter, tell me is your final resolve.
“If you determine, at all events, that the measures of reducing the Nabob’s