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Title: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XII. (of XII.)
Author: Edmund Burke
Release Date: May 5, 2006 [EBook #18315]
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THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
VOLUME THE TWELFTH
[Illustration: Burke Coat of Arms.]
WARREN HASTINGS, ESQUIRE,
LATE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF BENGAL.
SPEECH IN GENERAL REPLY.
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 army, &c., shall be immediately undertaken, I shall take it
as a particular favor, if you will indulge me with a line at
Fyzabad, that I may make the necessary previous arrangements with
respect to the disposal of my family, which I would not wish to
retain here, in the event either of a rupture with the Nabob, or
the necessity of employing our forces on the reduction of his
aumils and troops. This done, I can begin the work in three days
after my return from Fyzabad."
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