Page images

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 though 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 flinch 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 enterconfidence 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 imcrime, 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 confidently 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 They have to sake of expedition, many of the articles should transact much legislative and much judicial be withdrawn.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 not 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 lamenta. spectators, 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 miles, 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 cannot 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 triat. In 1789 have been the sight of the managers' box. they proposed à 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, so 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 of Free 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 impeachment

they met as strangers whom public business do not prove it to be true. For an English cols had 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 Ou 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 dei. against 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 malignant 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 liis 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 impru. 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 domain, 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 whom he governed is true; but the eulogies i bar of the House of Lords, he had expended of pundits, zemindars, Mohammedan doctors, I more than 40,000L in adorning his seai.

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 misfortune's 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 himfive 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 Enge das, who had himself been a party to the im- land. He sent for seeds of a very fine custard. peachment, 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 lecchee, 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. IIastings, 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 the 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 to 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 omisPitt remained in power; and, when Mr. Pitt sion was felt by all as a grievous disappointretired, 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 H tings, can have thought that, when Bona- are glad, however, that Mr. Gleig has preserved parte 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 Pitt, 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 Hastings. But Mr. Addington had treated him the level of the Hayleys and the Sewards.

tieth year.

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 image 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 22d 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 faults 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 chil. had 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 nad 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 These marks of public esteem were soon years, he had triumphed. He had at length followed by marks of the favour of the crown. gone down to his grave in the fulness of ageHastings was sworn of the Privy Council, and in peace, after so many troubles; in honour, was admitted to a long private audience of the after so much obloquy. Prince Regent, who treated him very gracious Those who look on his character without fa. ly. When the Emperor of Russia and the King vour 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 controwere 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 équanimity, tried by both but, from some unexplained cause, he was extremes of fortune, and never disturbed by agan disappointed.




This work, which has the high honour of tentatious and profusė, negligent of his true being introduced to the world by the author of interests and of his high duties, insatiably "Lochiel" and "Hohenlinden," is not wholly eager for frivolous distinctions, he added nounworthy of so distinguished a chaperon. It thing to the real weight of the state which he professes, indeed, to be no more than a compi- governed ; perhaps he transmitted his inherilation ; but it is an exceedingly amusing com- tance to his children impaired rather than pilation, and we shall be glad to have more of augmented in value, but he succeeded in gainit. The narrative comes down at present only ing the great object of his life, the title of king. to the commencement of the Seven Years' In the year 1700 he assumed this new dignity. War, and therefore does not comprise the He had on that occasion to undergo all the most interesting portion of Frederic's reign. mortifications which fall to the lot of ambitious

It may not be unacceptable to our readers upstarts. Compared with the other crowned that we should take this opportunity of pre- heads of Europe, he made a figure resembling senting them with a slight sketch of the life of that which a Nabob or a Commissary, who the greatest king that has, in modern times, had bought a title, would make in the comsucceeded by right of birth to a throne. It inay, pany of Peers whose ancestors had been alwe fear, be impossible to compress so long and tainted for treason against the Plantagenets. eventful a story within the limits which we must The envy of the class which he qritied, and prescribe to ourselves. Should we be compelled the civil scorn of the class into which he into break off, we shall, when the continuation of truded himself, were marked in very signifithis work appears, return to the subject. cant ways. The elector of Saxony at first

The Prussian monarchy, the youngest of the refused to acknowledge the new majesty. great European states, but in population and Louis the Fourteenth looked down on his bro. in revenue the fifth amongst them, and in art, ther king with an air not unlike that with science, and civilization entitled to the third, if which the count in Molière's play regards not the second place, sprang from an humble Monsieur Jourdain, just fresh from the mumorigin. About the beginning of the fifteenth cen- mery of being made a gentleman. Austria tury, the marquisate of Brandenburg was be exacted large sacrifice in return for her restowed by the Emperor Sigismund on the noble cognition, and at last gave it ungraciously. family of Hohenzollern. In the sixteenth century Frederic was succeeded by his son, Frederic that family embraced the Lutheran doctrines. William, a prince who must be allowed to Early in the seventeenth century it obtained have possessed some talents for administrafrom the King of Poland the investiture of the tion, but whose character was disfigured by duchy of Prussia. Even after this accession the most odious vices, and whose eccentrici. of territory, the chiefs of the house of Hohen- ties were such as had never been seen out of a zollern hardly ranked with the Electors of Sax. madhouse. He was exact and diligent in the ony and Bavaria. The soil of Brandenburg transaction of business, and he was the first was for the most part sterile. Even round who formed the design of obtaining for Prus. Berlin, the capital of the province, and round sia a place among the European powers, altoPotsdam, the favourite residence of the Mar- gether out of proportion to her extent and graves, the country, was a desert. In some population, by means of a strong military ortracts, the deep sand could with difficulty be ganization. Strict economy enabled him to forced by assiduous tillage to yield thin crops keep up a peace establishment of sixty thou. of rye and oats. In other places, the ancient sand troops. These troops were disciplined forests, from which the conqnerors of the Ro- in such a manner, that placed beside them, man empire had descended on the Danube, the household regiments of Versailles and St. remained untouched by the hand of man. James's would have appeared an awkward Where the soil was rich it was generally squad. The master of such a force could not marshy, and its insalubrity repelled the culti- but be regarded by all his neighbours as a forvators whom its fertility attracted. Frederic midable enemy, and a valuable ally. William, called the Great Elector, was the But the mind of Frederic William was so prince to whose policy his successors have ill-regulated, that all his inclinations became agreed to ascribe their greatness. He ac- passions, and all his passions partook of the quired by the peace of Westphalia several character of moral and intellectual disease. valuable possessions, and among them the rich His parsimony degenerated into sordid ava. city and district of Magdeburg; and he left to rice. His taste for military pomp and order his son Frederic a principality as considerable became a mania, like that of a Dutch burgo as any which was not called a kingdom. master for tulips; or that of a member of the

Frederic aspired to the style of royalty. Os- Roxburgh club for Caxtons. While the en Frederic the Great and his Times. Editeil, with an

voys of the court of Berlin were in a state of Introduction, by THONAS CAMPBELL, Esq. 2 vols. Svo. such squalid poverty as moved the laughter London 1842.

of foreign capitals; while the food placed be

« PreviousContinue »