صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

I think that there is no one problem that is so difficult to deal with as the problem of how to do justice to the wealth, either in the hands of the individual or the corporation, on the one hand, or, on the other, how to see that that wealth in return is used for the benefit of the whole community. The tendency is for men to range themselves in two extreme camps, each taking a position that in the long run would be almost equally fatal to the community.

Oh, if I could only impress upon you, if I only had the eloquence and the power of enforcing conviction upon you, to make you understand the two sides of the question--not understand it, you may do that in theory now, but to make you realize it—the two sides, that the rich man who buys a privilege from a Board of Aldermen for a railway which he represents, the rich man who gets a privilege through the Legislature by bribery and corruption for any corporation, that man is committing an offence against the community which it is possible may some day have to be condoned for in blood and destruction, not by him, not by his sons, but by you and your sons.

If I could only make you understand that on one side, and make you understand on the other-make the mass of our people, make the mass of our voters understand, on the other—that the worst thing they can do is to choose a representative who shall say, “I am against corporations; I am against capital,” and not a man who shall say, I stand by the Ten Commandments: I stand by doing equal justice to the man of means and the man without means; I stand by saying that no man shall be stolen from and that no man shall steal from any one else; I stand by saying that the corporations shall not be

blackmailed on the one side and that the corporations shall not acquire any improper power by corruption on the other; that the corporations shall pay their full share of the public burdens, and that when they do so they shall be protected in their rights exactly as any one else is protected!" In other words, if I could only make our people realize that their one hope and one safety in dealing with this problem is to send into our public bodies men who shall be honest, who shall realize their obligations, not their obligations to the rich man and the poor man, but between the honest man and the dishonest man!

EDMUND BURKE.

N the name of the Commons of England, I charge

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 provinces, 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 imagination, can supply us with a tribunal like this. My Lords, here we see virtually, in the mind's eye, that sacred majesty of the Crown, under whose authority you sit and whose power you exercise.

We have here all the branches of the royal family, in a situation between majesty and subjection, between the sovereign and the subject-offering a pledge, in that situation, for the support of the 'rights of the Crown and the liberties of the people, both of which extremities they touch.

My Lords, we have a great hereditary peerage here; those who have their own honor, the honor of their ancestors, and of their posterity, to guard, and who will justify, as they always have justified, that provision in the Constitution by which justice is made an hereditary office.

My Lords, we have here a new nobility, who have risen, and exalted themselves by various merits, by great civil and military services, which have extended the fame of this country from the rising to the setting sun.

My Lords, you have here, also, the lights of our religion; you have the bishops of England. My Lords, you have that true image of the primitive Church in its ancient form, in its ancient ordinances, purified from the superstitions and the vices which a long succession of ages will bring upon the best institutions.

My Lords, these are the securities which we have in all the constituent parts of the body of this House. We know them, we reckon, we rest upon them, and commit safely the interests of India and of 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 property 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 cruelly outraged, injured and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation, and condi, ,

condi, tion of life.

My Lords, the Commons will share in every fate with your Lordships; there is nothing sinister which can happen to you, in which we shall not 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, there is a consolation, and a great consolation it is, which often happens to oppressed virtue and fallen dignity; it often happens that the very oppressors and persecutors themselves are forced to

« السابقةمتابعة »