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WARREN HASTINGS. 97

tribunal, sitting regularly six days in the week, and nine hours
in the day, would have brought the trial of Hastings to a close in
less than three months. The Lords had not finished their work in
seven years.

The result ceased to be matter of doubt, from the time when the
Lords resolved that they would be guided by the rules of evidence
which are received in the inferior courts of the realm. Those
rules, it is well known, exclude much information which would be
quite sufficient to determine the conduct of any reasonable man, in
the most important transactions of private life. These rules, at
every assizes, save scores of culprits whom judges, jury, and
spectators, firmly believe to be guilty. But when those rules were
rigidly applied to offences committed many years before, at the
distance of many thousands of miles, conviction was, of course, out
of the question. We do not blame the accused and his counsel
for availing themselves of every legal advantage in order to obtain
an acquittal. But it is clear that an acquittal so obtained cannot
be pleaded in bar of the judgment of history.

Several attempts were made by the friends of Hastings to put a
stop to the trial. In 1789 they proposed a vote of censure upon
Burke, for some violent language which he had used respecting
the death of N uncomar and the connexion between Hastings and
Impey. Burke was then unpopular in the last degree both with
the House and with the country. The asperity and indecency of
some expressions which he had used during the debates on the
Regency had annoyed even his warmest friends. The vote of
censure was carried; and those who had moved it hoped that the
managers would resign in disgust. Burke was deeply hurt. But
his zeal for what he considered as the cause of justice and mercy
triumphed over his personal feelings. He received the censure of
the House with dignity and meekness, and declared that no per-
sonal mortification or humiliation should induce him to flinch from
the sacred duty which he had undertaken.

In the following year the Parliament was dissolved; and the
friends of Hastings entertained a hope that the new House of
Commons might not be disposed to go on with the impeachment.
They began by maintaining that the whole proceeding was termi-
nated by the dissolution. Defeated on this point, they made 8
direct motion that the impeachment should be dropped; but they
were defeated by the combined forces of the Government and the

G

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