The Works of Edmund Burke, Vol. 8 of 9 by Edmund Burke

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Edmund Burke
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The Works of Edmund Burke, Vol. 8 of 9

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Excerpt from The Works of Edmund Burke, Vol. 8 of 9

My Lords,

When I had the honour last to address you from this place, I endeavoured to press this position upon your minds, and to fortify it by the example of the proceedings of Mr. Hastings, that obscurity and inaccuracies in a matter of account constituted a just presumption of fraud. I showed, from his own letters, that his accounts were confused and inaccurate. I am ready, my lords, to admit that there are situations, in which a minister in high office may use concealment; it may be his duty to use concealment from the enemies of his masters: it may be prudent to use concealment from his inferiors in the service. It will always be suspicious to use concealment from his colleagues and co-ordinates in office. But when, in a money transaction, any man uses concealment with regard to them to whom the money belongs, he is guilty of a fraud. My lords, I have shown you that Mr. Hastings kept no account, by his own confession, of the monies that he had privately taken, as he pretends, for the company's service, and we have but too much reason to presume for his own. We have shown you, my lords, that he has not only no accounts, but no memory; we have shown that he does not even understand his own motives; that, when called upon to recollect them, he begs to guess at them; and that as his memory is to be supplied by his guess, so he has no confidence in his guesses.

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