By H. Lowell Brown (auth.)
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165 In May 1787, the Commons formally impeached Hastings. The trial before the Lords lasted from February 1788 until April 1795, when Hastings was acquitted of all charges. 166 But the flaws and faults of the Hastings impeachment were not before the delegates to the federal constitutional convention and are not germane here. ORIGINAL MEANING 29 Rather, when Mason referred to the “many great and dangerous offenses” that would not fall within the definition of treason and the common understanding of bribery but would nevertheless warrant impeachment and removal, Mason cited the allegations then being made against Hastings by Burke and Sheridan.
In a series of impeachments for high crimes and misdemeanors lodged in 1642, various nobles were prosecuted for the actions on behalf of the King and against the will of the Parliament. ”120 The Lord Mayor of London, Sir Richard Guerney, was charged with publishing “illegal proclamations, containing in them matters of dangerous consequence, and contrary to the votes of both Houses of Parliament,” and with having endeavored “to raise tumults and discords . . 121 Relatedly, Sir Thomas Gardiner was impeached for using his influence on the mayor and council of London to raise funds and outfit a military force of 200 men to fight on behalf of the King of Scotland.
157 The colonial administration of India under Hastings was a matter of controversy in Britain. ”158 Hastings himself was criticized personally for his administration. He was the subject of criticism for his conduct in the Maratha War (1775–1782) and the subject of scandal concerning the death of the Governor of Madras in 1777. The accumulation of huge debts owed to British creditors and the commencement of the second Mysore War in 1780 threatened the company’s influence in Southern India. 160 Burke wrote to Lord Thurlow in 1784 that he was not an enemy of Hastings, personally, “But of some things I am certain.