And now, my Lords, in what a situation are we all placed! This prosecution of the Commons, I wish to have it understood, and I am sure I shall wish to have it understood, and I am sure I shall not be disclaimed in it, is a prosecution not only for the punishing of a delinquent, a prosecution not merely for preventing this and that offence, but it is a great censorial prosecution, for the purpose of preserving the manners, characters, and virtues that characterise the people of England. The situation in which we stand is dreadful. These people pour in upon us every day. They not only bring with them the wealth which they have acquired, but they bring with them into our country the vices by which it was acquired. Formerly the people of England were censured, and perhaps properly, with being a sullen, unsocial, cold, unpleasant race of men, and as inconstant as the climate in which they are born. These are the vices which the enemies of the Kingdom charged them with: and people are seldom charged with vices of which they no not in some measure partake. But nobody refused them the character of being an open-hearted, candid, liberal, plain, sincere people — qualities which would cancel a thousand faults, if they had them. But if, by conniving at these frauds, you once teach the people of England a concealing, narrow, suspicious, guarded conduct, if you teach them qualities directly the contrary to those by which they have hitherto been distinguished, if you make them a nation of concealers, a nation of dissemblers, a nation of liars, a nation of forgers—my Lords, if you, in one word, turn them into a people of banians, the character of England, that character which, more than our arms, and more than our commerce, has made us a great nation, the character of England will be gone and lost.
Our liberty is as much in danger as our honour and our national character. We, who here appear representing the Commons of England, are not wild enough not to tremble both for ourselves and for our constituents at the effect of riches. Opum metuenda potestas! We dread the operation of money. Do we not know that there are many men who wait, and who indeed hardly wait, the event of this prosecution, to let loose all the corrupt wealth of India, acquired by the oppression of that country, for the corruption of all the liberties of this, and to fill Parliament with men who are now the object of its indignation? Today, the Commons of Great Britain prosecute the delinquents of India: to-morrow the delinquents of India may be the Commons of Great Britain. We know, I say, and feel the force of money; and we now call upon your Lordships for justice in this cause of money. We call upon you for the preservation of our manners, of our virtues. We call upon you for our national character. We call upon you for our liberties; and hope that the freedom of the Commons will be preserved by the justice of the Lords.