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AtUhor of a '* History qf India,^* " Stvdies in Biography ^ Sfc* 





J2/^ . O . 2^Z 


In writing the story of Warren Hastings'^ 
eventful life, my chief aim has been to set 
before the reader a clear, interesting, and 
impartial account of the great Governor 
who did more than any other Englishman 
of his own or a later age to build up the 
fabric of our Indian Empire. Few men of 
equal desert have undergone such cruel 
injustice at the hands, not only of contem- 
porary assailants, but even of critics who 
wrote long after the fiery eloquence of 
Burke and Sheridan had passed into '^ the 
dream of things that were." The calm 
verdict of history, as embodied in the 
pages of James Mill, seemed to bear out 
many of the worst charges brought against 
him by rancorous rivals, disappointed 
placemen, partisan speakers, and states- 


men too busy or too careless to ascertain 
the truth. Mr. Gleig's well-meant and 
well-founded vindication of the great Pro- 
consul gave Macaulay an excuse for 
renewing the attack on Hastings with 
weapons mainly drawn from the armoury 
of Burke and Francis. Another historian, 
Thornton, dealt some new blows at the 
body thus disfigured. Of late years 
Hastings' memory has found a shrewd and 
powerful champion in the late Mr. J. 0. 
Marshman; and Mr. Impey's IMemoir of 
his father. Sir Elijah Impey, shed some 
favouring light not only on the judge 
whom Macaulav likened to Jeffries, but on 
the governor, who turned so often to his 
old school-fellow for help or guidance in 
the conduct of his affairs. To the innuen- 
does and aspersions of the elder Mill, the 
late Professor Wilson has supplied an 
antidote in his improved edition of Mill's 
useful but one-sided work. But the 
glamour of, Macaulay 's rhetoric still 
dazzles the minds of the many readers 
who learn from his lively pages the little 
they care to know about the history of 
British India. 


In forming an estimate of Hastings' 
character, we should be very careful to 
distinguish between matters of opinion 
and matters of fact. Nearly all the in- 
justice done to his memory by grave his- 
torians and popular essayists may be traced 
to an imperfect knowledge or a reckless 
disregard of the facts. Opinions may 
fairly differ on this or that point of moral 
significance, and writers who have to work 
upon a limited store of data may have some 
excuse for drawing wrong conclusions 
therefrom. But there is small excuse for 
those who twist facts into agreement with 
their own theories, or persistently colour 
them with the hues of personal or party 
prejudice. In this respect Mill has sinned 
yet more egregiously than Macaulay, be- 
cause of his greater-seeming pretensions to 
the character of an impartial judge. The 
extent of his shortcomings may be measured 
by the number and drift of Wilson's cor- 
rective notes. Macaulay on the whole has 
dealt more generously with Hastings; but 
in so doing he has surpassed his prede- 
cessors in the astounding unfairness of his 
attacks on Chief Justice Impey. The 


reader of this little volume will be able to 
compare his portrait of Sir Elijah with the 
simple truth. 

For the smallness of the volume no 
apology, I trust, is needed. It might have 
been expanded to almost any size, at the 
certain sacrifice of the object for which it 
was mainly written. Big books, especially 
on Indian themes, are a weariness to the 
mass of English readers; and this little 
volume contains the pith of Mr. Gleig's 
work, filled out with illustrative matter 
derived from other sources, written as well 
as printed. A Life of Hastings necessarily 
includes some passing sketches of Indian 
History. Those here given, while studied 
carefully from the best authorities, will no 
more than suffice to bring out the true 
relations of the central figure, Hastings 
himself, to the events and circumstances 
of his time. 

In the spelling of Indian words I have 
generally followed the scientific system first 
employed by Sir W. Jones, and now 
adopted by the Indian Government. 
Such well-known names as Calcutta, 
Delhi, Bombay, Oudh and Madras, are left 


unaltered. In other cases the following 
letters are thus sounded — - 

4 long as in father. 

a short as in highland or the u in hut. 

e long as in fete, there. 

1 long as in pique. 

i short as in thin. 

o long as in roll. 

u long as in prude. 

u short as in bull. 

au and ai as in German. 

y as in yet. 

ch as in church. 

ph hard as in uphill. 

gh and kh guttural. 

th, as in Chatham : sh, and other con- 
sonants as in English. 

The distinguishing mark of the long 
vowels will sometimes be found omitted, 
after several recurrences of the same word. 

L. J. T. 

23rd September^ 1878. 



Chapter I. — Warren Hastings' Birth and Antecedents 
— ^The Daylesford Family — Warren's childhood — The 
school at Westminster — Hastings sails for India . 1 

Chapter II. — Progress of the East India Company — 
French and EngUsh at War in Southern India — 
Capture of Madras 1746— Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle 
1749 — Hastings in Calcutta 1750 — The Company's 
Servants, their pay and duties . . . ,11 

Charter III. — Suraj-ad-daula marches on Calcutta 
Capture of Fort William — The Black Hole — Hastings 
a prisoner — Arrival of succours from Madras — Colonel 
CUve — English successes in Southern India — Escape 
of Hasting's to Falta — Recovery of Calcutta — Hast- 
ings' Marriage — Clive's progress — Victory of Plassy 
1757 — ^Hastings at Murshidabad . . . .20 

Chapter IV. — Hastings' duties as Resident — His 
dealings with Mir Jafar, the new Nawab — Clive and 
Hastings — Their correspondence — Their relations to 
each other — ^First appearance of Nand-Kumar — An 
important service — ^Progress of events in India — ^The 


Marathas— English successes against the Dutch — 
Exploits of Knox and Caillaud — Reverses of Lally 
and fall of Pondicberry 1761 — ^Departure of Clive 
from Calcutta, 1760 , 33 

Chapter V. — Shah Alam in Bahar — Vansittart's 
Government — Mir Jafar replaced by Mir Kasim Ali 
Khan — The new Nawab begins well — Successes of , 
Camac in fiahar — ^Yorke and White in Birbhum — 
Battle of Panipat — Hastings becomes Member of 
Council ^ . 46 

Chapter VI. — Fall of Rajah Ramnarain — ^Mir Kasim's 
efforts to strengthen himself — Insolence of the Eng- 
lish — Hastings acts as peacemaker — New causes of 
quarrel, English exactions — Excesses of the Company's 
Servants — ^Vansittart's attempt to check them — The 
Nawab retaliates — His angry letter to the Council — 
The final collision — The Patna massacre-Mir Kasim's 
defeat and flight — Reinstatement of Mir Jifar — 
Victory of Bakhsar — Departure of Hastings . .57 

BOOK 11. 

Chapter I. — Hastings in England — His son's death — 
His scheme of a Persian Professorship — Acquaintance 
with Dr. Johnson — Hastings made second in Council 
at Madras — His voyage thither — His illness — His 
love affair with the Baroness Imhoff — His arrange- 
ment with the Baron 78 

Chapter II. — Hastings at Madras — Review of the Com- 
pany's affairs in Southern India — Rise and progress of 
Haidar Ali — The Maisur Rajah dethroned — Defeat of 
the Nizam by Smith — Renewed treaty with the Nizam 
— Haidar's march on Madras — ^Treaty with Haidar, 
1769 . . . 89 


Chapter III. — Hastings' duties at Madras — His efforts 
to improve the Company's investments — His appoint- 
ment to Bengal — His correspondance — 'His departure 
for Calcutta, February 1772 — Sir J. Lindsay's rash 
proceedings — What Hastings thought of them — 
Dissensions at Madras — Hastings and the Nawab of 
the Carnatic. . . . . . . .101 

Chapter IV. — Hastings lands at Calcutta — Retrospect 
of affairs — The '* Nabob *' at home — Hastings installed 
as Governor of Fort William, April 1772 — End of the 
double Government of Bengal — ^Arrest of Reza Khan 
and Shitab Rai — Revision of the land settlement — 
Judicial Reforms — Gurdas and the Manni Begam — 
The Company's trade — Hard work for Hastings. . Ill 

Chapter V. — Trial of Shitab Rai and Mohammad Reza 
Khan — Acquittal and death of the former — Acquittal 
of Reza Khan — Hastings* conduct approved by the 
India House — Further administrative changes — Anew 
code of law drawn up for Bengal — ^Its translation into 
Englishjby Halhed — Repression of Dakaity — Habits of 
the Dakaits — Their punishment — Inroads of the 
Sanyasis checked — Kuch-Bahar rescued from Bhutia 
invaders — Bogle's Mission to Tibet — ^Minor adminis- 
trative reforms. . . . . . . .124 

Chapter VI. — Hastings' foreign policy — Shah Alam's 
return to Delhi 1771 — The Marathas and the Em- 
peror — Hastings withholds the tribute for Bengal — 
The Nawab of Cud h and the Rohillas — The Nawab's 
treaty with Hastings — The Company's financial straits 
— Disunion of the Rohillas — Defeat and death of 
Rahmat Khan — The Nawab's present to the victors — 
The truth about Rohilkhand — Unjust attacks on 
Hastings : .140 



Chapteb I. — Changes in the Company's Rule — The 
Regulating Act of 1773 — The Governor-General and 
the new Council — The new Supreme Court — Arrival 
of the Judges and Councillors — Complaints of the latter 
— First meetings of the new Council — Their reversal of 
Hastings' policy. — Hastings resolves to hold his post 158 

Chapter II. — Insolence of the Triumvirate — Inquiry 
into the Rohilla War — Death of Shuja-ad-daula — 
Hard conditions imposed upon his successor — The new 
treaty with Oudh — The Governor-General's protests 
— ^His contemplated resignation — DiflBculties of his 
position — False charges brought against him by Naud- 
Kumar — The Triumvirate in Council. — Their unjust 
verdict — Francis and his tools — Hastings' appeal to 
Lord North .170 

Chapter III. — The tables turned on Nand-Kumar — 
Nemesis at hand — Nand-Kumdr imprisoned for for- 
gery — His trial and execution — Slanderous attacks 
on Impey and the Governor-General — Their utter 
groundlessness — Hastings' letters to Dr. Johnson and 
Lord Mansfield — Affairs in Western India — Treaty 
of Puranda — Nana Famavis and the French — In- 
trigues at home against the Governor-General — In- 
discretion of Colonel Macleane — His offer accepted 
by the Court of Directors — Death of Colonel Monson, 
September, 1776 — Hastings' improved prospects — His 
scheme of subsidiary alliances — Unpleasant news from 
England — Clavering's violent attempt to assume the 
Government — Hastings' bold conduct — The judges 
decide in his favour — Clavering's death , . .186 

Chapter IV. — Hastings marries the Baronness Imhoff 
— Arrival of Wheeler — The Governor-General's vigor 
ous measures against the Marathas and the French in 


1778 — Mission of Alexander Elliot — Slackness of the 
Bombay Government — Hastings' correspondence with 
Impey — Improved prospects — Death of Elliot — God- 
dard's brilliant march to Burhanpur — Retreat of the 
Bombay column — Disgraceful Convention of Wargaum 
— Goddard*s victorious progress — Popham captures 
GwaJiar — Camac's successes in 1781 — Goddard's 
advance on Puna checked by the Marathas — Progress 
of Haidar Ali — State of affaire in Madras — Capture of 
French Settlements — Difference between the Nizam 
and the Madras Government — Hastings attempts to 
conciliate the Nizam — Intrigues of Haidar Ali — His 
sudden inroad into the Camatic in 1780 — Sad fate of 
Baillie's column — Munro's strange apathy — Hastings' 
boldness in the hour of need- — Pearse's march through 
Orissa — Anderson's mission to the Maratha general — 
Cholera at Ganjam — Victories of Sir Eyre Coote— 
• Successes against the Dutch — Fights between Suffrein 
and Sir E. Hughes — Progress of Tippu — Death of 
Haidar Ali in 1 782 — Treaty of Salbai signed by the 
Marathas — Death of Coote — Stewart's attack on Kada- 
lor — Treaty of Versailles — Fullarton's advance into 
Maisur — Treaty of peace with Tippu, March, 1783 . 203 

Chapter V. — Hasting's personal history — Retirement 
of Barwell — Truce between Hastings and Francis — 
Conflicting powers of the Government and the Supreme 
Court — Scenes of violence in Bengal — Impey placed 
' at the head of the Company's Courts — Francis breaks 
his pledge — Hastings charges him with breach of 
faith — Francis wounded in a duel with Hastings — 
His departure from India — Hastings breathes freely 
— His term of office renewed . . , . .324 

Chapter VI. — ^The Governor-General's position in 1781 
— The Rajah of Banaras shirks his demand for 
military aid — Hastings resolves to punish his refrac- 
tory vassal — Chait Singh's overtures rejected — 
Hastings* journey to Banaras — His interview with 



Chait Singh at Bakbsar — The Rajah placed in arrest 
— Tumult in Banaras — Chait Singh's escape — March 
of troops to the rescue of Hastings — His coolness in 
the midst of danger — Rebellion of Chait Singh — Pop- 
ham's successful advance — Capture of Bijigarh and 
flight of the Rajah — Hastings' compact with the 
Nawab of Oudh at Chunar — The Oudh Begams — 
Impey's journey to Lucknow — ^Macaulay's misstate- 
ments — ^I'he Begands deprived of their ill-gotten 
treasure — Release of the Eunuchs — Arrangement with 
Faizulla Khan — The Nawab's offer of a present to 
Hastings — The use made of the money — Hastings 
acts as peacemaker in Madras — His serious illness 

Chapter VII. — Recall of Impey — Proceedings at the 
India House — Hastings' indignant letter to the Di- 
rectors — His threat to resign — His difficult position — 
Rejection of Fox's India Bill — Hastings* position im- 
proved — His intercourse with the King of Delhi — De- 
parture of Impey and Mrs. Hastings — The Governor- 
GeneraFs last tour to Banaras and Lucknow — Results 
of Turner's mission to Bhutan — The Shahzada of 
Delhi — Hastings* letters to his wife — His return to 
Calcutta — He prepares to resign office — Honours and 
rewards conferred on the troops — His patronage of Art 
and learning — The Calcutta **Madrasa" — Death of 
Cleveland — Hastings' last acts — His departure 
home . . . ► . .... 270 


Chapter I. — Hastings' reception in England — Visits 
to the country — Negociations for the purchase of 
Daylesford — Burke prepares his articles of impeach- 
ment — Hastings heard in his own defence — Failure 
of the Rohilla Charge — Pitt's support of the Banaras 
Charge — Probable cause of his unfriendly conduct — 


Hastings at home— Active efforts of his friends on his 
behalf — Sheridan opens the charge concerning the 
Oudh Begams — Impeachment of Hastings before the 
Lords — Francis excluded from the management of the 
trial — Hastings prepares for his defence — Impeach- 
ment of Sir E. Impey — His successftd defence — First 
day of Hastings' Trial — His appearance in West- 
minster Hall — Burke's opening speech — His savage 
abuse of Hastings — Sheridan on the Begam Charge — 
Hastings' home pursuits . . . , . • 290 

Chapter II. — Hastings as he appeared to a contem- 
porary — Slow progress of the Impeachment — Course 
of events in Europe — Improvements at Daylesford — 
Close of the Impeachment — Scene in Westminster 
Hall — Acquittal of Hastings — His pecuniary straits 
— Pensiun granted him by the India House — Con- 
gratulatory letters and addresses — ^Tokens of native 
sympathy, how far genuine — Hastings' life at Dayles- 
ford — His courtesy — His simple diet — His literary 
tastes — His liking for Scott — His good horsemanship 
Correspondence with young D'Oyley . . .310 

Chapter III — Hastings again in difliculties — Further 
relief granted by the Court of Directors — His inter- 
view with Addington — Macaulay's misconstruction of 
it — ^Addington's reasons for resigning — Hastings dis- 
bands his volunteers — His anxiety on Impey's account 
— His friendship for young Elijah Impey. Death of 
Hastings Impey and his father — Meeting of Sheridan 
and Hastings — Interview with the Prince of Wales 
and Lord Moira — Disappointing results — Hastings' 
care of John D'Oyley — His sympathy with sorrowing 
firiends — His good abvice to Charles D'Oyley — Disap- 
pointment of Francis — ^Lord Minto as Governor- 
General of India — Lord Wellesley learns to appreciate 
Hastings — Points of likeness in their careers . .328 

Chapter IV — Hastings emerges from his retirement — 
Parliament discusses the renewal of the Company's 


Charter — Hastings appears as a witness for the Com- 
pany — His flattering reception by both Houses — 
Nature of his evidence — His partial change of opinion 
— The Charter Act of 1813 — Hastings made a D.C.L. 
of Oxford — ^Applause of the undergraduates — Renewal 
of his pension for life — becomes a Privy Councillor^ 
Accompanies the Prince Regent to Oxford in 1 814 — 
The Guildhall Banquet — The Princes flattering pro- 
mises — The banquets to the Duke of Wellington — 
Hastings' health drunk by the Court of Directors — 
He returns to Daylesford — Proposed erection of a 
statue in his honour . • . . . .352 

Chapter V. — Signs of failing health — Hastings' reflec- 
tions on Bonaparte — He regrets England's treatment 
of her prisoner — His comments on the Nepal ese War 
— Lord Hastings and the Marathas — Rebuilding of 
the church at Daylesford — Signs of mental decay — 
Hastings' letters to his friends — His last visit to 
London — Speculations on various subjects — Progress 
of his last illness — His sufierings — Last appeal to tha 
Court of Directors — His Death and burial — Retro- 
spect of his career 366 



"the child is fatheb of the man." 

One of the greatest names, if not the very 
greatest, in the annals of British India is that of 
Warren Hastings, who for thirteen years ruled 
over the provinces which British valour had lately 
won for the East India Company. The story of 
his troubled yet glorious career has been told at 
ftdl length by Mr. Gleig, and summarised in 
glowing language by Lord Macaulay ; to say 
nothing of the place he fills in every history of 
British India, from that of James Mill to the more 
succinct and impartial narrative of Mr. Marshman. 
But Mr. Gleig's biography, however rich in 
sterling value, has few attractions for the mass of 
readers in these days, while Macaulay's femous 



essay has charmed the world with a picture in 
which the lights and shadows are distributed with 
more regard for scenic effect than for historic 
justice. The wrong done to Hastings during his 
lifetime by Burke and other tools of his worst foe, 
Sir PhiUp Francis, has been heightened by the 
wrong which the most popular of English essay- 
ists, following in the steps of Mill, has inflicted 
upon his memory. For one reader of Mr. Gleig's 
volumes, Macaulay's essay coimts scores. In 
aiming to correct the prevailing estimate of a 
statesman whose rule, according to Mill himself, 
was " popular both with his countrymen and the 
natives in Bengal," the present writer may seem 
to be attempting an Herculean task. In the 
interests of truth, however, and of fair play to one 
whose fe/ults were few compared with his many 
virtues and his great public services, he is deter- 
mined to dare the venture, let the result be what 
it may. 

Warren Hastings was bom at Churchill, a 
village in Oxfordshire, on the 6th of December, 
1732. His mother, who died but a few days 
after his birth, was daughter of a Mr. Warren, 
who owned a small estate near Twining in 


Gloucestershire. Her husband, Pynaston Hast- 
ings, was a boy of fifteen when he married Hester 
Warren ; and a hard struggle for life the young 
couple seem to have had during the two years 
which elapsed before the birth of Warren, their 
second child. Pynaston himself was the younger 
of two sons bom to their father, the Rector of 
Daylesford in Worcestershire, a poor clergyman 
who made himself still poorer by carrjdng on a 
ruinous lawsuit about tithes with the neigh-? 
bouring squire. 

Beyond the fact of his fatherhood to so great 
a son, Pynaston did nothing worthy of remem- 
brance. Leaving his motherless babes to the 
care of their impoverished grandfather, who had 
now been driven to accept a curacy at Churchill, 
Pynaston went off to seek his fortune elsewhere. 
Lost to sight for a while, like a river flowing 
underground, he re-appears at Gloucester, married 
to a butcher's daughter. A little later he entered 
the Church and went out to one of the West 
Indian islands, where he died. Such is the 
meagre record which his own children cared to 
perpetuate of a parent to whom they owed so 

Amidst circumstances so unpromising did poor 


little Warren Hastings begin the world. Poverty 
and neglect seemed to mark for their own the 
descendant of an old English family whose origin 
may perhaps be traced to the Danish sea-king 
whom Alfred after long struggle overthrew. Be 
that as it may, it is certain that one of Warren's 
forefiithers held in the days of Henry II. that 
manor of Daylesford in Worcestershire, which 
Pynaston's grandfather, Samuel Hastings, 
sold in 1715 to a London merchant. To one 
branch of the same family belonged Lord 
Hastings, the brave and faithful chamberlain of 
the fourth Edward, and the luckless victim of 
Richard III., who requited his loyalty to 
Edward's children by cutting off his head 
From another branch sprang the Earls of Pem- 
broke of the fourteenth century, whose title was 

derived from the marriage of John Hastings with 
the heiress of Aymer de Valence, one of the 
great nobles who helped to put down Edward the 
Second's overweening favourite. Piers Gavaston. 
It was Earl John's son who fought in Spain under 
the Black Prince, and was taken prisoner with 
all his army by Henry of Castile, in the wars 
between Henry and his brother, Peter the Cruel. 
The fiimily of the iU-starred Chamberlain received 


from a Tudor sovereign the Earldom of Hunting- 
don, which, says Macaulay, "after long dis- 
possession was regained in our time by a series 
of events scarcely parallelled in romance/'* 

In the course of time the owners of Daylesford, 
who represented the oldest branch of the femily, 
fixed their chief residence at Yelford, near 
Bampton, in Oxfordshire. Here, at the out- 
break of the Civil War, lived John Hastings, a 
gallant gentlemen who proved his loyalty to 
Charles I. not only in the field, but by the help 
he gave him in other ways ; raising money by 
the sale of his plate and the mortgage of his 
lands, until he was fain to rescue himself from 
utter ruin by making over his Yelford estates to 
Speaker Lenthal, who ruled the House of Com- 
mons in the days of the great Protector Cromwell. 
The decaying manor-house at Daylesford still 
gave shelter to its impoverished owners, until 
that too, as we have shown, passed as it seemed 
for ever into other hands. 

Under his grandfether's care, little Warren 

* The Barony of Hastings fell by marriage to the Earl of 
Moira in the.latter part of the eighteenth century. But it was 
not till 1SI9 that the earldom of Huntingdon, after a suspension 
of more than 300 years, was recovered oy fVancis Hastmgs, as 
descendant of the second EarL 


spent the first years of his childhood, with the 
village children for his playmates, and the village 
school for his fount of learning. That he " took 
his learning kindly," his old schoolfellows loved 
to tell of him in after days ; and his natural 
quickness may have been sharpened by the stories 
which he heard at home of the wealth, the great- 
ness, the brave deeds, and splendid hospitalities 
of his own forefathers. Child as he was, he 
loved to lie beside the margin of a small stream 
which skirted the village of Churchill, and muse 
on the difference between things past and present. 
"There," as many yearns afterwards he told a 
friend, " one bright summer's day, when I was 
scarcely seven year's old, I well remember that I 
first formed the determination to purchase back 
Daylesford." That dream, however wild it 
might seem then, or at any time thereafter, never 
faded from his resolute soul. In the darkest 
hours of a long life of storm and hard struggle, 
that beacon-fire never ceased to shine along his 

When he was about eight years old, young 
Warren seems to have passed under the care of 
his uncle Howard, Pjniaston's elder brother, a 
steady-going clerk in the Customs, who placed 


him at school at Newington Butts, near London. 
Here he remained for two years, half starved but 
not ill taught. From Newington he was removed 
to Westminster, then ruled by Dr. Nichols, who 
numbered among his masters the scholarly and 
well-beloved Vincent Bourne. Among Warren's 
new schoolfellows were .Churchill, . the elder 
Colman, Cowper, Lord Shelbume, and Elijah 
Impey, all of whom were destined in different 
ways to make some figure in the world. With 
some of these, especially the gentle bard of Ohaey 
and the fixture Chief Justice of Bengal, the new 
boy erelong formed a friendship which never 
afterwards died out. Both Impey and Cowper 
were older than himself, and both seem to have 
been apt scholars in the polite learning of their 
day. But Warren, whose eager spirit was 
clothed in a slight and somewhat delicate body, 
soon learned to handle an oar and to write Latin 
verse as deftly as any young fellow of his own 
standing. In swimming and "skiffing" he espe- 
cially delighted, in preference to the more violent 
pastimes enjoyed by healthier and stronger boys. 
His gentle manners and sweet temper helped to 
mske him popular with his schoolfellows, while 


his diligence and learning drew forth many a 
word of praise from Dr. Nichols himself.* 

The purpose which the child of seven had 
conceived at Churchill, was not forgotten, we may 
be sure, at Westminster. In his fifteenth year, 
Warren's natural cleverness, backed by the per- 
severance in which clever boys are often wanting, 
won for him the first place on the list of King's 
Scholars admitted to the foimdation in that year ; 
Impey himself standing fourth. To a King's 
Scholar of fair abilities, the road to success at one 
of the great Universities lay invitingly open. 
But Warren was not destined to take that road. 

He was steadily working his way upwards at Col- 
lege, as the foundation at Westminster is caQed, 

when the death of his good uncle Howard gave 

a new turn to his worldly prospects. His new 

guardian, Mr. Ch is wick, a distant relative, to 

whose care his uncle had bequeathed him, made 

* Notliing could well have been wider of the mark than 
Macaulay's random guess that " whenever Hastings wished to 
play any trick more than usually naughty, he hired Impey with 
a ball or a tart to act as a fag in the worst part of the prank." 
The very contrary would be nearer the truth. In those days, 
it was Hastings who looked up to Impev, not Impey who 
fawned upon Hastings. See " Memoirs of Sir Elijah inpey, 
by his son," p. 6. 


up his mind to send young Hastings out to India 
as a " writer " in the service of the East India 

In vain did the worthy Dr. Nichols plead hard 
against the proposed withdrawal of a scholar in 
whom he avowed a just pride. He even offered 
to educate at his own charge the fiivourite pupil 
whose success at College would redound, he 
frankly said, to his own credit. But the East 
India Director turned to all such pleadings a 
deaf ear. Towards the end of 1749, about two 
years after he had become a King's Scholar, 
Hastings parted from his many friends at West- 
minster to study book-keeping and accounts 
under a private tutor. In January, 1750, he set 
sail for Calcutta in company with several other 
youths destined for the same career. In those 
days, a voyage to India round the Cape took gene- 
rally more months than it now takes weeks by 
the Suez Canal. The good ship London exceeded 
even the average limit of six months, for it was 
not till the first days of October that Hastings 
landed, lonely but high-hearted, on the scene of 
his future struggles and final renown. Of what 
he did or felt on that tedious voyage, Mr. Gleig 
can tell us nothing ; but it may be assumed that 


these weary months were not passed in utter idle- 
ness by the youth whose dreams at Churchill had 
borne him company through years of profitable 
work at Westminster. That dreamy turn of 
mind, which so often unfits a man for the hard 
realities of his daily lot, seemed to act upon 
Warren Hastings, as it did upon Luther and 
Cromwell, like a powerful tonic, steeling his 
heart against all discouragements, and spurring 
him on to yet bolder efibrts, with its never-feiling 
visions of the success to come. 


1750— 1T63. 

When Hastings landed in India he was not quite 
eighteen years old, and the famous Oompany 
whose service he had entered was still, to all 
seeming, little more than a chartered body of 
" merchants trading to the East Indies." For a 
century and a-half from its birth in 1600 down 
to the year 1750, that Company had played the 
part of a busy trader, on such conditions as the 
jealousy of rival merchants and the prudence or 
the greed of native rulers might allow. At 
Surat, Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, and a few 
other places on the coast or up the great rivers, 
the Company's servants carried on a trade which, 
spite of Jtoward checks and interruptions; 
brought much profit aUke to their masters and 
themselves. The task of upholding their 
chartered monopoly against "interlopers" from 
England in the days of Charles I. and Cromwell 
had grown Ughter with the return of the Stuart 
dynasty to powen With the cession of Bombay 


by Charles II. and the new rights lately secured 
to it by a new charter from the Crown, the 
Company continued to enlarge its trade, to found 
new settlements ; to win by prayers, or gifts, or 
timely services, fresh powers and privileges from 
the officers of the Great Moghal. Its earliest 
forts at Madras and Surat had been built for the 
protection of its factories alone. The successftd 
defence of Surat in 1664 taught Sivaji and his 
Marathas a lasting lesson of respect for English 
valour, and earned from the politic Aurangzib 
a large remission of the. duties hitherto levied on 
the Company's trade with that port. 

In the twenty years that followed the Restora- 
tion the Company's Indian trade grew in value 
from £100,000 to a million sterling a year. 
Then came a time of wantonness and armed 
aggression, when the Company's servants in 
Bombay and Bengal, with the help of an English 
fleet and English soldiers, defied the might of 
Aurangzib, one of the ablest and most powerful 
princes of Babar's Imperial line. In spite of 
some partial successes at sea, the Company's for- 
times suffered for some years a perilous eclipse. 
But Aurangzib had no mind to press too hard 
on the turbulent traders who increased his 


revenue and brought wealth to his subjects ; nor 
did it suit him to wage a lingering war with foes 
who might still blockade his ports, and seize 
Indian vessels laden with merchandise, or worse 
still, with Mussulman pilgrims bound for Mecca. 
The East India Directors also, having learned 
with the loss of nearly all their factories to see 
the folly of their late doings, were now humbly 
suing for the peace which the Moghal Emperor 
was not slow to grant. In 1690 the forfeit fac- 
tories were restored to their late owners, and Job 
Chamock once more hoisted his country's flag at 
Chatanatti, one of the three villages which after- 
wards grew into the capital of British India. 

From that time for more than half a century 
the Company's servants in India kept clear of all 
perilous embroilments with the ruling powers. 
The old plague of interlopers, licensed and un- 
licensed, continued to vex them for a few years 
longer, and a new Company threatened for a 
moment to extinguish the old. But fortune still 
smiled upon the latter. In the first year of 
Queen Anne the rival Companies merged into 
one whose sole aim for many years afterwards 
was to increase its dividends and guard its own 
interests, amidst the clash of arms in either Con- 


tinent, and the peaceful rivalry of Dutch, French, 
and other traders from the west. 

Guarded by the guns of Fort William, the new 
settlement grew and prospered in the troublous 
days that followed the death of Aurangzib. 
Neither the exactions of an imfriendly Viceroy 
in Bengal,* nor the raids of plundering Maratha 
horsemen, availed to hinder the steady growth of 
a trade which the Viceroy's own officers found 
their profit in forthering, while the English 
entrenchments on the Hughli became an isle of 
shelter for thousands of natives flying, whether 
from Moghal oppression or Maratha greed. Nor 
did the wars that divided Europe ruffle the 
smooth course of our Indian trade. While Marl- 
borough was beating the French in Flanders and 
on the Rhine, while " dapper little " George II. 
was adding at Dettingen to the laurels he had 
won at Oudenarde, the French and English mer- 
chants on the Hughli and the Coromandel coast 
still followed in peace the business which had 
brought them so many thousand miles away from 
their cool western homes. 

But events were about to happen which would 

• Murshid Kuli Khan, Subhadar or Viceroy of Bengal from 
1702 to 1725, founded the city of Murshidabad. 


give a new turn to the destinies of the rival 
nations in India. In 1744 France and England 
took opposite sides in the war of the Austrian 
Succession. While English soldiers under the 
Duke of Cumberland were bravely losing the ' 
battle of Fontenoy, an English fleet was worrying 
French commerce by sea ; and Pondicherry 
iti^elf, then governed by the bold and able 
Dupleix, was threatened with capture by Com- 
modore Barnet. Anwar-ud-din, the Nawdb of 
the Camatic, stepped between the French and 
impending disaster, under a show of friendliness 
for both his neighbours. But when the fiery 
I^abourdonnais, fresh from his repulse of an Eng- 
lish squadron, seized the moment for his long- 
planned attack upon Madras, the value of the 
Nawdb's professions was but too clearly seen. 
On the 18th September, 1746, the French bat- 
teries opened fire on a weak fort defended by 
three hundred Englishmen, of whom only two- 
thirds were soldiers. Three days later the gar- 
rison surrendered, and Madras for a time was 
wiped out of the list of English settlements in 
India. By the end of that year Fort St. David 
was the only possession left to the East India 
Company on the Coromandel coast. 


From that time forth the English, at least in 
Southern India, are driven, rather by circum- 
stances than of set design, to further the ends of 
their commercial being by other methods than 
trade alone. At the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 
1749, Madras was surrendered back into their 
hands. But Europe was a long way off, and 
the genius of Dupleix was already foundmg in 
Southern India a power which threatened the 
well-being, if not the very existence of his Eng- 
lish rivals. With a few hundred Frenchmen and f 
Sepoys* trained on the French pattern, his officers 
had beaten many times their own number of 
native troops led by native commanders. The 
English also began to drill their own Sepoys, to 
strengthen their defences, to seek allies among 
neighbouring princes, and to make their quarrels 
a means of gaining fresh advantages for them- 
selves. In the wars which followed the death of 
Nizdm-ul-Mulk, the long-lived founder of a king- 
dom in the Dakhan, still partly ruled by his 
descendants, the soldiers of the rival Companies 
were always to be found fighting on opposite sides ; 
and the hero of Arkot gave rich promise of the 
greatness afterwards achieved by the victor of 
Plassy and the virtual conqueror of Bengal. 

* More correctly Sipdhis, from Sipah, an army. 


Thus far, however, the strife between the two 
nations had not extended to the settlements on 
the Hughli. When young Hastings landed at 
Calcutta in the cooler weather that followed the 
rainy season of 1750, he found his countrymen 
still employed in balancing accounts, in making 
bargams with "Gentoo'' merchants, and in 
shipping off to England the muslins, silks, 
shawls, cotton, ivory, spices, gold and silver 
ornaments, which passed through their hands. 
In those days the rich and populous province of 
Bengal was ruled by Aliverdi Khan, a wise and 
able Viceroy, who encouraged trade with the 
foreigners, and did his best to guard his people 
from the raids of those ubiquitous Marathas, who 
were already tearing to pieces the wide empire 
of the Moghals. 

In Calcutta Hastings spent the first three years 
of his Indian service. The Company's servants 
were then divided into four classes. The writers, 
among whom he was now enrolled, had to con- 
duct the smaller details of business, to keep the 
ledgers, and to look after the warehouses which 
held the goods collected by a stajBf of native 
agents, or gomdshtas^ and their underlings of 
various grades. After five years, the writer 



became a factor, who discharged similar duties 
with somewhat higher powers. Three years of 
this service raised the factor into a "junior mer- 
chant," who after three more years passed into 
the grade of " senior merchants." From these 
last were chosen the members of council, the 
heads of factories, the chief officers of revenue 
and justice, the "political agents" at native 
courts, and even the governors of the three Pre- 
sidencies, into which the Company's settlemencs 
had already been grouped. 

Of the years which Hastings passed in the 
Secretary's Office at Calcutta, nothing seems to 
be known for certain. That he worked hard and 
lived uprightly, amidst many temptations to idle- 
ness and self-seeking, may be taken for granted. 
His taste for learning may have sharpened his 
desire to study the native languages as a means 
of rising in his new world ; but the progress 
made by him in those studies can be measured 
only by our knowledge of the use to which he 
turned the fruits of such labours in after days. 
His pay at this time — five pounds a year — ^would 
barely have sufficed for the wants of an Indian 
Sepoy, or a very poor and thrifty husbandman in 
Bengal. His " commons," however, were found 

THE company's SERVANTS. 19 

him by the Company, who further treated theu* 
ill-paid servants to a yearly grant of Madeira 
from their own stores. Five pounds a year could 
not go very far even towards the paying of a 
writer's house-rent, and the young men of that 
day were sometimes driven to seek their beds 
soon after the early sunset of Bengal, because 
they could ill afford the luxury of a candle or 
a supper. But the Company's servants were 
allowed, indeed expected to eke out their sorry 
pittances with the profits of their private trade ; 
and so rich a field had thus been opened to some 
of them, that complaints were already heard in 
England of the extravagance of young fellows 
who sat down to dinner with a band of music, 
and rode about in a carriage and four.* As 
Warren Hasting was neither greedy, nor corrupt, 
the amount of his earnings from private trade 
must have left him little room for such reckless 
spending, even if he had any great turn that 

* The pay of the factors was £15 a year ; that of the junior 
merchants, £30, and of the members of council £40, while even 
the President or Governor had no more than £300. 



In October, 1753, Hastings was ordered up to 
the factory at Kdsimbazar on the Bhagirathi, at 
that time the busy trading suburb of Murshid- 
abad. Among the silk- weavers of that place, and 
the shrewd native middlemen who helped them 
to keep their shuttles going, and to bring the 
produce of their looms to an English market, he 
discharged his new duties with such steady skill, 
that within two years he found himself promoted 
to a seat in the council of the factory. 

But the even tenour of his life was soon to be 
ruffled by a storm which altered the whole course 
of English affairs in India. In January, 1756, 
the aged Aliverdi Khan breathed his last, and 
his favourite grandson, the cruel, profligate, self- 
willed Suraj-ad-daula, filled his place. A new 
Viceroy, who cared nothing for the English 
reigned in Bengal. It was not long before Suraj- 
ad-daula had picked a quarrel with the Governor 
of Calcutta. Mr. Drake was ordered to sur- 


render the refugee son of a wealthy Hindu officer, 
and to demoUsh the new defences he was said to 
have raised around Fort William. In vain he 
pleaded that the ramparts had merely been re- 
paired against a possible attack from his French 
neighbours, and that honour forbade his yielding 
up a fugitive who claimed his protection. The 
imperious Subhadar at once began his march 
upon Calcutta, with the troops he had gathered 
for the chastisement of a rebellious vassal in 

What followed must be told in the fewest 
words. At the first sight of an army 50,000 
strong a great panic seized upon our countrjnnen 
in Calcutta. On the 19th of June a general rush 
of men, women and children to seek shelter on 
board the EngUsh ships m the river was crowned 
by the flight of Mr. Drake and the Commandant 
himself of Fort William. For two days the 
small garrison, thus shamefiilly abandoned, held 
out under Mr. Holwell, with bootless courage and 
ever-waning strength, against the doom which the 
captains of the vessels in the river made no effort 
to avert. At last the soldiers, worn out with 
heat and watching, broke into the liquor stores. 
Amidst the ensuing drunkenness and disorder, 


while Holwell was parle3mig with the enemy, 
some of the Nawab's soldiers rushed into the 
fort and in a few minutes all its surviving 
defenders had fallen into the hands of their 
dreaded conqueror. 

Then came the memorable tragedy of the 
Black Hole. In one of the hottest, sultriest 
nights of the Bengal year, with the air yet 
further heated by the blaze of burning ware- 
houses, a hundred and forty-six wretches, 
including more than one woman, were shut up 
in an old guard-room barely eighteen feet square, 
pierced by two small windows strongly barred. 
What they suflfered during that night of slow 
torture Holwell himself has told us in language 
powerfully simple as that of Defoe. Enough 
here to say that, next morning twenty-two men 
and one woman crawled out of that den of 
noisomeness into the air of a new day, looking 
hardly more alive than the dead they left behind 

It is only fair to Suraj-ad-daula to add that 
this deed of hellish cruelty was neither ordered 
by himself, nor prompted by any instructions left 
with the officers into whose hands the prisoners 
were made over. The tragedy was enacted while 


he slept, and when the survivors were brought 
before him, Holwell alone and four others were 
sent off in irons to Murshidabad ; the woman to 
adorn his harem, and the men as hostages for the 
extraction of more plunder. The rest were 
allowed to make their way to Falta, a barren 
island near the mouth of the Hughli, where 
Drake and his fellow-runaways were awaiting the 
issue of an appeal for help to their countrymen at 

The ruthless conqueror of Calcutta lost no 
time in reaping the full fruits of his success. 
Every English factory in Bengal was seized and 
plundered, and Hastings among others found 
himself a prisoner at Murshidabad. It was not 
the Viceroy's policy to kill the victims of his 
greed, and Hastings for one remained a ^prisoner 
at large on bail offered by the head of a neigh- 
bouring Dutch factory. Aniidst the dangers and 
discouragements of that dark hour he kept his 
head clear and his hands ready for such work as 
might still devolve upon him. His opportunity 
soon came. Famine threatened the fugitives at 
Falta, whose appeal to Madras had not yet been 
answered. In their despair they turned to 
Hastings as a means of softening the Viceroy's 


heart. He chose his own time and methods for 
canying out their wishes; but erelong the 
opening of a bazdr or native market rewarded his 
efforts to save the Falta party from dying of 
sheer hunger. 

By that time the fainting hearts of Drake's 
followers were cheered with prospects of relief 
from another quarter. Kilpatrick's arrival at 
Falta with a small body of troops from Madras, 
if it had shortened their supplies of food, had 
prepared them to look for the coming of larger 
reinforcements in due time. It was not till 
August that the disasters at Calcutta were made 
known to the English at Madras. With mingled 
feelings of horror, wrath, and dismay was the 
news received ; but the cry for action prompt 
and vigorous overbore all weaker counsels, and it 
only remained to get ready an armament strong 
enough to exact due vengeance for the past 

It took two months, however, not so much to 
prepare the armament as to choose for it the 
fittest leader and to define his proper powers. 
The Governor himself was quite ready 'to take 
the command if his colleagues could only have 
discovered his fitness for such a post. In default 


of the veteran Lawrence, disabled for the duty 
by feUing health, the choice of the Madras 
Council at last fell unon his best subaltern, the 
brave young Colonel Clive,* whose brilliant 
defence of Arkot five years before had stamped 
him as a master of his art, and who had just 
gained fresh renown from his victories over the 
pirate chiefs in the Kankan. Robert Clive had 
gone out as a writer to Madras in 1744, had 
manfully borne his part in the vain defence of 
that settlement two years afterwards, and had 
escaped in disguise fi*om the captured stronghold 
to Fort St. David. Exchanging the desk for the 
drill-ground, young Clive proved his soldiership 
imder Major Lawrence in the successfiil defence 
of Fort St. David, in Boscawen's bootless siege of 
Pondicherry, in the capture of Devikatta, and in 
the later campaigns provoked by the ambition 
and ended by the recal of Dupleix. 

On every occasion Clive bore himself like a 
fighting Englishman ; but the special qualities of 
a great captain were first displayed by him in 
1751, when he persuaded the Governor of 

* Orme, the eloquent historian of our early wars in India 
was then a member of the Madras Council, and voted warmly 
for Clive. 


Madras to let him save Trichinopoly by a bold 
dash against Arkot, then held by the troops of 
Chanda Sahib, the new-made Nawab of the 
Camatic. With five hundred Englishmen and 
Sepoys, three guns and a few officers, mostly 
untried in war, he made his way through rain 
and storm to the gates of Arkot. Struck with 
panic at the sight of men whom even a heavy 
thunderstorm could not keep back, the garrison 
fled, and Clive inarched into the fort. The event 
justified his forecast and clinched his fame as a 
bold yet trustworthy commander. For seven 
weeks his small garrison defied the attacks of ten 
thousand native troops aided by a powerful 
battering-train. On the fiftieth day of the siege 
one last tremendous effort was made to storm a 
weak stronghold defended now by only 320 
fighting men. But Clive commanded them, and 
under his eye each man fought like twenty* 
Clive himself had to work one of his own field- 
pieces, while the men in front kept firing off 
their muskets as fast as those behind could load 
them. Thrice were the swarms of loud-shouting 
assailants flung back from the very arms of seem- 
ing victory, before any rest from that day-long 
struggle came at last to Clive and his wearied 


Next morning Rdjah Sahib withdrew his shat- 
tered forces towards Vell6r, and ere long the 
hero of Arkot was leading his reinforced columns 
to fresh victories oVer French and native foes. 
The relief of Trichinopoly by Major Lawrence 
and Captain Clive crowned the heroic defence of 
Arkot. Law himself, the French commander 
who was presently to fight against us in Bengal, 
surrendered at discretion, with all his troops, 
stores, and forty-one guns. The war in the Car- 
natic lingered on for two years ; but Clive himself, 
after a few more feats of good soldiership, went 
home to England to recruit his health, to spend 
his prize-money like a prince, and to win his 
way, if he could, into the House of Commons. 

Foiled in the last-named purpose, and only too 
successful in getting rid of his money. Colonel 
Clive was glad to return to India in 1755 as 
Governor of Fort St David. He landed at 
Bombay in good time to join Admiral Watson 
in the siege and capture of Giriah, the main 
stronghold of the pirate chief Angria on the 
Western coast. The news of the Black Hole 
disaster found him at Fort St. David, free and 
ready to aid in repairing the ruined fortunes of 
his countrymen in Bengal. By the middle of 


September, 1756, the refugees at Falta were 
gladdened by the arrival of the fleet, which 
Admiral Watson had led two months before out 
of the Madras Roads. 

Among those who hailed the long-expected 
succours was Warren Hastings, who had fled 
to Falta jfrom Murshidabad on finding his safety 
imperilled by the part he took in some secret cor- 
respondence between Drake and certain leaders 
of a plot against the Viceroy in his own capital. 
Whether from a sense of duty, or jfrom a young 
man's eagerness for active work under a leader of 
Olive's renown, Hastings shouldered his musket, 
and shared as a volunteer in the capture of 
Bajbaj, and in Olive's victorious march upon 
Oalcutta.* On the 2nd January, 1757, he saw 
the English colours once more flying over the 
ramparts of Fort William, and about a month 
later he bore his part in that daring attack on 
Suraj-ad-daula's camp, which first inspired the 
boastful despot of Bengal with a wholesome 
respect for English prowess. 

It was not in arms, however, that Hastings 
was to win his special renown. Olive had 

• He formed one of a separate volunteer company, consisting 
of Bengal Civil Servants and other English refugees. 


already found him a trusty agent in his attempts 
to treat with Suraj-ad-daula. The negotiations 
begun in January, were resumed to better pur- 
pose after the Viceroy's hasty retreat jfrom the 
neighbourhood of Calcutta* The demands he 
had once rejected were soon granted by the 
crestfallen Nawdb, and before the middle of 
February a treaty had been signed which not 
only compensated the English for most of their 
recent losses, but empowered them to fortify 
Calcutta aud coin money in their own mint. 

By this time Hastings was already a married 
man. During his brief sojourn at Falta, he had 
seen, wooed, and won to wife the widow of a 
Captain Campbell, who a few months before had 
arrived at Falta on his way out from Englaud.* 
What sort of woman was this first wife of Hast- 
ings, how the two passed their few years of 
wedded life together, Mr. Gleig, after much 
searching, could not ascertain. All we know is 
that Mrs. Hastings died at Kdsimbazdr, not long 
after the birth of her second child, who was pre- 
sently to follow his mother out of the world, which 
his elder sister had quitted after nineteen days. 

• Such is the inference I gather from Broome's " History ot 
the Bengal Army," Chap. I., p. 72. 


Meanwhile things were happening which paved 
the way for Hastings' future greatness. It was 
known in Calcutta that France and England were 
again at war ; and there was but too good reason 
to fear that Suraj-ad-daula, in spite of his new 
alliance with his English neighbours, was already 
seeking French aid for their destruction. His 
intrigues with Law and Bussy certainly looked 
that way, and his attempt to stop a hostile move- 
ment against the French settlement of Chandar- 
nagar, was readily construed by the the Calcutta 
Council to the same effect. Be that as it may — 
and in those days the web of Indian politics was 
more hopelessly tangled than ever — the arrival of 
succours from Bombay and Madras emboldened 
the English in Bengal to grasp the nettle danger 
without more ado. The treaty with the French 
was cut short ; Clive and Watson opened fire 
upon the defences of Chandamagar ; and in a 
few days, before the angry Viceroy had marched 
far to its relief, our troops had become masters 
of the foremost French possession in Bengal. 

Erelong a plot for the dethronement of Suraj- 
ad-daula was quietly brewing at Calcutta and 
Murshidabad. The wretched Viceroy, conscious 
of impending evil, knew not whom to trust, nor 


whence to seek help against his many foes. At 
one moment he was imploring Bussy to hasten 
up to his rescue, at another he was sending the 
most civil messages to CUve, the man of all others 
he most dreaded. At the head of the Murshid- 
abad plotters was Mir Jdfar, his own commander- 
in-Chief, a brother-in-law of AUverdi Khan. His 
minister of finance, and Jaggat Sett, the fore- 
most banker of Bengal, were in the plot. Clive's 
strong will and reckless daring overbore! the 
scruples of his colleagues in the council, and with 
their help the plot grew and prospered. What 
part Hastings took in it does not plainly appear ; 
but we may take it for granted that Watts's ablest 
subaltern at Kdsimbazdr was called into counsel 
over a matter which so nearly concerned himself. 

At last, when all seemed ripe for action, Clive, 
in the burning month of June, led out his little 
army from Chandarnagar, on that famous enter- 
prise which was to make the East India Company 
virtual masters of the largest, richest, and most 
populous province of the old Moghal Empire. 

The victory of Plassy on the 23rd June, 1757, 
threw the future of India, as it were, into English 
hands. A few days later, Clive marched into 
Murshidabad, and installed the successful traitor, 


Mir Jafar, on the vacant masnad of Bengal. 
The seizure and death of the fugitive Suraj-ad- 
daula completed Mir Jdfar's good fortune. Mind- 
ful of Hastings' past services, the victx)r of Plassy 
sent him on special duty to Murshidabad, or, as 
the English then called it, Muxadavad. Some 
months later, when Clive became Governor of 
Fort William, Hastings succeded Scrafton as 
Kesident at the court of the new Nawdb. 



Hastings' new office was no sinecure. As Resi- 
dent at Murshidabad, he had to watch over the 
well-being of the English party at Kasimbazdr ; 
to see that Mir Jafar fulfilled his engagements 
with the Calcutta Council ; to keep the peace, if 
he could, between the new Nawab and his chief 
officers ; to discover and thwart the numerous 
intrigues which that time of general disorder, 
distrust, and ferment brought to an easy birth. 
It was not long before Mir Jdfar Khan began to 
plot against Rai Dulab Ram, and some other 
Hindu nobles, whose wealth might enable him to 
replenish a treasury exhausted by the payments 
due to his English friends as the price of his own 
elevation to the throne of Bengal. 

For a time Hastings seems to have misread the 
real drift of the Nawdb's relations with Dulab 
Rdm, the head of a powerful family of bankers 
and financiers named Sett. One evening in 
August, 1758, a number of Sepoys forced their 



way into the Nawab's palace, clamouring loudly 
for their long withheld arrears of pay. To Hast- 
ings this was represented as a plot brewed by 
Dulab Ram against his master's life, and as such 
he repeated it to Clive himself. But his shrewd 
chief had not threaded the mazes of Indian 
roguery in vain^ " You have not yet been long 
enough at the Durbar," * he writes to Hastings, 
"to make yourself acquainted with the dark 
designs of the Mussulmans. The moment I 
perused your letter, I could perceive a design in 
the Nabob and those about him against Roy 
Doolub, and you may be assured what is alleged 
against him and his letters to Coja Huddee is a 
forgery from beginning to end. Roy Doolub is 
not such a fool as to give anything under his own 
hand." Besides, he would never dare to intrigue 
against a prince of our own selecting, with the 
knowledge that his own fate was in Olive's hands. 
" How easy is it," exclaims the writer, with pos- 
sible reference to his own success in that line,f 

* Durbar, or rather Darhdr, answers to our " Court," For 
this letter of Olive's, see " Gleig's Life of Hastings," Vol. 1., 
Chap. iv. 

t The reader may remember that Clive had forged the signa- 
ture of his colleague. Admiral Watson, to one copy of the treaty 
with Mir Jafar, for the purpose of deceiving the traitor, Amin 


" to counterfeit hands and seals in this country ! 
and the Moors in general are villains enough to 
undertake anything which may benefit themselves 
at another's expense." Clive looks in short upon 
the whole matter as a plan to exasperate him 
against Dulab Rdm, in order that tibe Nawdb 
"may have the plucking of him of all his 

The letters which passed at this time between 
Clive and Hastings, bring out clearly enough the 
relation in which they stood to each other, and 
the spirit in which they worked together. Chve's 
imperious will, and keen, rough, ready under- 
standing, flash out in short pithy sentences of 
advice, explanation, or command. His letters go 
straight to the point in the fewest possible words. 
Hastings writes rather more lengthily, with a 
more studied elegance of phrase, with the defer- 
ence due to higher rank and older experience, 
and yet with a frankness equal to his chiefs. 
Clive tells Hastings to be " a little severe in ex- 
acting the remainder of the last sixth. It is the 
nature of these people to do nothing through 
inclination. Ten sepoys or chokeys, now and 
then, will greatly expedite the payment of the 
money." Hastings promises to " use all possible 


means," for collecting the money, but Clive 
'' must be sensible there is a wide diflference 
between securing the payments due from a large 
amount, and that of collecting in several smal 
balances remaining on old accounts." 

In another letter, Hastings complains of one 
Nand Kumar's seeming, insolence in meddling 
with affairs, the whole management of which lay, 
he thought, in his own hands. This is the first 
time that a name, which was afterwards to be 
linked unpleasantly with that of Hastings, crops 
up in the story of Hastings' life. It was not, 
however, the first time that the zealous young 
Kesident at Murshiddbad had heard of the wily, 
well-bom Hindu, the erewhile Governor of 
Hughli, whose deserts or intrigues had already 
won him from the Calcutta Council the impor- 
tant post of Revenue Collector for Bardwan, 
Nadiya, and Hughli, three large districts in the 
middle of Bengal. 

Unaware of this arrangement, Hastings appeals 
to Clive for further instructions, so that he may 
not " appear to usurp an office for which he had 
no authority, or as abruptly dismissed from it for 
some misconduct or incapacity." Clive, in re- 
turn, excuses himself for not having formally 

olive's relations with HASTINGS. 37 

acquainted him with a &ct of which his prede- 
cessors, Watts and Scrafton, ought to have made 
him aware ; and he expresses " much concern '' 
at the suggestion that Nand-Kumar's appointment 
was owing to any misconduct or incapacity on 
Hastings' part. **No one will be more ready 
to support your character and welfare than my- 
self, when it can be done without prejudicing the 
concerns of the Company."* 

Hastings' answer betrays the natural disappoint- 
ment of one whose well-meant efforts have been 
thwarted by circumstances which he could not 
foresee. At the same time, he acts in prompt 
obedience to Olive's orders; merely asking for 
further enlightenment ou certain points, and 
earnestly disclaiming the construction which 
Clive had put on a passage in his former letter. 
*' I never," he says, " had the least suspicion that 
the transferring of the Burdwan and Nuddea 
affairs to Hughley proceeded in the least jfrom 
any ill opinion of my conduct or capacity, but 
that it would be construed as such by everybody 
here, as it was universally believed that I was 
appointed at Moradbaug principally for the col- 
lection of those revenues." This disclaimer he 

♦ Gleig's "Warren Hastinga/* Vol. 1, Chap. iv. 


follows up by assuring his friend that the pro- 
mises which Chve had made him, and the good 
things which Clive was reported to have said of 
him, were quite enough to preclude the notion of 
any wilful " slight or prejudice " on Olive's part. 
One especial service which Hastings at this 
time rendered the Oompany must not be over- 
looked. The twenty-four Pargannas, a fertile 
district stretching jfrom the Hughli to the Sun- 
darbans, with Oalcutta for its chief city, had been 
granted to the English by the new Nawdb of 
Bengal, in part pajmaent of the victory which had 
raised him to power. But in the course of his 
researches at Murshidabad, Hastings discovered 
a serious flaw in the conditions under which the 
grant had been made. The ceded laads were 
held " only by virtue of the Nawdb's parwdna^*^ 
which might hold good, perhaps, during his life- 
time, but was not unlikely to be set aside by his 
successor. Nor had they been entered in the 
accountants' books as lands directly belonging to 
the East India Oompany. In a letter to the 
Calcutta Council, Hastings pleaded that no time 
should be lost in clearing up all doubts on a 
matter which else might some day prove a bone 
of contention. With the ready consent of the 


Governor in Council he set to work. Two 


months later he was able to inform the Council 
that his eiForts to obtain the Sanad^ or letters 
patent, which would secure the Company in their 
new possessions, would soon be crowned with full 
success. Of the value placed on those efforts, 
Clive himself at a later period made warm acknow- 
ledgement. " I am very sensible," he wrote to 
Hastings, "of the pains you have taken, and shall 
not fail acquainting the Company by the first 
opportunity, how much you have contributed to 
bring that important matter to so happy an issue." 
The confirmation of the Company's title to 
these lands was not of course to be had for 
nothing. Two lakhs of rupees,* — or about 
£20,000 — ^was the sum which Hastings agreed 
to pay for the promised Sanad ; but to the 
Nawab^s request for the loan of an equal amount 
on the plea of temporary poverty, Clive turned 
an incredulous ear. In a letter to Hastings, who 
had backed this plea, he declared to his *' certain 
knowledge " Mir Jafdr possessed several lakhs of 
rupees in gold ; and if, he added, " you were to 
hint to him, whenever he pleads poverty, that 

* A lakh is a Imndred thousand, and a rupee answers roughly 
to an English florin. 


you are not ignorant of his hidden resources, I 
believe it might put an end to the disagreeable 
topic of borrowing money." So the Nawab had 
to be content with his two lakhs down. 

Amidst the stirring events and perplexing 
movements of the two following years, 1759-60, 
Hastings retained his post at Murshidabad, find- 
ing, doubtless, in his scholarly pursuits, and the 
zealous discharge of his appointed duties, a wel- 
come relief from sorrowful memories of his lost 
wife. The steamy heat of Bengal, which seems 
to have killed Mrs. Hastings, wrought little harm 
upon her hard-working husband, who lived tem- 
perately, was seldom called upon to overstrain 
his bodily powers, and had no leisure, as it were, 
to fall ill. Those were busy and exciting years 
for our countrymen in India. The bold but ill • 
fated Lally, beaten off from Madras by the sol- 
diership of Lawrence, and the timely advent of 
an English fleet, was still revolving schemes full 
of danger to the Government of Madras. Bussy, 
recalled from the Dakhan, where, for seven years, 
he had virtually lorded it over the greatest Prince 
in Southern India,* led his seasoned troops to 

* Sal4bat Jancr, the Niz&m or Subhad&r of the Dakhan, was 
son of Chin Kuich Kh^, one of Aurangzib's officers, who 
founded the dynasty that still rules at Haidardbad. 


Pondicheny for the purpose of helping Lally to 
drive the English out of the Camatic. In Bengal 
itself the shifty Nawab, whom Olive's prompt 
march towards Patna had just saved from eminent 
disaster at the hands of Moghal invaders from 
Upper India, was intriguing with the Dutch at 
Chinsurah against allies already grown too power- 
ful for Ws peace of mind. Not all Olive's per- 
sonal influence, great as it was, could keep Mir 
Jafdr from the crooked practices that seemed 
especially to flourish in the air of Bengal. 

As for the Marathas, whom our countrymen 
in those days called Morattoes, their swarms of 
wiry horsemen were raiding everywhere, from 
the Indus to the Kdlariin, breaking to pieces the 
Moghal Empire in Hindustan, and winning for 
their Peshwa new provinces from the Nizam of 
the Dakhan. Delhi itself, the prize in turn of so 
many conquerors, from Muhammad Ghori to 
Nddir Shah and Ahmad the Abdali, now for the 
first time fell into their hands ; and it seemed for 
the moment as if all India was about to pass 
under the yoke of the wily Brahman who then 
reigned at Piina as Peshwa,* or virtual head of 

• Balaji Visliwaii4th, the first Peshwa or Prime Minister of 
Sivaii's successor the Bajah of Satara, transmitted to his own 
family the title which in their case meant the real headship of 
the Maratha States. 


that great Mardtha league against the Moghals, 
which Sivajl had set in motion a century before. 
The danger to the English in Bengal was met 
by Clive with his usual promptitude. A Dutch 
fleet from Java, laden with troops, had entered 
the Hughli. Although the* two nations were 
then at peace, and Clive had lately invested the 
bulk of his wealth in Dutch securities, he took 
the only measures the need of the moment seemed 
to call for. The Dutch themselves, by their in- 
solence and outrages, provoked the punishment 
that awaited them. On the 24th November, 
1759, three of om* men-of-war attacked and cap- 
tured twice as many of the enemy's ships. On 
the same day, the bold Colonel Forde, fresh from 
his victories in Southern India, drove the Dutch 
troops, with much slaughter, back into Chinsura. 
On the following day a larger force of Dutchmen, 
Sepoys, and Malays, was utterly routed on the 
plain of Bidara by about half their number of 
Englishmen and Sepoys, whom Forde, encouraged 
by a hasty note from Clive, had led with equal 
skill and daring to the attack. Thoroughly hum- 
bled by these signal defeats, the Dutch at Chin- 
sura were glad to accept peace on dive's own 
terms, which, all things considered, were generous 


enough. Happily for our countrymen, the 
Nawab's traitorous son, Miran, who was march- 
ing down with 6,000 horse to join the enemy if 
things went well with them, reached the scene 
of action three days too late. It was now his 
cue to side with the victors; and his threats 
against the vanquished made them bow the more 
readily to Olive's demands. 

Early in the following year, two of Olive's 
best captains, Oaillaud and Knox, were marching 
up the country from Murshidabad to drive back 
Shah Alam, the new, but homeless. Emperor of 
Delhi,* across the frontier of Bahdr. One of the 
most brilliant feats of that fighting age was the 
hurried march of Oaptain Knox with about 1,200 
men, mostly Sepoys, from Bardwan to Patna, a 
distance of 300 miles, in thirteen burning days 
of April ; a movement rewarded by the timely 
relief of Patna; and the scattering of Shah Alam's 
troops, and followed up a few weeks later by the 
repulse and rout of an army twelve times stronger 
than his own, which the Nawab of Pamia was 
leading to the Emperor's aid. Nor did the tire- 
less Major Oaillaud fail to teach the Moghal in- 

* He had just succeeded his murdered father, Alamgir II., but 
Delhi was still in the hands of his father's foes. 


vader a lesson of respect for the hardy warriors 
who, with small help from Mir Jafur or the cruel 
and cowardly Miran, hunted them back with heavy 
loss from Murshidabad to the borders of Bahar. 

In the Camatic, also, victory smiled upon our 
arms. Lally's dreams of French supremacy were 
cruelly shattered by the events of 1760. Coote's 
relief of Wandiwash, was followed by his crush- 
ing defeat of a French force which attempted to 
renew the siege. One strong place after another 
fell into the victor's hands. After the fell of 
Karikdl in April, Lally's prospects grew ever 
darker, until in September he himself was closely 
besieged in Pondicherry by the foe whom he had 
once hoped to drive into the sea. On the 15th 
of the following January, the capital of French 
India was surrendered by its starving garrison, 
and three months later the last French strong- 
hold in Southern India succumbed to the prowess 
of the fiery Coote. So ended the fight for empire 
in India between the countrymen of Clive and 

Meanwhile Clive himself had embarked for 
England to enjoy the wealth he had gotten to- 
gether, and to reap the honours which an admiring 
nation, flushed with victories by land and sea, 


was ready, under the leading of its favourite 
minister, the elder Pitt, to bestow on "the 
heaven-bom general" who had displayed a mili- 
tary genius worthy even of Frederick the Great. 
On the 25th February, 1760, he made over the 
keys of office to his senior colleague, Holwell, 
pending the arrival at Calcutta of his destined 
successor, Vansittart, a member of the Madras 
Council, whose after career did little to justify 
the preference which Clive had shown him over, 
all his rivals in Bengal. It is pretty clear, 
however, that Clive selected the best man at 
that time eUgible for so high a post. He knew 
that some of his own colleagues were about to 
follow his example ; and he must have foreseen 
that none of those who signed the farewell letter 
of bold, but just, remonstrance addressed by him 
to the Court of Directors would have any chance 
of filling his place * 

♦ In point of fact, Holwell, and the three others who signed 
the letter, were ordered to be dismissed &om the Company's 
service. — Mill's India, Book 4, Chap. y. 



When the new Governor of Fort WilKam landed 
at Calcutta in July, 1760, the skies above him in 
that month of incessant rain lowered not more 
darkly than those which overhung the face oi 
public business in Bengal. The Company's 
treasury in Calcutta, drained well-nigh of its last 
rupee, could be replenished only by drafts on 
England and loans from native bankers. The 
Court of Directors had themselves to borrow as 
they best could the means of defraying the costs 
of government in Bombay and Madras as well as 
Calcutta. The thriftless Nawab of Bengal owed 
the Company large sums which he could not 
make good, and his troops were in open mutiny 
on account of their long-withheld arrears of pay. 
The crimes and vices of his infamous son Miran, 
who had just been killed by lightning at the age 
of twenty-one, had raised everywhere new 
enemies to his father's weak rule. Baffled and 
beaten by Knox and Caillaud, the young Shah 

vansittart's government. 47 

Alam still held his ground in a comer of Bahdr, 
still asserted his claim to displace by a governor 
of his own choosing the puppet whom we had set 
up as the imperial viceroy in Bengal. Mir 
Jafar's worthless favourites oppressed the people 
in his name. Amidst the prevailing strife, dis- 
order, misrule and perplexity, the Mardthas 
renewed their old ravages unchecked, and, to 
crown all, some of Vansittart's worst foes were to 
be found in his own council. 

It was hardly to be expected that Olive's 
successor would prove a second Clive. Van- 
sittart was a man of comparative probity, judged 
by the standards of his day, but of middling 
talent and little strength of character. He was 
cursed with colleagues some abler, and nearly all 
far less upright than himself. Some of them 
hated him as an interloper from Madras, others 
feared in him a check upon their evil passions, 
especially their greed for ill-gotten gains. 

His first movements were naturally guided by 
the advice of Holwell, whose impatient scorn of 
Mir Jafar led him to take up any scheme that 
promised to rid Bengal of a worthless ruler and 
to recruit the Company's impoverished exchequer. 
Holwell, as acting Governor, had already proposed 


to win the fiivour of the Moghal Emperor by 
throwing over the poor old NawAb ; but his 
council were not prepared to break faith on such 
a pretext with their own nominee. It was 
agreed however to provide Mir Jafar with a 
deputy who should wield the power of which he 
himself was to retain the outward symbols. 
With the hearty assent of Hastiugs, whose know- 
ledge of the Nawab's affairs lent due weight to 
his opinions, the council's choice fell upon Kdsim 
Ali Khan, the old man's son-in-law, who, by dint 
of promises and money from his own purse, had 
just succeeded in pacifying the mutiueers at 
Miirshidabdd. In return for his promotion, Mir 
Kasim undertook to pay the balance of Mir 
Jafar's debts to the Company, to make over to 
his patrons the revenues of Bardw^n, Midnapur 
and Chittagong, and to give five lakhs of rupees 
towards the war in the Camatic. 

All these preliminaries were settled before the 
end of September, 1760. On the 2nd of October 
Colonel Caillaud escorted Vansittart towards the 
capital where Mir Jafar was drowning care in 
amusements and amidst companions suited to his 
easy, pleasure-loving nature. In his first inter- 
views with the English Governor, he readily 

MiB jafar's abdication. 49 

promised to mend his administrative ways in 
accordance with the views of his English friends 
and advisers. But, when he was finally bidden 
to get rid of his worthless favourites and instal 
Mir Kdsim as his deputy and future successor, 
the old man's rage, which had not wholly con- 
cealed itself in the presence of his son-in-law, 
burst for a moment beyond all bounds. He 
would hear nothing that Caillaud, the bearer of 
the summons, had to say in explanation. Rather 
than accept the terms thus offered, he would hold 
out to the last, come what might. 

This mood, however, was too hot to last. 
Caillaud's troops were at hand to compel sub- 
mission ; but there was no need to use force. 
As the Nawab cooled down, Hastings and Lush- 
ington brought to bear upon him an array of 
reasons which served to quicken his change of 
purpose His wounded dignity, or his fears for 
his own safety, still forbade him to play the part 
of puppet to his hated son-in-law ; but the 
Company were welcome to make Mir Kasim 
Viceroy in his place, if they would only let him 
retire under their protection into private life. 

To this proposal there could only be one 
answer. It was equally impossible to throw Mir 



Kasim over and to let things go on as they had 
done under Mir Jafar. At that time no one 
dreamed of what was to happen a few years later, 
of the actual displacement of native by English 
rule throughout Bengal. To leave Mir Jafar a 
sovereign in name while Kasim ruled in fact, 
would probably have been tantamount to signing 
the former's death-warrant, in a country whose 
chief men were always ready to kill oflf an 
inconvenient rival or a suspected foe. So Mir 
Kasim Ali was formally installed in the room of 
his helpless father-in-law, who, placing his life 
and fortunes in CaiUaud's hands, took boat forth- 
with for Calcutta. A strong guard of English- 
men and Sepoys saw him safe to his journey's 
end. Lodged with his family and followers in 
the shady suburb of Chitpiir, we may leave the 
fallen prince to reflect with the calmness of a 
good Mussulman on the vanity of human great- 
ness, and to amuse himself in his own fashion 
with the liberal income settled upon him by his 
fortunate successor. 

Among those who waited on the new Nawab, 
and took pai-t in the ceremonies marking his pre- 
ferment, Warren Hastings was of course included. 
But he seems to have made no personal profit 


out of an event which placed large sums of 
money, ranging from 13 to 50 lakhs of rupees, 
in the pockets of Vansittart, Holwell and five 
other gentlemen of the Company's Service. 
Such was the price at which Mir Kdsim bought 
his way to power ; and such were the means by 
which our countrymen in India were ready 
enough in those days to amass the fortimes which 
eniabled them to win place, power, or social pro- 
minence after their return home.* It was no 
easy matter for the new Nawab to fulfil his share 
of this unseemly bargain ; and some of those who 
were left out of that bargain or got less than 
their fancied deserts had the face to condemn 
Vansittart's policy as a needless breach of faith. 
For some months longer Hastings continued 
to discharge his former duties at the new 
Viceroy's capital. His knowledge of business, 
his conversance with native languages and ways, 
and his known character for steadiness and 
official honesty combined to make him a useful 
and trustworthy channel of intercourse between 

* Vansittart obtained 500,000, Holwell 270,000, Sumner and 
M'Guire 255,000 and Caillaud 200,000 rupees. Caillaud at first 
refnsed to accept his proffered share, but it was transmitted to 
him after his arrival in England. See Broome's "History," 
chap. 4. 


the Governments of Calcutta and Bengal. For 
a time, too, all went well in the provinces ruled 
by Mir Kasim. His predecessor's favourites 
were dismissed from office and compelled to dis- 
gorge the bulk of their ill-gotten wealth. Heavy 
arrears of pay were disbursed to the English 
troops at Patna, while the clamours of his own 
soldiery were appeased for a time by the same 
process. With the money which he scraped 
together for the Company's use, our countrymen 
at Madras were enabled to bring the siege of 
Pondicherry to a prosperous issue, and thus seal 
the doom of French dominion in the South. 
Able and active, the new Nawdb inspired and 
overlooked the reforms which his servants car- 
ried out in every branch of government. Never 
since the days of Aliverdi Khan had justice been 
administered with so firm a hand, or the revenues 
been employed to such useful purpose, as in the 
first two years of Kdsim's rule. 

In the field of arms, also, much was accomp- 
lished with small means. In the first days of 
1761, Camac, who had replaced Caillaud in the 
command of our troops, marched out from Patna 
to fight the Moghal Emperor posted at Suan, 
near the town of Bahar. Our bold in&ntry, 


aided by a few well-served guns, made short work 
of Shah Alam's native warriors, who speedily left 
M. Law, and his small French brigade, to bear 
the shock of battle by themselves. Law made 
up his mind to bear it at all hazards; but his 
guns were taken with a rush. Scared at the 
victors' unbroken advance with swift steps and 
levelled bayonets, his infantry also broke and 
fled. A few officers and men still stood firm be- 
side their brave commander, whose noble mad- 
ness saved him from the death he seemed to 
court. Followed by a few of his own officers, 
Camac went forward, took ofi^ his his hat to Law, 
and in words of befitting courtesy and just com- 
pliment invited him to jdeld. " We are willing to 
surrender ourselves, but not our swords," was 
the Frenchman's* answer. To this condition 
Camac at once agreed ; the officers on both sides 
shook hands, and Camac's prisoners entered the 
English camp as friends and honoured guests. 

Meanwhile, in the Birbhiim highlands and on 
the rich plains of Bardwan, a few hundred Eng- 
lishmen and Sepoys, under Yorke and White, 

• Law was in fact a son of John Law, the clever Scotch 
financier, who founded a French Bank, became for a time Comp- 
troller-General of the Finances, and sent France wild over the 
Mississippi scheme. 


had broken the neck of a powerful revolt against 
the new Nawab. Higher up the Ganges, in the 
neighbourhood of Monghir, the dashing Ensign 
Stables followed up and routed ten times his own 
number of rebel troops, led by the Rajah of 
Karakpiir. The records of that century teem 
yrith such instances of Sepoy courage, aided by a 
few English leaders and a mere sprinkling of 
European soldiers, against the heaviest odds. 
Nor did some, at least, of the native comman- 
ders who fought by our side fail to bear them- 
selves like men of mettle. In the memorable 
fight near Patna, of which I have abeady spoken, 
the brave Hindu Rajah, Shitab Rai, won the un- 
stmted praises of so competent a critic as Captain 
Knox himself ; and his name was ever afterwards 
held in deserved honour by our countrjinen in 

Camac's successes in Bahdr were speedily 
crowned by the peace which Shah Alam, over- 
borne by reverses and want of funds, was glad to 
accept from his untiring pursuers. Before the 
end of February, the homeless descendant of 
Babar entered Patna under the protection of 
British bayonets. In the following month he 
agreed, in return for a fixed yearly tribute, to 


recognise Mir Kdsim as Subhadar of Bengal, 
Bahar, and Orissa ; and tempting offers were 
made to his new friends, if they would only help 
to replace him on the throne of his murdered 
father.* For various reasons these offers were 
unwillingly refused ; but when, soon afterwards, 
the Emperor set out from Patna to try and 
recover his capital with the aid of his own feuda- 
tories in Oudh and Rohilkhand, Camac escorted 
him with all honour to the banks of the Karam- 
ndsa, beyond which the Nawdb of Oudh lay wait- 
ing to receive and shelter his ill-starred suzerain. 
The same events which opened to Shah Alam 
the road to Delhi, had freed Bengal itself from 
one source of constant trouble. In the great 
battle fought on the plains of Panipat in Januaiy, 
1761, between the famished Maratha hosts and 
the allied Afghan and Moghal armies, led by the 
victorious Ahmad Shah, the far-reaching power 
of the still young Maratha League received in 
the hour of its greatest triumphs a blow from 
which it could never quite recover. Panipat was 
the Flodden Field which broke the heart of the 
great Peshwa, Balaji Rao, and left, all Maha- 

♦ Alamgir II. was murdered in 1759 by hia Vizier, the infa- 
mous Ghizi-ud-din. 


rashtra wailing for the loss of her foremost 
leaders and stoutest sons. For some years to 
come the imperial cities of Delhi and Agra saw 
no more of their late despoilers ; and the villagers 
of Bengal could reap their harvests without fear 
of a visit from the active freebooters, who made 
plundering a fine art, and coveted nothing which 
they did not carry away. 

All this time Warren Hastings seems to have 
been watching the course of events from his 
"bungalow" in the suburbs of Murshidabad.* 
Hitherto he had played an useful, but still subor- 
dinate part in the Company's affairs ; but the 
time was now come when his abilities and experi- 
ence were to be tested in a higher sphere. The 
dismissal of three members of the Calcutta 
Council, for their bold remonstrance to the Court 
of Directors against the jobbery and injustice 
which these had prompted or connived at, took 
place in August, 1761 ; and one of the vacant 
seats in the Council was bestowed on Hastings, 
who entered on his new duties at a moment spe- 
cially unfavourable to " the making of splendid 

* (" Suburbs of Murshidab&d)." The suburb in which 
Hastings lived was Moradbagh, on the opposite side of the river 
to Murshid&b&d. 



" There is no page in our Indian history so 
revolting as the four years of the weak and in- 
efficient rule of Mr. Vansittart." So speaks Sir 
John Malcolm in his "Life of Clive," and the 
evidence of known facts seems to bear out that 
dismal verdict. Macaulay himself did not over- 
state the truth in . declaring that the interval 
between Olive's first and second administration 
" has left on the fame of the East India Company 
a stain not wholly effiiced by many years of just 
and humane government.'' Had all Vansittart's 
colleagues been like Warren Hastings, that page 
of our Indian history might have brought no 
blush of shame to the reader's cheek. But 
before Hastings entered the Calcutta Council, the 
first step had already been taken in that course 
of blundering, extortion, and high-handed 
violence, which ended only with Clive's return to 


In the spring of 1761 Mir Kasim began to find 
himself in want of money. Rajah Ramnarain, 
the Hindu Governor of Patna, was reported to 
have amassed such heaps of treasure as a needy 
Nawdb, following the practice of his time and 
country, might easily be tempted to claim for his 
own use. It was easy also to find a pretext for 
an act of spoliation which Mir Kasim, for all we 
know, may have honestly regarded as fair pay- 
ment of monies due to the State by one of its 
chief officers. Ramnarain, of course, like every 
native of rank, had his enemies who charged him 
with plotting against the Nawdb. He had how- 
ever, or should have had, a powerful fi*iend in the , 
East India Company, if treaties with the English 
and repeated promises of protection were worth 
more than blank paper and wasted breath. Mir 
Kdsim ordered him to account for the revenues of 
his province during the past three years. The 
Governor of Patna shirked compliance with this 
demand, pleading that the cost of defending a 
province overrun with hostile armies had 
swallowed up all his receipts, and asking for 
time to complete the balancing of accounts which, 
in their present state, could not well be laid 
before his master. 


Both parties appealed to Calcutta. On Ram- 
tiarain's side were Carnac and Coote, who 
Succeeded Camac in command of the Company's 
troops at Patna. Both of them had been 
tempted by large bribes to betray the Governor, 
but both to their honour stood firm against all 
temptation. Vansittart also shrank at first from 
gratifjdng the Nawdb's thirst for revenge or 
plunder at the cost of a subject whose guilt, if 
any, was yet to prove. But his opponents in the 
CouncU sided with the Rajah's fnends, and Van- 
sittart's sense of justice was clouded by distrust 
of the colleagues who for once seemed ready to 
back him against his usual supporters. There 
must, he argued, be something wrong in a cause 
thus strangely defended. His mind thus biassed, 
he soon lent an easy ear to the tales which Mir 
Kdsim's agents kept pouring into it ; and Ram- 
narain's doom was hastened by the Nawab's 
assurance that the balance of his own debt to the 
Company should be cleared off out of the Hindu's 
forfeit wealth. Before the end of Jime Coote 
and Camac were both recalled from Patna. 
Ramnarain and all his treasures, real or 
imaginary, fell into the hands of a prince whose 
anger was not allayed by his failure to find the 
booty of which he had dreamed. 


The friends of the luckless captive were 
tortured in vain. The treasure actually found 
barely sufficed for the daily expenses of the 
government ; and Ramnarain presently paid with 
a cruel death the penalty due in Eastern countries 
to disappointed greed.* 

By his conduct in this matter Vansittart went 
fer to destroy the confidence which the native 
nobles and gentry of Bengal had been wont to 
plaxje in English promises of protection. Rdm- 
narain's fate discouraged the friends as much as 
it emboldened the enemies of English influence 
in Bengal. Among these latter Mir Easim All 
himself, the Nawab of our own making, was ere 
long to be enrolled. 

Gratitude for past favours was already burning 
low in the breast of a ruler who aspired to free 
his kingdom from all foreign control, and who 
knew that among Vansittart' s present colleagues 
and agents the successful supplanter of Mir Jafar 
could count upon few friends, besides the 
Governor and Warren Hastings. Disputes con- 
cerning the rights and privileges of English 
traders and their native friends were already 
claiming his attention. For the ends which he 

* The weight of evidence, as quoted by Mill (Book IV., Ch. 6) 
bears out tlm view of the supposed treasure. 


had in view Murshidabad was too near Calcutta, 
and so Mir Kasim ere long transferred his capital 
to Monghir, where the Ganges almost washes the 
foot of the Rajmahal Hills. New works of 
defence sprang up around that city. Within its 
walls he proceeded to found a large arsenal, to 
cast guns, and to manufaxjture muskets of the 
newest pattern for an army that might blunt the 
edge even of English daring. It was not long 
before he found himself master of 15,000 horse 
and 25,000 foot, trained for the most part by 
deserters from our own ranks or adventurers in 
quest of service under whatever flag. 

Meanwhile his smouldering quarrel with the 
English was being daily fanned into fresh life by 
provocations which Hastings and Vansittart were 
powerless either to prevent or punish. Outvoted 
in coimcil, they might deplore but could not 
restrain the high-handed violence with which 
Ellis, the new chief of the Patna factory, gratified 
at once his zeal for the Company's interests and 
his rancorous dislike of the Nawab. Mir Kasim's 
dignity, affronted by an attempt to seize and 
imprison one of his officers for questioning the 
right of a Company's servant to pass his private 
wares free of duty, was yet ftu^her outraged by 


the insults heaped on another of the NawaVs 
servants, whom Ellis seized and shipped off in 
irons to Calcutta, for having dared without his 
leave to buy some saltpetre for his master's use, 
in alleged defiance of the Company's monopoly. 
In the former case the attempt was finistrated by 
the good sense of an English officer, who, dis- 
obeying the order received from Patna, referred 
the grievance to the Nawab himself. In the 
other case it needed all Vansittart's address and 
influence to save the offender fi:om the brutal 
vengeance demanded by Ellis's partisans, in order 
that he might be punished by his own master. 

Early in 1762 Ellis ordered a body of troops 
to search Monghir, Mir Kdsim's new capital, for 
some deserters from the Patna garrison. The 
governor of that stronghold refused to admit the 
troops; but allowed two of their officers to 
accompany him round the fort. Ellis's wrath 
blazed up at what he called the governor's 
insolence, and the troops were ordered to keep 
their place outside the walls pending the issue of 
his demands for redress. Mir Kasim appealed to 
Calcutta, and Vansittart answered the appeal by 
deputing his best adviser, Hastings, to inquire 
into the whole affair and to allay as he best could 


a quarrel which was daily growing more em- 

Hastings went up the country in April — saw 
some of the Nawab's chief officers — ^looked in at 
Monghir, where any search for deserters seemed 
to him as hopeless as the attempt to " find a stray 
pebble on the mountains around it," and in due 
time got speech at Sarsardm, near Patna, with 
the Nawab himself. Ellis, for his part, seems to 
have shirked a meeting with Vansittart'^ peace- 
maker ; a feet which Hastings noted with regret. 
But the Nawab had already agreed to com- 
promise the matter, by allowing the officer of 
Hastings' escort to search the fort of Monghir. 
None of the missing deserters could be found, but 
one cause of quarrel disappeared with the return 
of the Sepoy force to Patna. 

Other causes of quarrel, however, were not far 
to seek. The Nawab's friendly dealings with 
Shuja-ad-daula, the Moghal Viceroy of Oudh, for 
their mutual benefit, were construed by Mir 
Kasim's ill-wishers into an alliance against the 
English. Even his sternness in suppressing plots 
against his own life gave his enemies a fresh 
handle for complaint and misrepresentation. 
Hastings inquired into these matters also; but 


his inquiries taught him only to laugh at rumours 
"so opposite to the Nawdb's character, his 
interest, and to common sense," that, but for "the 
unconamon pains which had been taken to make 
them plausible,'' he would have scorned to 
demonstrate their falsity to so shrewd an observer 
as Colonel Coote.* 

Guilty or innocent of all the crimes and pur- 
poses laid to his charge, Mir Kasim could not 
avoid his fate. In his letter of April 25, 
Hastings had already besought the Governor's 
attention to the "oppressions" daily committed 
in Bengal under the sanction of the English 
name. To his surprise not a boat that passed 
him on the river but bore the English flag, which 
was also flying from many places along the bank. 
At almost every village on his way up, he found 
the shops shut and the people fled, for fear of 
exactions like those from which they had already 
suffered at the hands of his countrymen and their 
followers, real or pretended. He saw enough to 
convince him of the evils wrought and threatened 
by the lawless doings of the Company's servants, 
and the powerlessness of their victims to obtain 
redress. It was the old tale of strong men lord- 

* Gleig's " Life of Warren Hastings," Vol. I., Ch. 6. 


ing it without a scruple over neighbours too weak, 
timid, or indolent to withstand them. On the 
one side towered "the strength of civilisation 
without its mercy;" on the other crouched a 
multitude of feeble, down-trodden folk, whom 
centuries of foreign rule, of caste tyranny, and of 
life under a steamy tropical sun had long since 
debased from the type of then* warlike, Sanskrit- 
speaking forefathers. What resistance could 
these herds of Bengali deer offer to those ravening 
English wolves — 

" quos opimus 
Fallere et effugere est trmmphus ?" 

The abuse of the Company's rights of trade 
had indeed grown to an unbearable pitch. Under 
the phirmdn granted by a Moghal emperor the 
Company's merchandise had been allowed to pass 
up and down the country free of all duty, by 
virtue of a dastak^ or pass, signed by the Presi- 
dent of the CoimcU. As the power of the 
Company waxed greater, their servants pro- 
ceeded to turn this public privilege to their own 
account. The high duties and the frequent toll- 
houses, which hampered the private trade of 
Bengal, offered no hindrance to the bold factor 
who could display a dastak duly signed, or trust 



at need to the guarding influence of the 
Company's flag. Every gomashta or agent of a 
factory, every native merchant who had any 
interest with his English customers, adopted the 
same device ; and it was said that the youngest 
"writer" in the Company's service could make 
his two or three thousand rupees a month by 
selling passes to native purchasers. 

The Nawab himself, in a letter to Vansittart, 
had already complained of the harm done to his 
own government and people by these acts of law- 
lessness and Iraud. "From the factory of 
Calcutta to Kasimbazar, Patna, and Dacca, all 
the English chiefs with their gomashtas, officers, 
and agents in every district of the government, 
act as collectors, renters, and magistrates, and, 
setting up the Company's colours, allow no power 
to my officers. And besides this, the gomashtas 
and other servants in every district, in every 
market and village, carry on a trade in oil, fish, 
straw, bamboo, rice, paddy, betel-nut, and other 
things ; and every man with a Company's dastak 
in his hand regards himself as not less than the 
Company."* Loud also grew the complaints of 
the Nawdb's officers at the way in which their 

* MiU's '* India," Book 4, Chap. v. 


mildest efforts to carry out their master's orders 
were hindered and set at nought by the insolence 
and the threats of those strong-handed " Sahibs," 
whose agents forced the people, under pain of a 
flogging, to buy and sell goods at the Sahib's own 
price, and played the part of judges in their own 
causes without the least regard for the decrees of 
the Nawab's regular courts. 

Hastings felt that outrages so gross and fre- 
quent could "bode no good to the Nawab's 
revenues, the quiet of the coimtry, or the honour 
of our nation." Nor was Vansittart less blind to 
the dangers involved in abuses which, if not 
swiftly remedied, must end by plunging the 
Company into war with the Nawab. To avert 
that issue he tried such arts as a well-meaning 
but weak-handed governor might fairly use 
against offenders conscious of his weakness and 
their own strength. His first efforts to abate 
the growing nuisance tended only to inflame an 
open sore. "Nothing," wrote Hastings, "will 
ever reach the root of those evils, till some cer- 
tain boundary be fixed between the Nabob's 
authority and our privileges." Vansittart ac- 
cordingly sketched out a number of proposals 
which Hastings, after careful revision, laid before 


the Nawab. They were accepted with hardly a 
murmur, Mir Kasim asking only for their 
embodiment in a treaty guarded by the 
Company's seal. 

But the plan which looked so promising was 
scornfully rejected by Vansittart's colleagues, as 
an insult to the English name and a grievous 
inroad on the rights of the Company's servants. 
The reign of violence and fraud went on with 
redoubled vigour ; and Hastings, after three 
months of bootless labour in Bahar, returned to 
Calcutta to take fresh coimsel with his bewildered 
chief. With sore hearts these two, the only 
honest members of the Calcutta Council, strove 
hard to win from their greedy and unscrupuloos 
colleagues the desired permission to treat once 
more in a friendly spirit with the now indignant 
Nawab. At last they seemed to have so fer 
succeeded, that, early in the cold season of 1762, 
Vansittart set out with Hastings to talk over 
matters quietly with Kasim Ali at Monghir. 

The Nawab received them with a cordiality 
none the less marked for the bitterness of his 
language against the invaders of his lawful rights, 
and the despoilers of his helpless people. After 
some discussion it was agreed that the inland 


trade should remain open to the Company's 
servants, chargeable only with an ad valorem duty 
of nine per cent, on the prime cost of their goods 
at the place of purchase. 

The manner in which a concession that still 
placed the English at a great advantage over the 
native traders was received at Calcutta, showed 
Vansittart that he had reckoned without his host. 
His opponents in the Council were furious at this 
surrender of any part of their pretended privi- 
leges. Their wrath was heightened by the ill- 
judged haste with which Mir Kasim carried out 
the new arrangement notified in Vansittart's 
letter to himself, before that arrangement had 
been confirmed by the Governor's Council. 
Against men thus furnished with an excuse for 
wrong doing, it was hopeless to argue. Van- 
sittart's work was undone with every circum- 
stance of needless insult to all concerned in it. 
The Nawab's temper, never of the long-suffering 
sort, gave way beneath this new trial, coming as 
it did close upon the failure of his attempt to 
conquer Nipal. If the English would not trade 
with him on fair terms, he could at least extend 
to his own subjects the immunities which the 
Company's servants claimed so arrogantly for 


themselves alone. Accordingly, in the middle 
of March, 1763, the Nawab abolished all transit 
duties throughout Bengal, and thus opened the 
trade of that country to merchants of all nations 

Then arose a fresh clamour against the prince 
who thus dared to rescue his own subjects from 
the shackles devised for them by English greed. 
In vain did two honest Englishmen point out the 
injustice of barring a whole nation from the right 
of trading in their own country on equal terms 
with a few foreigners from unknown seas. By a 
vote of the majority in the Coimcil, it was 
resolved to let the Nawab know how grievously 
he had wronged the authors and guardians of his 
political being. While two of their body were 
hastening up the country to demand from Mir 
Kasim the swift annulment of his obnoxious 
decree, the chiefs of the various factories and the 
commanders of the troops were ordered to 
prepare for that collision which our countrymen 
seemed so eager to provoke. 

The Nawab saw what was coining, but refiised 
to purchase a brief respite from his growing 
troubles by accepting the demands of the English 
envoys. Despairing of help from his friends in 

THE NAWAB's angry LETTER. 71 

the Calcutta Council, who still tried their best to 
avert the inevitable, he turned for deliverance to 
the Nawab of Oudh and his nominal master but 
virtual dependant, the exiled Emperor of Dehli. 
In spite of fresh outrages and provocations from 
his old enemy, Ellis, he still wavered on the 
brink of armed resistance. On the 1 9th of June, 
1763, he agreed to surrender the boatloads of 
arms which his officers had stopped on their way 
up to Patna. About the same time he wrote to 
Vansittart a letter plaintively reviewing his past 
conduct, and warmly protesting his innocence of 
the treacher}^ laid to his charge. " In what way " 
— he asked — " have I deceived or betrayed you ? 
I never devoured two or three crores of rupees of 
the treasure of Mir Jafar Khan. I never seized 
a biga* of the land belonging to Calcutta, nor 
have I imprisoned your gomashtas. Have I not 
discharged the debts contracted by the Khan 
aforenamed? Did I procure from you, gentle- 
men, the payment of the arrears of his army, or 
put you to the expense of maintaining the 
Company's forces ? .... I gave you a 
country which produced a crore of rupees. Was 
it for this only, that after two or three months 

* A " biga'* is aboat two-thirds of an acre. 


you should place another on the masnad of the 
Nizamat?'' And he ended by retorting the 
charge of treachery on those who made it. 

It shows how far the Nawab's anger misled 
him, that he could tax one of his best firiends 
with having brought him into his present plight. 
" All this distraction and ruin brought upon my 
affairs are owing," he wrote, " to Mr. Hastings," 
who had persuaded him to accept the fatal gift of 
government from Calcutta, and had counselled 
him to ''engage the English in his interests.*' 
Only a few days before this letter was written, 
the alleged "author of all these evils" had been 
roundly abused by one of his colleagues for 
defending the Nawab's cause with the un- 
scrupulous zeal of a " hired solicitor ; " and the 
abuse was followed up by a blow, for which 
Batson found himself severely censured by the 
Council, and obliged to offer a full apology, in 
terms dictated by his censurers.* 

Do what he would, however, to keep the peace 
with his troublesome neighbours, Kasim Ali 
failed, as the best of rulers at such a moment 
might well have failed, to walk clear of all the 
snares and stumbling-blocks that beset his path. 

* Gleig's " Life of Hastings," Vol. I., Ch. v. 


In spite of Hastings' earnest remonstrances, the 
Council had entrusted Ellis at Patna with full 
power to act as he and his colleagues might think 
fit in their own and the Company's interests, if 
these should be imperilled by the Nawab's 
conduct. This discretion that hot-headed 
Englishman was already using as indiscreetly as 
all who knew him must have foreseen. Once 
more the Nawab lost his temper, and the arms 
which he had just surrendered were again seized 
on their way up the river. An English gentle- 
man was also detained as hostage for some of the 
Nawab's imprisoned officers. One angry jnove- 
ment provoked another. On the night of June 
24 the city of Patna was suddenly attacked and 
taken by troops acting under ElUs's orders. The 
Nawab retorted by commanding the arrest of 
every Englishman in Bengal. Amyatt, a leading 
member of the Council, paid with his life the 
penalty of armed resistance to the Nawab's 
officers. Patna was recovered as easily as it had 
been lost, and erelong Ellis himself with many 
English fugitives from Patna and Kdsimbazar 
fell into the hands of a conqueror on whose for- 
bearance they had little reason to count. 

In spite of the heavy July rains a force of 


English and Sepoys under the daring Major 
Adams at once took the field. Never was a hard 
campaign more splendidly fought in India against 
heavier odds. In five months Adams had led his 
little army from Calcutta to the Kdramnasa, 
defeating in two pitched battles maay times his 
own number of disciplined troops, winning four 
strong places by siege or assault, and capturing 
more than 400 pieces of cannon. Smarting with 
rage imder the memorable rout of Giriah, the 
Nawdb gave the reins to his cruel nature. Rdm- 
narain and other prisoners of mark were put to 
death. After his next reverse the two great 
Hindu bankers of the Sett clan were thrown into 
the Ganges. The capture of Monghir sealed the 
doom of his English prisoners. Walter Rein- 
hardt, an Alsatian soldier of fortune, who had 
transferred his services from one flag to another 
until he rose to high command under KAsim, 
undertook the deed of butchery which was to 
make him for ever infamous in the annals of 
British India. This ruffian, better known by his 
nickname of Sombre which the natives turned 
into Sumru, carried out his bloody work with a 
thoroughness only to be equalled, a century later, 
by the massacre of Cawnpore. A hundred and 

MIR KASIM's utter DEFEAT. 76 

fifty helpless soldiers and civilians, with several 
women, were shot down or cut to pieces within 
the walls of their prison-house at Patna. Ellis 
himself was among the fifty gentlemen who 
perished on that wofiil 5th of October, 1763.* 

On the 6th of November Patna was stormed 
by Adams's heroes. But Kasim and the butcher 
Sumru had escaped the vengeance of their pur- 
suers by timely flight. Adams renewed the 
chase as far as the Karamnasa; but before the 
year's end his prey had found shelter with 
Kdsim's new ally, the Nawab-Vazir of Oudh. 
Shuja-ad-daula refused to give up to certain 
death the fiigitives who had become his guests. 
Worn out with toil and illness Adams resigned 
into the weaker hands of Camac the task which 
he had brought so near completion. His own 
days, indeed, were numbered, for he reached 
Calcutta only to die. 

Meanwhile a vote of the Calcutta Council had 
replaced Mir Jafar, now old, leprous, and half 
doting, on the forfeit masnad of Bengal. In his 
readiness to resume even the show of power, the 

* Broome's " Bengal Army," Chap. iy. Some of the bodies 
were thrown yet liying into the well which served for their 
common tomb. 


poor old man agreed to a number of conditions 
which left him the mere slave and tool of his 
greedy taskmasters. He pledged himself to 
reimpose the duties which Mir Kasim had re- 
pealed, to exempt from those duties the trade of 
the Company's servants, and to pay large sums 
into the Company's treasury as compensation for 
public and private losses. In these arrangements 
Hastings seems to have taken no active part, nor 
did he soil his fingers with any of the money 
which his colleagues pocketed in return for losses 
incurred in the prosecution of an illegal trade. 

The famous victory of Bakhsar, won on the 
23rd October, 1764, by Major Munro, with 
barely 7,000 Sepoys and Europeans over 50,000 
of Shujd's troops, including Sumru's highly 
drilled brigades, and numbers of those Afghan 
horsemen who had fought so well at Pdnipat, 
brought Shuja's schemefs of conquest and Kasim's 
hopes of vengeance to a disastrous end. In effect 
it placed all Oudh at the feet of the victorious 
English, brought Shah Alam a suppliant into the 
English camp, sent Mir Kasim a friendless fugi- 
tive into Rohilkhand, and drove the infamous 
Sumru to sell his sword to the Jiits of Bhartpur. 
When the welcome news reached Calcutta, Hast- 


ings was already preparing for his voyage home. 
Before the close of November he had resigned 
his seat in the Council ; and soon afterwards »he 
embarked in the same ship with his friend Van- 
sittart for the dear home-land where his little son 
lay dying, and his dream of retrieving the 
family fortunes had first been conceived. 




After a residence of more than fourteen years 
in India, Hastings returned to England, a poor 
man by comparison with other " Nabobs " of his 
day. Of the moderate fortune which he had 
scraped together, not a rupee appears to have 
been obtained by methods alien from the moral 
standards of our own time. While men like 
Drake, Clive, and Vansittart, were making thou- 
sands of pounds at one stroke out of the needs or 
the gratitude of native princes, while other of the 
Company's servants grew rich on perquisites 
drawn or wrung from native merchants, land- 
holders, and placemen, Hastings seems to have 


kept his hands clean of all unworthy or even 
questionable gains. As Resident at a Native 
Court, and again as Member of the Calcutta 
Council, he had many opportunities of securing 
some of the wealth which flowed so steadily into 
the pockets of less scrupulous colleagues. To 
any one living in such an atmosphere of greed 
and corruption, the temptation to enrich himself 
by whatever means must have been very great ; 
and Hastings, as we know, had a special reason 
for seeking after wealth. But his proud self- 
respect or his native honesty rose above tempta- 
tions by which Macaulay, in his case, has set too 
little store; and he came home with money 
enough to keep him in comfort, but with little 
to spare for the indulgence of his generous in- 

Before leaving India, Hastings sent his sister, 
Mrs. Woodman, a present of dB 1,000. This, no 
doubt, was the lady to whose charge, in 1761, he 
had entrusted his little son George, for what 
proved to be the brief remainder of his young 
life. On his aunt Elizabeth, widow of his kind 
uncle, Howard Hastings, he settled an annuity of 
£200 ; a large and timely addition to her very 
slender means. 


The first news that greeted him on his return 
to England in 1765, was the death of his only 
son from an ulcerated throat. For months and 
years afterwards, the bereaved fether mourned in 
silence over a loss which even his second mar- 
riage was destined never to repair. He might 
live to become the Lord of Daylesford, but no 
heir of his own loins ever succeeded to his name 
and estate. 

The few years which he now spent in England 
remain to us almost a blank. At the age of 
thirty-two he must still have possessed a fund of 
youthfiil energy, which the circumstances of his 
past career had done little to exhaust. The 
shadow which his boy's death seems to have cast 
upon his life, may have disabled him from enjojdng 
thoroughly the new world in which, after fifteen 
years of industrious exile, he found himself 
master of his own time, and of a fortune not too 
small for his reasonable wants. A restlessness 
bom of sorrow drove him, it seems, in the winter 
of 1765, to ask the Court of Directors for early 
reemployment in India. Their refusal turned 
his thoughts into other channels. Learning and 
literature erelong gave their votary a sweet dis- 
traction from melancholy musings. He studied 


the classics of two continents ; he wrote and 
sometimes published verses and essays which 
never repaid the cost of publication. Among the 
men of genius or talent with whom at this time 
he became acquainted, was Dr. Johnson, whose 
name had already risen high in the world of 
literature, and whose personal knowledge of Hast- 
ings, if smaU, was enough, he afterwards wrote, 
to make him " wish for more."* 

The acquaintance seems to have sprung out of 
Hastmgs' efforts to plan a scheme for encouraging 
in England the study of Persian, in those days 
the classical language of most Indian Courts. To 
establish somewhere a chair for Persian, filled 
by professors obtained from India, was an object 
worthy of the support which it failed to win. It 
has been said that Hastings selected Oxford for 
this purpose, and himself for the first Persian 
Professor. Mr. Gleig, however, on the best 
authority, declares that Hastings never thought 
of himself or Oxford in connection with such 
a scheme. He proposed, in fact, that the East 
India Company should found a seminary for its 
own servants, in which Persian should be taught 

* Boswell's " Life of Johnson," Vol 4, Chap. iii. (Eoutledge's 
. Edition.) 



by a competent native of India. " I formed a 
plan," wrote Hastings himself, "for such an 
institution, but I never oflfered, nor intended to 
superintend it. I was not qualified for it ; in- 
deed my intention was to obtain professors from 
India."* It was left for a later age, and a more 
enlightened Court of Directors, to embody in the 
College at Haileybury the cherished dream of 
Hastings, and the slowly rewarded efibrts of 
Lord Wellesley.f 

It was not long, however, before Hastings* 
services were again to be required in the field for 
which he still yearned. In 1766, the House of 
Commons had begun a careful inquiry into the 
affairs of the East India Company. Among the 
witnesses summoned before the Committee, not 
the least conspicuous was Hastings himself. So 
strong was the impression which his quiet bear- 
ing, his clear straightforward answers, and his 
manifest mastery of the subjects brought before 
him, left upon the minds of all who heard or read 

* Gleiff's " VSTarren Hastings," Vol. 1, Chap. vi. 

t Lord V^ellesley, in 1802, founded in Calcutta a college for 
the training of Indian civil serrants, but an order from the Court 
of Directors led to its speedy abolition, in the form, at least, 
which he had hoped to give it. Four years afterwards, a col- 
lege was opened at Haueybury, which was finally closed in 


his evidence, that his second request for employ- 
ment in India was not made in vain. His means 
were already becoming straitened, partly through 
the loss of savings left to fructify in Bengal, and 
partly through the help he gave so liberally to 
friends or relations in need. The Court of Direc- 
tors had learned to see in him one of their ablest 
and most upright servants, one of the very few 
in whom they could put their trust at any pinch. 
An opening for him was at length found at 
Madras, for which place he set sail in the early 
spring of 1769. About a year earlier, his old 
friend Clive had returned home in broken health, 
but with his heart as high as ever, from his short 
but glorious second term of government in Bengal. 
In two years the victor of Plassy had done much 
to retrieve the fortunes and fair fame of the East 
India Company. He had won from the humbled 
Emperor of Delhi the charter that placed his 
masters upon the throne of Bengal ;* he had put 
down a serious mutiny among his own officers ; 
had reduced the ruler of Oudh into an obedient 

* On the 12th August, 1765, in Olive's own tent, from a 
throne made up of two tables surmounted by a chair, Shah Alam 
bestowed on the Oompany the Dewani, or Government, of Bengal, 
Bahar, and Orissa; provinces now peopled by sixty million 


ally of the new English power ; had swept away 
many of the abuses which disgraced the Com- 
pany's rule, and done all, in short, that one man, 
armed with uncertain powers, and thwarted or 
ill-succoured by his masters at home, could well 
do to atone for the misrule, corruption, and finan- 
cial blundering of the past few years. 

That Clive and Hastings met in England after 
the former's return home, is a likelihood which, 
for want of evidence, must not be taken for a 
solid fact. It may fairly be assumed, however, 
that such a meeting happened more than once, 
and that Hastings learned from the lips of his old 
Mend how things were going on in Bengal and 

The destined head of the Madras Council at 
' this time was Du Pre, its senior member, a gen- 
tleman whose abilities were equalled by his 
great industry, and whose gentle manners covered 
a kind heart-, while they lent a sweetness to his 
frankest utterances. To him and his colleagues 
the Directors announced their selection of "Mr. 
Warren Hastings, a gentleman who has served 
us many years upon the Bengal establishment, 
with great ability and unblemished character," 


for a seat in the Madras Council. " We have/' 
they added, " from a consideration of his just 
merits, and general knowledge of the Company's 
affairs, been induced to appoint him one of the 
Members of our Council at your Presidency, and 
to station him next below Mr. Du Pre." 

After making due provision for those whom he 
had hitherto helped to live, Hastings found him- 
self driven to borow money for his own outnt. 
With a few words of loving farewell, written off 
Dover, to his " dear brother and sister," Mr. and 
Mrs. Woodman, he closed the first evening of 
his life on board the Duke of Grafton. An event 
which brought out the mingled strength and 
weakness of a nature essentially noble, happened 
during the long voyage round the Cape of Good 

Among Hastings' fellow-passengers was a certain 
lady, whose husband, Baron Inihoff, a native of 
Franconia, was going out to Madras to mend his 
fortune by painting portraits. Between him and 
his wife, a lady, says Mr. Gleig, who came to know 
her in after years, " of singularly attractive man- 
ners, of a very engaging figure, and a mind 
highly cultivated," the love that should hallow 


wedlock sterns to have burned but feebly, if it 
ever burned at all. Macaulay, without any war- 
rant, assumes that the wife heartily despised her 
husband ; but Mr. Gleig's narrative merely im- 
plieft that the two were little suited to each other. 
With Hastings the lady was soon brought into 
social contact, under conditions which neither 
could have prevented if they would. Shut up 
with their companions for six or seven months in 
their floating prison, these two were naturally 
drawn together by those fine threads of mental 
and sexual sympathy, whose power for good and 
evil the great master-mind of Germany has set 
so movingly before us in his " Wahlverwand- 
schaften." An acquaintance fed by daily, almost 
hourly intercourse, ripened into fi'iendship, and 
friendship gradually passed into love. 

At length a new temptation opened their eyes 
to the secret which their hearts had cherished 
unawares. Hastings fell dangerously ill. For 
days he lay hovering between life and death ; his 
sick-bed watched by the Baroness with all the 
patient tenderness of her sex. It was she who 
gave him his medicines, and sat beside him while 
he slept. With returning health, he awoke to his 


new relations with another man's wife. Even 
then, the voice of honour or prudence held him 
back from the path of lawless self-indulgence. It 
appears that Imhoff was duly made aware of the 
passion which his wife and Hastings could no 
longer hide from each other. The marriage laws 
of his own country held out to him a way of 
escape from his awkward position ; and his 
poverty, no doubt, inclined him to accept the 
salve which his wife's lover was prepared to place 
upon his wounded pride. It was soon arranged 
between them that the Baron and his wife should 
continue to live together as before, pending the 
issue of a divorce suit which Imhoff was to carry 
on at Hastings' expense in the courts of Fran- 

The bargain was honourably fulfilled on both 
sides. Some years had to elapse before the 
desired decree laid low the barrier which still 
parted Hastings from his future wife. Meanwhile 
Mr. and Mrs. Imhoff lived together "with good 
repute," according to Mr. Gleig, first at Madras, 
and afterwards, when Hastings rose to a higher 
sphere of duty, at Calcutta. In due time the 
spouseless Baron returned home, " a richer man 


than he ever could have hoped to become by the 
mere exercise of his skill as a painter." The 
lady's children by her first marriage, were 
adopted by her second husband, who never found 
cause to repent of the union thus quietly brought 



When Hastings landed at Madras in the late 
summer of 1769, he found Du Pr6 installed as 
President in the room of Mr. Palk, the last days 
of whose government had been marked by an 
abrupt and rather inglorious ending to an un- 
desirable and costly war. A foolish clause in an 
ill-advised treaty, had brought the Company into 
collision with the most formidable of its native 
foes in Southern India. The Northern Saikdrs, 
a tract of low seaboard, varying from eighteen to 
a hundred miles in breadth, and stretching some 
450 miles north-eastward from the Kistna delta 
to Ganjam and the Orissa border, had been 
wrested, in 1759, from Bussy's countrymen by 
Colonel Forde. They were afterwards restored 
to their nominal master, Nizdm Ali, the ruler of 
Haidarabad, who presently oflfered them as a 
Jaigir, or military fief, to the Madras Govern- 


ment. The offer was declined ; but troops were 
sent from Madras to aid Hussain Ali, the Nizam's 
deputy, in collecting the revenues, and keeping 
the peace in his new domain. 

Of the five Sarkars, or provinces, the new 
Governor engaged to place three at any moment 
in the hands of his English allies, who saw their 
French rivals once more peacefully established in 
Pcndicherr3^ To Lord Clive, as he went up the 
country in 1765 to receive th(i title-deeds of 
Bengal, Bahar and Orissa, from the nominal 
Emperor of Hindustan, came a letter from Palk, 
suggesting that the five coast provinces should 
also be added to the dominions of the East India 
Company. On this suggestion Clive acted, and 
in October of the same year a despatch from 
Madras informed the Directors that a " Sanad," 
or decree of the Great Moghal had formally 
invested them with the lordship of the Northern 

Early in the following year fresh troops were 
marched into the new territory. But Nizdm 
Ali, displeased at an arrangement which ignored 

* Auber*s '* Rise and Progress of the British Power in India *' 
(chap. 5) shows that this step was taken ** at the instance of 
Mr. Palk.' 



his own rights over the ceded provinces, prepared 
to enter them with a large force. Thinking 
mainly of their exhausted exchequer, the Madras 
Council compromised the quarrel by agreeing to 
hold the Sarkars in fief of the Nizam, under a 
treaty which bound them to pay him tribute and 
to aid him with their arms in time of need. 

It was not long before that need arose. By 
this time the old Hindu kingdom of Maisiir, 
seated among the woody highlands of Southern 
India, had passed under the yoke of Haidar All 
Khan, a Mohammadan soldier of fortune, whose 
great-grandfather had left the Panjab to gain a 
livelihood in the Dakhan as a Fakir, or mendicant 
dcTOtee.* When Haidar was bom, in 1702, his 
father, Fath Mohammad, was serving as a Naik 
or petty officer of armed police under the Nawab 
of S^ra. A few years later Haidar Ali's widowed 
mother was glad to place herself and her two sons 
under the charge of her kind-hearted brother, a 
Naik in the service of the Commandant of Ban- 
galor. The elder youth soon rose to distinction, 
while Haidar idled away his time in hunting and 
pleasure-seeking. It was not till 1749 that he 

* The Mussulman " Fakir" corresponds to the Hindu " Yogi' 
or " Bair4gi." 


first made his mark as a volunteer soldier in the 
service of Nanjiraj, who then ruled Maisiir m the 
name of its titular Rajah. 

Under the shelter of his new patron he soon 
gave full play to the talents and energies which 
had hitherto lain dormant, or been turned to little 
account. It is needless to follow him through 
each step of his remarkable career. Unlettered, 
but able, daring, crafty, and imscrupulous, he let 
slip no occasion which his greed or his ambition 
pointed out to him for bettering his own fortunes, 
at whatever cost to his friends or rivals. At on6 
moment fighting the Mardthas or the English, at 
another harrying insurgent Palikars, he gathered 
round him a body of troops who lived by plunder- 
ing friends and foes alike, and shared with their 
leader the profits of their frequent raids from his 
strong castle of Dindigal. Cattle, sheep, grain, 
clothes, earrings, turbans, all were fish for Haidar s 
wide-sweeping net. Of the booty which his 
followers won by force of arms or sleight of hand, 
one-half always went into Haidar's own cofifers, 
enabling him to swell the ranks of his little army, 
and to draw pay from the Government for troops 
nearly half of whom existed only on paper.* 

• Wilks's *• History of Mysoor," vol. I. 


haidar's successes. 93 

In a few years the Constable of Dindigal 
became a power in Maisur. His patron, Nan- 
jirdj, looked to him not in vain for help, now 
against his own unpaid and therefore turbulent 
soldiery, anon against the ever-raiding Marathas, 
and presently against a swarm of state creditors 
whose claims, real or pretended, the harassed 
MLiister had no heart to examine for himself. 
His successful services on each occasion won for 
Haidar the gratitude or the respect of all ranks 
and classes in Maisur. The Rajah greeted him 
with the title of "Bahadur;" Kanjiraj publicly 
embraced the saviour of his country ; his former 
rivals kept a becoming silence, or openly paid 
their court to the successful soldier and diploma- 
tist. His boldest opponent, Harri Singh, he had 
already through his faithful soldiers done to a 
violent death. The foremost man at the capital, 
the Governor by this time of Bangalor, the 
Minister's blindly-trusted friend, the General of 
established worth, Haidar saw in 1759 but one 
more step between him and the highest place in 
the government of Maisur. 

That step was soon taken. With the art of 
which he was a finished master, he so contrived 
that the disgrace of his old patron should seem to 


be the handiwork of the helpless Rajah, who little 
dreamed of the pit he was thus digging for his 
own downfall. Haidar rose at once into the 
banished Minister's place ; but ere long he too 
had to taste of the cup which Nanjiraj drank to 
the dregs. His trusted agent and well-rewarded 
accomplice, Kandi Kao, plotted against him with 
the Rajah and the Rajah's mother, and ruin for a 
moment stared him in the face. But his match- 
less cunning, cool effrontery, and quick-witted 
strength of will bore him safe through a hurricane 
of black disaster into the light of a new and fairer 
day. So deep at one time grew the darkness^ 
that be himself for a moment knew not which 
way to turn. One card only remained to piay* 
Stealing away by night from his beleaguered 
stronghold, Haidar rode in wild haste to Kuniir, 
where his old patron Nanjiraj still hugged the 
memory of his former state. At the feet of one 
whom he had so grievously wronged, the daring 
hypocrite poured out such a tale of sorrow for 
the past, of promised reparation in the future, 
that the heart of the fallen minister became at 
once touched with pity for an old friend, and fired 
with new hopes of a good time coming for him- 


It was the gambler's last throw for safety, and 
Haidar had won it. Aided by the name, the 
influence, and the resources of his new ally, he 
succeeded after a few more shifts and failures in 
turning the tables upon his worst foes. At the 
head of a victorious army he entered Seringapatam 
in May, 1761, and the helpless Rajah received a 
message which told him in other words that 
henceforth Haidar Ali Khan Bahddur regarded 
himself as the actual ruler of Maisur. As for 
Nanjiraj, it was not long before he learned the 
folly of trusting the honied words of a man who 
had once before outwitted and betrayed him. 

Happily for our countrymen in Madras, 
Haidar's return to power came several months 
too late to arrest the overthrow of French rule 
in Southern India. The troops which Haidar 
had despatched to Lally's aid in the middle of 
1760 had soon to be recalled for their master's 
own defence ; and the fall of Pondicherry in the 
following January sounded the knell of those 
schemes of conquest which Dupleix and Labour- 
donnais had first sought to realise. 

The self-made ruler of Maisur now proceeded 
to carry out against neighbouring countries the 
policy which had proved so successful at home. 


In the course of the next few years one province 
after another fell by force, or fraud, or purchase, 
into his greedy hands. The vast wealth of 
Bednor filled his treasury— the brave Nairs of 
Malabar paid for their resistance with the loss 
of Calicut — the internal troubles in the Dakhan 
and the weakness of the Marathas after the rout 
of Panipat gave him a motive and a pretext for 
fresh raids. The bold Maratha horsemen some- 
times found their match in the well-trained 
cavalry of Maisiir. At other times Haidar had 
to succumb to the force of superior numbers, 
and prudently surrendered a part of his new 
conquests in order to save the rest. 

At last in 1766 a new lion stood before him in 
the shape of a league between the Nizam and 
Mddhu Rao, the new Maratha Peshwa,* whose 
famous father, Balaji Rao, had died heart-broken 
after Pdnipat. Into this league our countrymen 
at Madras were dragged by the treaty of which 

* The office of Peshwa, or Lieutenant to the Maratha 
sovereigns of the house of Sivaji had for many years past been 
held by lineal successors of the Brahman, Balaji Vishwanath. 
Under Baji Rao and his successor Balaji, the power of the 
Peshwas gradually supplanted that of their nominal masters who 
reigned in Satara, until at Balaji's death the Peshwa of Puna 
had become the acknowledged head of the whole Maratha 


mention has already been made. Haidar's clever- 
ness or his good fortmie still befriended him. 
He bought oflF the Manithas with a heavy ransom 
and then set himself to break np the alliance 
between the English and Nizam Ali. So cun- 
ningly did he play his cards, that the Nizam 
agreed to join him in attacking the very force 
which had been sent from Madras to the Nizam's aid. 
Happily our troops, if few, were commanded 
fey one of the ablest soldiers whom the needs of 
Indian warfare ever brought to the front. With 
an army of only 7,000 men and sixteen guns. 
Colonel Smith in 1767 twice defeated 70,000 of 
the enemy, and in the second fight took sixty- 
four of their guns. Disheartened by these 
reverses and by the swift advance of a Bengal 
column towards his capital, the faithless Nizam 
was soon ready to throw over his new ally. 
This was the moment chosen by the Madras 
Council, not to annul their former treaty, but to 
renew it with even worse additions. Palk and 
his colleagues promised to help the Nizam with 
troops and guns against " Haidar Naik," as they 
scornfully described him, and to hold in fief* of 

* So in effect says Mill (book IV., ch. 8), while Auber (ch. 5) 
states that " care was taken so to word the treaty," tliat the 



that prince not only the Sarkars, but even those 
districts which they designed to wrest from the 
kingdom of Maisur. 

To the folly of such proceedings the Court of 
Directors were keenly alive. They had already 
condemned the policy which aimed at turning the 
Company into the " umpires of Indostan." They 
were for letting the Indian princes " remain as a 
check upon one another." It was not for their 
interest that either the Nizam or Haidar Ali 
should be altogether crushed. They wanted to 
hold aloof from the quarrels of the "countiy 
powers ; '' they dreaded the Marathas more than 
Haidar Ali ; and very strong was the language in 
which they denounced the bargain made in 1768 
with the Nizam for the possession of a province 
still held by the ruler of Maisur. In the large 
fortunes suddenly amassed by their servants in 
India, they saw only fresh grounds for the popular 
belief that "the rage for negotiations, treaties 
and alliances" aimed rather at private advantage 
than the public good. 

But long before these censures reached Madras, 

money-payment to Nizam Ali "should not appear to be by 
virtue of the Company's holding the Circars from the Nizam, 
but only in consideration of the friendship existing between 

haedab's march on madras. 99 

tidings yet more unpleasant were on their way 
home. Haidar's overtures for peace with the 
English, made more than once in 1768, had come 
to nothing ; mainly, it seems, through his own 
fault. For some months longer the war raged 
with var3dng fortune. Fresh negotiations opened 
in the following February were soon broken off 
— this time by the Madras Council. By the 
middle of March Haidar found himself hard 
pressed by his old opponent, Colonel Smith, near 
Chingalpat, about forty miles from Madras. 
Suddenly, turning southward, he drew Smith 
after him in slow and vain pursuit. Then, 
leaving his infantry and guns in the hills near 
Pondicheriy, the wily freebooter with six thou- 
sand of his best troopers turned back upon his 
steps, and swept past Chingalpat almost up to the 
very walls of Fort St. George. Smith hastened 
after him, but it was too late. The bold invader 
was already master of the position. At Haidar's 
own request Du Pr^ was sent by his trembling 
colleagues to the camp on Mount St. Thomas, 
which overlooked the city and suburbs of Madras. 
Smith's homeward march was stayed by an order 
to halt his troops. On the 3rd of April, 1769, five 
days after his sudden appearance before Madras 


as he wrote to his friend, Mrs. Hancock, was 
"not worse" than when he landed at Madras, 
but he was " not certain that it is better ; " and 
perhaps the hope of bettering it formed one strand 
in the rope of circumstances that drew him back 
to Bengal. 

Be that as it may, his letters of this date to 
friends and placemen at home, evince alike his 
pleasure at the new turn thus given to his pros- 
pects, and his gratitude to those who had used 
their influence on his behalf. "I could not lose," 
he writes to Francis Sykes, on January 30, 1772, 
" the first occasion to tell you how much joy it 
has given me to learn that I am much indebted 

to you for my late appointment You are 

the friend you have always professed yourself 
and you shall always find me your most warm, 
and hearty friend." Two days later, he writes 
to thank Sir George Colebrooke, then Chairman 
of the East India Company, for this fresh instance 
of his confidence, and to ask for his friendship as 
well as his support. Laurence Sulivan, a Direc- 
tor of the Company, meets with a like return of 
thanks and promises for his share in forwarding 
" this very unexpected change " in his friend's 
fortunes. That prudence may have helped to 


point some of these expressions of seeming grati- 
tude, we need not greatly care to question. It 
would be rash indeed to deny some mixture of 
motives in the conduct even of the most single- 
minded of men. But that Hastings was no hypo- 
crite, the whole story of his life, if studied fairly, 
ought to place beyond a doubt. 

The very letters to which I have been referring 
speak loudly in their writer's favour, as a man of 
warm heart, of a nature at once gentle, sensitive, 
and kindly, of fmnk yet winning manners, and 
upright aims. Through the veil of a somewhat 
stately diction, these pleasant traits reveal them- 
selves. He has " cased a pipe of old Madeira'' to 
be shared between his brother-in-law and Mrs. 
Hancock. He tells the latter to kiss his dear 
Bessy for him, and make her "remember and 
love her godfather, and her mother's sincere and 
faithful friend." His colleagues at the Council 
Board will ever have his kindest remembrance, 
for he "never did business with men of so much 
candour, or in general of better disposition." To 
another friend he writes of his happiness in 
leaving Mr. Du Pr^ still in the chair, and hopes 
the Directors "will encourage him to continue in 
it." In a farewell letter to Du Pr6 himself, he 


says, " I on my part shall never forget the many 
instances which I have received of your kindness, 
nor yet the very great and amiable qualities which 
eminently distingubhed your character, especially 
the r^incerity and candour of your expressions, 
and the gentleness of your manners." His friend 
Sykes is to have another pipe of Madeira by the 
next ship ; " old wine and the pipe cased." To 
Mr. and Mrs. Woodman he writes in the follow- 
ing strain : — 

''I cannot answer your letters, for I am at a distance from 
t?iem. I remember they told me you were all well; that Tommy 
was become a freat scholar, and my niece a most thriving and 
fine child— indeed, I have letters that speak wonders of her 
accompiishmonts. May every year bring me the same glad 
tidings ; I wish not for better, and would compound for many 
a misfortune to be sure of such an annual present. I leave this 
place in health and spirits, except what I feel in parting from it. 
Accept the repeated assurance of my affection, of my warmest 
wishes for your long, long continued happiness, my dearest bro- 
ther and sister, aunt. Tommy, Bessy ; may God bless and pro- 
tect you is the prayer of your most affectionate 


On the 2nd February, 1772, Hastings set sail 
from Fort St. George for Calcutta. During a 
voyage of nearly three weeks, he wrote to Sulivan 
and Colebrooke long letters on the recent course 
of affairs in Southern India. From these we 
Icurn how cruelly the free action of the Madras 

• Gleig's " Warren Hasting's," Vol. 1, Chap. vi. 

SIR J, Lindsay's proceedings. 107 

Government had been hampered by the unwise 
interference of the English ministry, who had 
sent out Sir John Lindsay, armed with powers 
that clashed directly with those of the Company's 
agents. While Dupr6 and his colleagues were 
trying to steer their way through the difficulties 
that beset them after the peace with Haidar Ali, 
Sir John was sowing the seeds of ftiture mis- 
chief with both hands. He encouraged the 
Nawab of Arkot to break loose from his old 
dependence on Fort St. George, and gratify his 
hatred of Haidar Ali by a league with the Mard- 
thas, whose growing power the Government of 
Fort St. George regarded with just misgiving. 
In vain had the hard-pressed ruler of Maisiir en- 
treated help from his new English allies, under 
the treaty of 1669. They could not help him if 
they would, and Haidar had to pay a heavy price 
for the dehverance of half his country from 
Maratha rule. If they could not help him in his 
need, the Madras Council steadily refused to take 
part with his assailants. But Lindsay's rash 
proceedings were destined to bear much fruit for 
evil. Haidar never forgave the English for what 
he regarded as a breach of faith, although his 
vengeance seemed to slumber for several years. 


Sir John Lindsay's successor in the command 
of the fleet, Sir Robert Harland, had been enjoined 
by the Ministers of George III. to act in all har- 
mony with the Madras Government.* But the 
post he held at the Court of Mohammad Ali, the 
Nawab of Arkot, gave him an authority which he 
too could not help wielding against the Company, 
whose '' honour and importance " were to have 
been his chief concern. It seemed to Hastings an 
evil day for his countrymen in India, when a 
King's minister came out to thwart the best 
efforts of the Company's officers, and to sow dis- 
sention between the Madras Council and the 
Prince who owed his well-being to their support. 

He saw nothing but mischief in the "un- 
natural powers " entrusted to Sir Robert Har- 
land ; " powers given, not to extend the British 
dominion, or increase the honour of the nation, 
but surreptitiously stolen out for the visible pur- 
pose of oppressing the King's subjects, and weak- 
ening the hands by which his influence is sus- 
tained in India." The Company's affairs, he 
wrote, " will never prosper, till the King's minis- 
ter is recalled. His presence can do no good. 
He alienates the Nabob from the Company, and 

* Auber's ** British Power in India," Vol. 1, Chap. vi. 


is the original cause of all the distress which you 
have suffered, and are like to suffer in your 

In the same strain Hastings proceeds to urge 
on Sir G. Colebrooke the need of removing the 
King's minister, as the only way of restoring to 
the Madras Government " that authority which 
it always exercised, till lately, in the administra- 
tion of the affairs of the Camatic:" His removal 
is needed in order that the Company may secure a 
share in all the advantages gained by their arms : 
*' at present the risk is almost wholly the Com- 
pany's, and the fruits entirely the Nabob's." To 
Sulivan he complains of the troubles brewed in 
Madras itself by the Nawab's Scotch partisans, 
" who inflame his jealousy of our government, 
feed his resentments with every rascally tale that 
the idle conversation of the settlement can furnish 
them with, and assist him in his literary polemics, 
for such his letters of the last two years may be 
truly called." 

In spite of the grievance thus vehemently 
urged, Hastings seems to have borne himself dis- 
creetly towards the Nawdb in the disputes that 
blazed between that Prince and the Madras Coun- 
cil. He had received at parting, " the warmest 


assurances of the Nabob's friendship," of his gra- 
titude for the " moderating *part-' which Hastings 
had played in many a recent controversy, and of 
his entire satisfaction with " eveiy part " of that 
gentleman's conduct towards himself. "This,'' 
says Hastings, " was too honourable a testimony 
for me to receive with a safe conscience, but I 
can with an unblemished one affirm that I never 
opposed any interest to his but that of my em • 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings/' Vol. 1. Chap. vi. 



The future Governor of Fort William reached 
Calcuttta about the 20th February, 1772 ; his 
friends, the Imhoffs, who had sailed with him 
from Madras, landing in his train. It was not 
till April that Cartier, who had succeeded Verelst 
in 1770, the year of the dreadfiil fitmine, which 
slew millions of people in Bengal, and left half 
the land a desert, handed over to Hastings the 
keys of office, a failing treasury, and a govern- 
ment sadly out of gear. Ever since Olive's 
departure from Bengal in 1767, the Company's 
affairs had been going more and more amiss. 
The rich provinces won by his sword, had been 
left in the hands of native governors and agents, 
who fleeced their own coimtrymen in the name 
of a puppet Nawab, living in idle state at 
Murshidabad on the noble income secured to him 
by the Company. An army of Faujdars, Amils, 


SitrrlarH, and »iich likegentrj' preyed, like leeches, 
UfKiii the fKjoplf!, and intercepted the revenues 
d(!Hi^ied fi^r the Coinfianj's use. The English 
nu]Htrvm)TH^ a[)iK>inted in 1769 to check these 
abuMCH, and to look after the revenue, were, in 
HantingH' wordn, "the lx)ys of the service," and. 
" nd(;rH, vc;ry heavy rulers, of the people." 
AgainHt the mischief caused by their ignorance 
or their greed, the Board of Revenue at Murshid- 
ublid strove vainly, if indeed it strove at all. 

Whili». trade languished, and money came in 
slowly at (/alcutta, and the Company's servants 
laid UV'W burdens on a rackrented and starving 
pCMiHuntry, the Company itself was paying in other 
ways the penalty of its transformation from a 
trading body into a political jx)wer. Besides the 
hiMUT tribute payable yearly to the Moghal Em- 
pen >r tbr the right of governing Bengal and. 
Iliduu\ and the large sums exiKMided in govern- 
ing thi>se pi\>vinoes through native officers, the 
India House mai^nates had to reckon at home 
with all the torvH\^ of [H>pular prejudice, party 
nu\v\mr, and otHoial iealousv. Macaulav has 

• iUo\,ij:V ** NViirwn UA#t\nc5i^," VoL 1. Chap. rii. (letter to 
^V^iNtN'^^ ; «*i? *\«^> Aubor** ** Bnti^ Power in India,'' VoL 1, 

THE "nabob" at home. 113 

told us in his own brilliant periods, how the 
Nabobs who had grown rich in the Company's 
service, by meaas too often blamable, returned 
home to become the envy, the horror, or the 
laughing-stock of their untravelled neighbours.* 
The fabled wealth of Ind semed no longer a fable 
in view of these pushing upstarts, who bought 
their way at all costs into the House of Com- 
mons, and eclipsed the splendour of the wealthiest 
county lords. The fame of their riches gave the 
Ministers of George III. a handle for fresh in- 
roads on the revenues of a Compaay, whose new 
political greatness was held to clash with the 
paramount rights of the Crown. In vain did the 
Court of Directors appeal on this point from Lord 
North to the Parliament. They were glad to 
compound the matters in dispute, by agreeing to 
pay the nation £400,000 a year for the privilege 
of holding at the Crown's pleasure the dominions 
they had won by treaty from Shah Alam. From 
these, aad other causes, it happened that the 
Company's debts in England and India had risen 
to more than two millions, or little less than the 
whole of their actual revenue. 

On the 13th April, 1772, Hastings entered 

* Macaulay's Essay on Lord Cliye. 



lonnally on his new duties. For some weeks 
past he had been steadily engaged, as he wrote 
to his friend Dupr^, in "reading, learning, but 
not inwardly digesting." It was now his turn 
to act. No one could have seen more clearly 
how much was comprehended in that word ; 
but he had hopes of able and willing support 
from his colleagues, and he wished tor nothing 

Within a fortnight, the new Governor of 
Bengal had taken the first steps towards efifect- 
ing a noteworthy revolution in the affairs of that 
province. Hitherto its internal government had 
been entrusted to a Naib Dewan, or deputy 
governor, who, in the Company's name, wielded 
almost supreme power in almost every depart- 
ment of the State. He had to look after aU 
matters concerning the revenue, the police, the 
law-courts, civil, and criminal, as well as the 
management of the young Nawab's household. 
Under the nominal control of the Company, he 
had become, indeed, as Hastings put it, "in 
everything but name the Nazim (ruler) of the 
province, and in real authority more than the 
Nazim.'' The officer to whom these large 

* Gleig's "Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, Chap. vii. 


powers had been entrusted by Clive himself, was 
Mohammad Reza Khan, a Mussulman noble of 
undoubted loyalty and long-established worth. 
At the same time the outlying province of Bahar 
was governed, in like manner, by Shitab Rai, 
the brave Hindu chief who had fought under 
the walls of Patna in the front rank of Knox's 

To this state of things, which tended to divorce 
the show of power from the substance, and so 
produce a rich growth of evils, the Court of 
Du'ectors, after the famine of 1770, resolved to 
proclaim an end. The sad results of the famine, 
and the tales they heard of fraud and oppression 
by the Naib Dewan, gave strength and colour to 
their new purpose. On the 24th April, Hast- 
ings received a letter, in which the Court de- 
clared their intention to "stand forth as Dewan," 
and to commit to their own servants " the entire 
care and manao^ement of the revenues" of Beno^al. 
Hastings was further instructed to divest Moham- 
mad Reza Khan, and all his underlings, " of any 
further charge or direction in the business of the 
collections," and to bring that officer himself 
down to Calcutta, to answer to the charges 
that might be brought against him, " both in 


respect to his pubKc administration and private 

On the very next day, Hastings set himself to 
carry out the Court's . instructions in his own 
way. The needful orders were issued to a trusty 
agent up the country ; and before Hastings' own 
Council knew what was doing, Mohammad Reza 
had quietly yielded himself a prisoner to Mr. 
Middleton, and was on his way, under a guard 
of Sepoys, from Murshidabad to Calcutta. With 
his wonted courtesy and love of fairplay, the 
Governor himself had written to assure the de- 
posed Dewdn of the deep regret with which he 
obeyed the commands of his masters at home, 
and of his readiness to help him " in his private 
character" as far as he honestly could. The 
same courtesy marked his treatment of the Rajah 
Shitab Raiy who, by an order of Council, not 
of Hastings, was likewise arrested and brought to 
Calcutta. The two were kept " in an easy con- 
finement," pending a careful enquiry into their 
alleged guilt. With the Council's sanction, 
Middleton was placed for a time in charge of the 
vacant Dewani. 

The progress of the enquiry was delayed for 

* Auber's "British Power in India," Vol. 1, Chap. vii. 


many months, by matters of yet more pressing 
importance. How to place the land revenue upon 
a sounder footing, was a question to which Hast- 
ings had busily addressed himself for some 
weeks before Cartier's retirement. When the 
new orders from England reached him, a scheme 
for settling the revenue for a term of years had 
already been laid before the Council, and a com- 
mittee appointed to carry it out. Early in the 
heats of a Bengal June, Hastings and his com- 
mittee set forth on a roimd of personal inspection 
through the various districts of Bengal. During 
many weeks of wet or stormy weather, they pur- 
sued their labours with much diligence, and, all 
things considered, with a fair degree of success.* 
The lands of Bengal were farmed out to the 
highest bidders among the Zamindars, or land- 
holders, who derived their right to L shaxe in 
the produce of the soil from patents granted to 
their ancestors by the Moghals. It was left for 
Englishmen of a later day to accept these land- 
lords, or rent-farmers, as real landowners of the 
modem English type. Hastings' committee took 

* Mill asserts (Book 5, Chap, i.) that Hastiimrg « did not pro- 
ceed with the committee ;" but we haye Hastings' own words, 
quoted by Mr. G-leig (Vol. 1, Chap. yiiL), to show that he did, 
at least ^r some part of their journey. 


them simply as they found them, explored the 
records of each estate and district, and strove to 
adjust their demands with due regard for the 
interests aUke of the governors and the governed. 
The rayats were protected in various ways from 
the extortions of the Zaminddrs and their agents. 
Some check was also placed on the power of the 
money-lenders to prey upon the rayats at a rate 
of interest ranging from three to twelve per cent, 
per month. Those Zamindars who bade too 
little for their lands, were pensioned off, and the 
lands put up to sale. 

If the committee did not wholly succeed in the 
work of settling the land-revenue, if in the next 
five years the defaulting Zamindars were to be 
counted by hundreds, and the arrears of unpaid 
revenue came to exceed two millions, if the coun- 
try still suffered from many shapes of oppression 
and misrule, it must be remembered that the 
reformers were almost, if not wholly, new to their 
difficult work, that the land-tenures of India were 
to our countrymen a cipher of which they lacked 
the key, and that a body of English traders, who 
might be *' dead hands at investments,"* would 

• Kaye's " Administration of tLe East India Company," 
Part 2, Chap. ii. 


take some time to learn the duties of practical 
statesmen in a country which had been more or 
less misgoverned for centuries past. 

The reforms thus begun invoved others. Eng- 
lish Collectors replaced many of the native Amils 
in the civil management of districts larger than 
most of our English shires. The Board of Revenue 
was transferred from Murshidabad to Calcutta. 
The magisterial and judicial powers, hitherto 
wielded by native Dewans, Faujdars, and Za- 
mindars, were largely curtailed, by the creation 
in each district of a civil and a criminal court., 
in which the Collector ruled supreme. In Cal- 
cutta itself were established two Courts of Appeal 
for civil and criminal cases. Over one of these, 
the Sadr Dewdni Addlat^ or chief civil court, 
the Governor hiii\self, with two members of his 
Council presided. The Sadr Nizdmat Addlat^ 
or criminal court, was still entrusted to a native 
Daroga, or Judge, appointed by the Governor in 
Council. In each court the judges were aided 
by native assessors, skilled in expounding the 
dark points of Hindu and Mohammadan law. 
All these changes were effected, or set on foot, 
during the first year of Hastings' government. 

Nor was the Governor idle in other directions. 


In furtherance of the new movement for getting 
rid of double government in Bengal, he abolished 
the office of Naib Subah, hitherto held by Mo- 
hammad Reza Khan, as Vicegerent for the Nawdb 
himself. The Nawab's stipend was cut down, 
imder orders from England, to siKteen lakhs of 
rupees, or about £160,000 a year. The same 
economy was directed against the pension-list 
and the expenses of the Nawab's household. As 
guardian of the httle Prince, who had but lately 
succeeded to his shadowy throne, Hastings selected 
the Manni Begam, widow of the unfortunate Mir 
Jafar. In compliance with the tenour of his 
instructions from the Court of Directors, ho 
appointed Rajah Gurdds, son of his old enemy, 
Nand -Kumar, to the post of Dewan, or Controller 
of the Household. To Nand-Kumar himself, for 
very good reasons, he bore no love ; and the mis- 
deeds of that wily Brahman, his plots, his trea- 
sons, and his forgeries, were well known to the 
India-house Directors. But they had bidden 
Hastings make what use he could of the traitor's 
services, and Hastings saw his way to using them 
through the son. 

"I erpedt," lie wrote to Dupr6, "to be mucL abused for my 
choice of the Dewan, because his father stands convicted of 


treason against the Company while he was the servant of Meer 
Jaffier, and I helped to convict him. The man never was a 
favourite of mine, and was engaged in doing me many ill offices 
for seven years together. But I found him the only man who 
could enable me to Ailfil the expectations of the Company with 
respect to Mahommed Reza Cawn ; and I had other reasons, 
which will fully justify me when I can make them known. For 
these and those I supported his son, who is to benefit by his 
abilities and influence ; but the father is to be allowed no autho- 
rity, lest people should be suspicious of his misusing it. 

What those other reasons were may, perhaps, 
be gathered from Hastings' official minute of 
July, 1772, in which the need of employing the 
vigilance and activity of Nand-Kumdr, to coun- 
teract the designs of his hated rival, Mohammad 
Reza Khan, and to eradicate the latter's influence 
in the government of Bengal aiid in the Nawab's 
family, is declared to be the sole motive for the 
appointment of Gurdas.* Some members of 
the Calcutta Council at first opposed this mea- 
sure, as tantamount to appointing Nand-Kumdr 
himself. But further discussion seems to have 
turned their reluctance into assent, and the young 
man was duly installed in the post designed for 
him by his father's foe. 

Among the matters to which Hastings set his 
reforming hand, were the improvement of the 
Company's trade, and the repression of corrupt 

• MiU'fl " British India," Book 6, Chap. i. 


practices among their servants. The Directors 
had enjoined him to chastise severely all who, in 
the teeth of their orders, had conspired to set up 
a monopoly of salt, betel-nut, tobacco, rice and 
other grains, during the recent famine. These 
injunctions he obeyed in the spirit rather than 
the letter, tempering firmness with dehcacy in 
his arrangements for suppressing the unlawfiil 
traffic. With regard to matters of mere trade, 
his letters of this period show his conversance 
with all kinds of practical details, the keenness of 
his appetite for fresh knowledge, and the readi- 
ness with which he could turn from larger sub- 
jects to discuss some new method of preparing 
silk thread, or to give advice about the purchase 
of cocoons. 

Of the multifarious duties which had devolved 
upon him, and the heavy labours which he had 
thus far taken in hand, Hastings himself has left 
us a lively picture in the following extract from 
a letter written in October, from Calcutta, to his 
friend Du Pr6 : — 

" Here I now am, with arrears of business of months, and 
some of years to bring up ; with the courts of justice and offices 
of revenue to set a-gomg ; with the official reformation to 
resume and complete ; with the Lapwing to despatch ; with the 
trials of Mohammad Eeza Cawn and Kaja Shitabroy to bring 


on, without materials, and without much hope of assistance. . . . 
and with the current trifles of the day, notes, letters, personal 
applications, every man's business of more consequence than 
any other's, complainants from every quarter of the province 
halloaing me by hundreds for justice as often as I put my head 
out of window, or venture abroad, and, what is worse tluin all, 
a mind discomposed, and a temper almost fermented to vinegar 
by the weight of affairs to which the former is unequal, and by 
everlasting teazing. We go on^ however, though slowly ; and 
in the hopes of support at home, and of an easier time here 
Tihen proper channels are cut for the affairs of the province to 
flow in, I persevere, Neither my health nor spirits, thank God, 
have yet forsaken me." 

He goes on to say that the powers entrusted 
to him in these matters " tend to destroy every 
other that I am possesssd of, by arming my hand 
against every man, and every man's, of course, 
against me." For that present, however. For- 
tune smiled upon her future victim ; and the 
praises which the new Governor received from 
his friends in India were ratified by the terms in 
which the Secret Committee at home recorded 
their " entire approbation " of his conduct, and 
assured him of their "firmest support" in accomp- 
lishing the work he had so successfully begun.* 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings,** Vol. 1, Chap. vii. 



It was not till the early part of 1773 that 
Mohammad Reza Ehan and the Rajah Shitab Rai 
were brought to trial before a committee over 
which Hastings himself presided. Neither of the 
prisoners seems to have felt the hardship of a delay 
which suited the Governor's purposes little less 
than their own. To them it gave time for the 
preparation of their defence, while it gave 
Hastings time to " break their influence," and to 
push on the great work of administrative reform 
in the lines marked out for him by the Court of 
Directors. In the pressure of public business 
consequent on their avowed decision to " stand 
forth as Dewan," he had found ample excuse for 
putting off the trial, until the new policy had 
been established on a sure foundation. " Do not 
impute these delays to my inattention," — he 
writes to Sir George Colebrooke — "my whole 


time and all my thoughts, I may add all my 
passions, are devoted to the service of the 
Company ; and I am sure I do not labour in 
vain. But you cannot form a conception of the 
infinite calls which I have perpetually upon me, 
by the greatest charge which has devolved to this 
government, every part of which is now full, and 
the channels through which . the business of it 
should flow scarcely opened for its conveyance."* 

Of Shitab Rai's innocence Hastings seems 
never to have felt much, if any, doubt ; and the 
first days of the Rajah's trial left him firmly 
convinced that the brave Governor of Patna 
would "escape with credit." Hastings could 
" discover no defect " in his conduct, whUe he 
had certainly " shown himself an able financier." 
"Indeed," says Hastings in a letter to Sykes, 
" I scarce know why he was called to account." 

The inquiry, which was virtually ended in 
April, issued three months later, as the Governor 
had foreseen, in an honourable acquittal. Under 
a new title Shitab Rai was restored in effect to 
his former dignities ; and the Governor spared 
no marks of respect or courtesy that might serve 
to atone for a wrong of which his Council had 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings," VoL L, Chap. 8. 


been the real authors. In August the Maharajali 
set out for Patna ; but, whether from the climate 
of Calcutta or from the forced inaction that 
encouraged the morbid broodings of a wounded 
spirit, his health was so broken that he survived 
the journey but a few weeks.* His son, Kalidm 
Singh, was at once installed by Hastings in the 
vacant offices of Rai-Rayan and Naib-Nazim, 
Chief Treasurer and Deputy -Governor of Bahar, 
"from an entire conviction of the merits and 
faithful sei'vices, and in consideration of the late 
sufferings of his deceased father." 

The trial of Mohammad Reza Khdn on 
various grave charges of fraud and embezzlement, 
lingered on until the following March. It proved 
to be "a tedious and troublesome business ;" but 
Hastings never shrank fi'om trouble in the dis- 
charge of a public duty ; . and in this matter, at 
any rate, his sense of duty did not clash with a 
strict regard for justice. The charges against 
the late Naib Dewan were investigated from day 
to day with unwearied patience ; Hastings him- 
self filling the twofold part of examiner and 

* Maeaulay, following Mill, kills him of a broken Leart; but 
this, aH "Wilson justly remarks in one of his notes to Mill's 
"History" is "a gratuitous supposition." — (Book V., O^ap. 8.) 


interpreter. The result of examining scores of 
witnesses and hundreds of documents for either 
side served only to deepen his distrust of Nand- 
Kumar, and to convince him that even if Mo- 
hammad Reza Khan were guilty on any point, 
the time for proving him so had gone by. Nand- 
Kumdr himself, the mainspring of the whole 
proceedings, broke down egregiously at every 
turn. Hastings spent hours and days, he tells 
us, "in listening to the multiplied but indefinite 
accounts and suggestions'' of the man upon 
whose abilities and active malignity he had relied 
for proofs of some kind in a case of such import- 
ance. But the evil old Brahman could only 
produce accounts that proved nothing, and re- 
iterate charges which he always failed to bear out. 
At last the long trial ended in an acquittal, and 
the prisoner was set conditionally free. But the 
question of his future disposal was referred home 
to the India House ; and the Directors, though 
half unwiUing to accept the issue of an inquiry 
ordered by themselves at the prompting of a 
worthless schemer, declared their approval of 
Hastings' conduct, and restored the victim of 
NandKumdr's hate and their rashness not only to 
freedom, but ere long to much of his former 


eminence. More fortunate than his fellow suf- 
ferer, Mohammad Reza Khan lived to hold 
high office under the new Government of Bengal, 
and to see his old enemy undergo the death of a 
convicted felon. 

To Hastings himself, the result of this enquiry 
was the removal of a heavy load of care and mis- 
givings from a mind at once tenacious of its own 
conclusions, and keenly sensitive to the opinions 
of men in power. The despatches from the 
India House brought him manifest tokens of his 
masters' goodwill, and full assurance of their 
readiaess to uphold and develope the new system 
of direct government in Bengal. On this point 
therefore he had nothing more to fear. 

Some further changes in the machinery of 
govenment were soon to occupy his attention. 
The English Collectors appointed under the new 
system were found unequal to those fiscal duties 
of which they had no experience; and their 
powers were transferred, in 1774, to native Amils, 
or revenue officers, controlled by a Committee of 
Revenue, which sat daily in Calcutta to hear 
complaints from rayats or other aggrieved per- 
sons, and by a staff of English Commissioners, who 
from time to time were to " visit such districts as 


might require a local investigation." The 
CoUectorates were grouped into six divisions, each 
administered by a Provincial Council, whose 
duties ranged from the hearing of appeals in civil 
suits, to a close inspection of revenue accounts, 
and a careful inquiry into land tenures.* 

One especial object on which Hastings had set 
his heart, was already far towards accomplish- 
ment. He had given the country a judicial 
system which, however imperfect, aimed at deal- 
ing uniform justice, on fixed principles, to all 
classes alike. This great boon he hastened to 
better, by planning a Code of Hindu and Moham- 
madan Law for the guidance of the new Courts. 
One part of the task was comparatively easy, for 
a good, if lengthy, digest of Mohammadan law 
had been made by order of the Emperor Aurang- 
zib. But the Hindu laws, which concerned two- 
thirds of the people of Bengal, still lay embedded 
in a multitude of books, written in a language 
which only a few learned Pandits could under- 
stand. If a question of law was referred to the 
Pandits for their opinion, justice was often seri- 
ously delayed ; if the case at issue was decided 
without their aid, justice was liable to sad mis- 

* Auber's " British Power in Lidia," Vol. 1, Chap. viii. 


carriages. In a long letter to the great Lord 
Mansfield, Hastings tells how he had invited ten 
of the most learned Pandits to Calcutta, " to 
form a compilation of the Hindoo laws, with the 
best authority which could be obtained," and how 
their labours had issued in the production of a 
Code which would give confidence to the people, 
and enable the Courts to decide with certainty 
and despatch.* 

From its original Sanskrit, the Code was 
speedily translated into Persian. Mr. Halhed, of 
the Company's civil service, then set to work 
upon an English translation, which he completed 
early in 1775. f The result of his labours was 
dedicated to Hastings, by whom the work had 
been planned, and to whose influence its execu- 
tion was mainly due. While it was stiU in pro- 
gress, Hastings sent the first two chapters to 
Lord Mansfield, " as a proof that the inhabitants 
of this land are not in the savage state in which 
they have been unfairly represented.'' 

Meanwhile Hastings employed his spare ener- 
gies on other matters of more or less moment. 
He had to reform the police of Calcutta, to re- 

* Gleig*s " Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, Chap. viii. 

t Auber's *' British Power in India," Vol. 1, Chap. viii. 


press the plague of Dakaity in the provinces, to 
deal with a formidable inroad of Sanyasi fanatics, 
and to drive the invading Bhiitias out of Kuch- 
Bahar. The Dakaits, or gang-robbers of Bengal, 
had driven a roaring trade in murder and rapine 
throughout the troubled period which, after the 
death of Aurangzib, beheld the gradual disrup- 
tisn of the Moghal Empire. Like the brigands 
of Greece and Sicily they flourished upon the 
weakness, the fears, or the complicity of their 
peaceful neighbours. " They are robbers by 
profession, and even by birth ; " wrote the Com- 
mittee of Circuit to the Calcutta Council in 1772, 
" they are formed into regular communities, and 
their families subsist by the spoils which they 
bring home to them ; they are all therefore aUke 
criminal wretches, who have placed themselves 
in a state of declared war with Government, and 
are therefore wholy excluded from every benefit 
of its laws." * They were mostly members, in 
fact, of a great robber-caste, bound together by 
hereditary ties, by the use of a secret language 
and secret signs, and, like the Thags of a later 
day, by the common observance of religious rites. 

* Quoted in Kaye's " Adminktration of the East India Com- 
pany/' Part 3, Cliap. ill. 


Di<;rui.sed as travellers or pilgrims, they would . 
Hit out in gangs of thirty or forty, with long 
walking-sticks for their only visible weapons. 
But hidden about them were sharp spear-heads, 
of which those sticks were the convenient handles. 
They had emissaries in every village, who kept 
them furnished ^nth all needful information. 
The doomed village was always attacked by 
night. Awakened by the sudden glare of torches 
and the noise of shouting men, the startled 
sleepers seldom found time or courage to make a 
rescJute defence. Merchants, bankers, peasants, 
all were plundered without mercy, and those 
were fortunate who escaped with their lives. A 
I>art, often a large part, of the booty thus gained, 
was set aside for the Zaminddr, on whose lands, 
or with whose connivance, the crime had been 
committed. The village headman, also, and even 
the Thdnaddr, or chief constable, came in for 
tlicir several shares. 

Hastings saw the full extent of the evil, and 
j)rcpared to suppress it with a strong hand and a 
stern spirit. With his Council's sanction, he 
(Iccrcjcd that every convicted Dakait should be 
hanged in his own village ; that the village itself 
should be fined, each man according to his sub- 


stance, and that the convict's family should " be- 
come the slaves of the State, and be disposed of 
for the general benefit and convenience of the 
people, according to the discretion of the Govern- 
ment.''* To this last measure no objection can 
fairly be raised. Even in England, Wilberforce 
had not yet begun his long struggle against 
slavery ; and in India, where slaves were treated 
as children of their master's own family, it 
seemed fair to argue that the well-being alike of 
the State and the Dakait's children, would be 
furthered by a measure which might deter many 
from a life of crime. 

Hastings would have gone yet further, to the 
extent of holding the Zamindars themselves an- 
swerable for gang-robberies on their estates. Of 
their complicity he had no doubt, and the fact 
was proved some time afterwards on the clearest 
evidence. But his proposals seem to have been 
rejected by the majority of a Council in which 
he had only a casting vote. His letters of this 
period show how keenly he regretted the lack of 
that power to over-rule his colleagues at need, 
which was afterwards entrusted to the weakest of 

* Kaye's "Administration of the East India Company," Part 3 
Chap. iii. 


his successors. It says much for his personal 
influence, that he carried his Council with him 
on many questions that justified debate. But on 
this occasion, all his tact, patience, and powers 
of suasion failed to win the Council over to his 
views ; and the evil which he would have sup- 
pressed by timely measures of sweeping stern- 
ness, lived on to vex the greatest of Indian 
Viceroys known to this century.* In dealing 
with the Sanydsi "bandits," as he calls them, 
Hastings was much more successful. He describes 
them as a race of wandering Fakirs, from the 
country lying south of the hills of Tibet. They 
went "mostly naked," had " neither towns, houses, 
or families,' but roved continually from place 
to place, "recruiting their numbers with the 
healthiest children they can steal in the countries 
through which they pass." The terror inspired 
by their courage, strength and enthusiasm, was 
heightened by the awe in which, on account of 
their supposed sanctity, these " gypsies of Hin- 
dostan" were held by Hindus of all classes.f 
They seem to have crossed the Brahmaputra in 

• Lord Dalhousie, in 1862, complained of the prevalence of 
gang-robberies in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, 
t Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, Chap. Yiii, 


large bodies, robbing and ravaging the country 
through which they marched on their yearly pil- 
grimage to the shrine of Jagannath, in Orissa. 
One of these bodies in Rangpur defeated two 
small parties of Pargana Sepoys — "a rascally 
corps," says Hastings — and cut off the two Eng- 
lish officers who led them. Several battalions of 
regular Sepoys had to be employed in fighting, 
or rather chasing back these hardy ruffians in 
1773, and troops were afterwards posted along 
the frontier, to guard against future troubles 
from the same quarter. 

At the same time, other troops were waging a 
harder fight against fiercer foes in Kuch-Bahar, 
a tract of fertile country Ijmig at the foot of the 
Bhutdn Himalayas. In 1772, its young Rajah 
had appealed to Hastings for help in driving the 
Bhutia invaders back to their own hiUs. In re- 
turn he offered to place his little kingdom under 
British rule, and to pay over half his revenues to 
the Government of Bengal. His prayer was 
granted, and a small Sepoy force hastened to his 
aid. The men of Bhutan fought valiantly, on 
one occasion for seven hours, against their new 
assailants ; but Sepoy discipline under English 
leading overbore the stubborn highknders, and 


erelong the Deb Rajah, who had led the invasion, 
was glad to make peace on terms which restored 
to him his lost strongholds, and secured to 
Bhutia Merchants the right of trading with 

Out of this campaign arose the first British 
mission ever sent into Tibet. The Teshu Ldma, 
one of the two rival Ldmas, or Buddhist Popes, 
who held sway over that unknown corner of the 
Chinese Empire, had written to Hastings an 
intercessory letter on behalf of the Deb Rajah, 
whose misconduct he fully admited, while plead- 
ing for merciful treatment from the Power whose 
wrath his unruly subject had provoked. One 
result of this letter, was the treaty which Hast- 
ings concluded with the Rajah in 1774. Another 
shortly followed in the despatch of George Bogle, 
a young civil servant of high promise and already 
proven worth, as special envoy to the Lama's 
court. Always zealous in the furtherance of his 
masters' interests, Hastings saw a good opening 
for friendly intercourse between India and Tibet ; 
and his choice of fit agents for the work in hand 
was fully justified on this occasion, as on many 
others. The young envoy spoke of him to his 
own friends with the same warm appreciation 

bogle's mission to TIBET. 137 

which Lord Wellesley won from Sir Charles 
Metcalfe, and with which every officer of mark in 
India spoke of the Marquis of Dalhousie.* 

Bogle set out on his journey to Tassisudon, the 
capital of Bhutdn, laden with presents for the 
Lama and samples of Indian goods. He was to 
make diligent inquiry into all matters bearing 
upon the special object of his mission, and to note 
down, from day to day, all that seemed to him 
"characteristic of the people, their manners, cus- 
toms, buildings, cookery, the country, the climate, 
or the road/' Nor was this the whole of his 
task, for Hastings wanted him to learn all he 
could of the course of the Brahmaputra, the 
countries through which it flowed, and the yet 
more distant regions of Tartary and China. 
Further, he had to send to Calcutta samples of 
strange plants and animals, including shawl goats, 
and " cattle which bear what are called cow-tails, "f 
Curiosities of any kind that might be "acceptable 
to persons of taste in England," were added to 
the list. 

account of 

Jjl flilTflitjlVfi OI 

Bogle's Mission." Triibner & Co., 1876. 
t Now known as Yaks. 


Bogle was accompanied by an assistant suT" 
geon named Hamilton. At Tassisudon they were 
kindly received by the new Deb Rajah, who had 
replaced the defeated invader of Kuch Bahar. 
A long journey northwards across the Himalayas 
brought them to Desherigpay, in the heart of 
Tibet. Here the travellers found a warm wel- 
come from the Teshu Lama, in whose train they 
recrossed the Tsdnpu, or upper Brahmapiitra, to 
the Lama's palace at Teshu-Lumbo. They would 
have gone on, as Hastings wished them, with their 
host's consent, to Lhasa itself, but the Regent at 
that city proved less friendly to foreigners, or 
more amenable to Chinese dictation ; and in June, 
1775, Bogle found himself back in Calcutta, re- 
ceived by his patron with open arms, but regarded 
with coldness by the new Councillors, whose per- 
sistent eflForts to thwart, to humble, and to annoy 
their President had already begun. 

But this new chapter in the life of Hastings 
must for the present remain unopened. Down 
nearly to the end of 1774, he was still virtually 
his own master in the government of Bengal. 
He had made his influence felt, on the whole for 
good, in every branch of the public service. His 
zeal for the Company's interests had always been 


tempered by the prudence of a statesman, the 
shrewdness of a man of business, and the humanity 
of a just and kind-hearted ruler. The trade of 
the country had been stimulated by the removal 
of local imposts, and the adoption of a low uni- 
form customs duty. The weavers were left free 
to make their own bargains for the goods sup- 
plied to the Company ; a bank was started in 
Calcutta for the public benefit ; the opium trade 
was brought under Government control ; and, 
what Hastings reckoned no small boon to his 
people, the old duties on marriage were wholly 
swept, away. 



" The new Government of the Company consists 
of a confused heap of undigested materials, as 
wild as the chaos itself/' So wrote Hastings to 
his colleague, Barwell, in July, 1772. We have 
seen how far in the next two years his govern- 
ment had succeeded in evolving order out of that 
chaos. If his efforts to improve the Company's 
revenues had borne but little immediate fruit, he 
had done his best at any rate to keep down the 
public debt, to encourage thrift in every depart- 
ment, and to increase the balances in the Calcutta 
exchequer. In retrenching the military outlay, 
he found himself engaged in "a violent squabble " 
with the general commanding the Bengal Army, 
Sir Robert Barker,* a brave but hot-tempered 
officer of the Royal ArtUlery, who had served 

* Stubbs's " History of the Bengal Artillery," Vol. 1, Ch. i.» 
note A. 


with credit against Lally in 1758. It need 
hardly be added that the violence of the squabble 
was all on one side. Sir Robert's angry remon- 
strances against economies which seemed to him 
unwise were met by Hastings with courteous 
answers, regretting the strong language provoked 
by his reduction of three hundred black troopers, 
and pleading his earnest desire to "live in peace 
with all men." 

In the midst of his peaceful labours, the 
Governor's attention was continually called iaway 
to matters of foreign pohcy. In the troubles 
brewing outside the Bengal frontier he saw signs 
of danger to the peace of his own provinces. 
The restless Marathas had already recovered 
from the blow inflicted on their power at Pdnipat. 
Alike in Southern and Northern India their 
successes and their ambition seemed to foretel the 
establishment of an empire wider than that of the 
Moghals. In 1769 Madhu Rao, the Peshwa of 
Puna, sent forth a mighty army to despoil the 
princes and ravage the populous plains of Hin- 
dustan. After levying black mail on the Jats 
and Rajputs, the invaders swept over Rohil- 
khaiid, threatened Oudh, and, driving the 
Moghals before them, entered Delhi in the 
winter of 1770. 


The new masters of that imperial city, at once 
invited Shah Alam thither from his temporary 
capital of Allahabad. That weak but ambitious 
scion of the house of Babar, caught with pardon- 
able eagerness at the prospect of revisiting the 
home whence he had fled, in 1757, to escape the 
murderous clutches of the ruffianly Ghazi-ud- 
din.* In spite of the dissuasions of the Calcutta 
Council he set forth, in 1771, with his little army 
from Allahabad ; and Christmas Day of that same 
year saw him escorted into Delhi by Sindhia's 
horsemen, and installed on the throne of Akbar 
by the men whose fathers had so rudely shaken 
the empire of Aurangzlb. 

Early in the next year, he set out, in company 
with his new allies, to reconquer some of his 
ancestral domains lying to the north of Delhi. 
The campaign finished to their common satisfac- 
tion, he returned to his capital at the beginning 
of the rainy season. But the burden of his new 
alliance sat heavy on the restored monarch, who 
found, or deemed himself a mere cipher in the 
hands of his overbearing patrons. The booty 
which they had promised to share with him, they 

» The Vizier, and afterwards the murderer of Shah Alam's 
father, Alamgir II. 


kept entirely for themselves. They fomented 
disturbances aroiuid his capital, and attacked the 
forces which he sent against the insurgents.* 
His best general, Mirza Najaf Khan, was beaten 
by the hosts of Tukaji Holkar ; before the year's 
end, Delhi was entered by the booty-laden vic- 
tors ; and the helpless monarch was forced to 
purchase a brief rest from trouble, by agreeiag to 
surrender into Mardtha hands those provinces of 
Korah and Allahabad, which Clive had made 
over to him in IV 65. 

The Eliglish, however, were not prepared to 
see these provinces, which linked Bengal with 
Oudh, pass into the hands of their most formid- 
able foes. On this poiat, Hastings and his Coun- 
cil were soon of one miad. If the Company were 
strongly set against any fiirther enlargement of 
their possessions, might not these provinces be 
restored for a handsome money payment to the 
Nawab-Vazir of Oudh, from whom they had 
once been wrested by our arms ? Of late years 
the Nawab had shown himself our firm ally, 
while Shah Alam had not only flung himself into 
the hands of our enemies, but had even intrigued 
against his English friends by sending an envoy 

• Keene's " Fall of the Moghul Empire," Book 2, Chap. iiL 


to the King of England, to treat for the transfer 
of JJengal from the Company to the Crown.* 
This, and some other acts of unfriendliness, may 
have been provoked by the recent feilure of the 
Bengal Government to pay Shah Alam his yearly 
tribute, on account of the losses entailed by the 
famine of 1770, and of his own withdrawal from 
AUahabiid. Hastings himself, at first, made light 
of the danger which threatened his own provinces 
from the aiTjuigement made between the Emperor 
and the Marathas. Narayan Rao, a youth of 
nineteen, had just succeeded his brother, Madhu 
Kao, as Peshwa, and the Marathas, reduced in 
number, were " sick of a long campaign.*' 
In the first days of 1773, Hastings saw "no good 
ciuise to interfere.'' But the Council voted 
pi\)mptly for uiterference, and Hastings clinched 
his adhesion to the ix)licy thus ordained with" 
the uttomnce of a wish that "it could with honour 
and sjifety have been avoided/' 

The Company's troops were at once ordered to 
woupy Ivorah and Allahabad. These provinces 
the Governor would still have held for Shah 

• ^lajor John ^lorrison. formerly a Companv's officer, who 
nftoTwariia tix^k service with Shah Alam. Gleig*8 "Warren 
Haatiugs," Vol. 1, Chap. viii. 


Alam, if that prince would only have agreed to 
follow the Governor's counsel. But he would 
listen to no advice or oflfers from Calcutta unless 
his arrears of tribute were promptly paid. To all 
such demands Hastings turned a deaf ear. To 
pay the Emperor his arrears would be tantamoimt 
to enriching the ravenous Mardthas, whose tool 
and accomplice he had become. His desertion 
of us/' wrote Hastings to Laurence Sulivan, 
" and union with our enemies, leave us without a 
pretence to. throw away more of the Company's 
property upon him, especially while the claims of 
our Sovereign are withheld for it." To prevent 
all further misimderstanding on this score, Hast- 
ings informed the Emperor that he must look for no 
more tribute from Bengal. This step was greeted 
with hearty approval by the Court of Directors, 
who some years before had suggested it as a 
fitting punishment for any attempt of the Em- 
peror to "fling himself into the hands of the 
Marathas, or any other power." 

Hastings owns that this seeming breach of 
faith was regarded " in the most criminal light " 
by many persons, both in India and at home. 
But it must be remembered that he had better 

means of threading the maze of Indian politics, 



than any of those who found fault with him. 
Shah Alam had broken away from his English 
friends and thrown himself into the arms of their 
most dreaded enemies. Hastings had watched 
the gradual resurrection of the Mardtha power 
after the rout of Pdnipat ; and he looked upon 
Shah Alam as something more than a mere tool 
in the hands of his new patrons. In surrender- 
ing to these the provinces which Olive's bounty 
had bestowed upon him, the Emperor had broken 
the contract which entitled him to receive tribute 
from Bengal. Hastings may have judged his 
conduct too harshly ; but against the error of 
judgment, if such there were, may be set the 
necessities of a position which left him no choice 
between acting harshly for the public good, and 
endangering the Company's rule by strict 
adherence to the letter of a covenant. 

The next step be took in fartherance of the 
new policy, was destined to bring down upon biTrn 
a yet wider and fiercer storm of reprobation. 
Shujdi-ad-daula, the Nawdb-Varir of Oudh, had 
already proposed, not only to buy back the pro- 
vinces forfeited by the Emperor, but to purchase 
the aid of our troops in conquering Eolulkhand, 
the fruitful, weH-wooded and well-watered pro- 


vince which lay between Oudh and the northern 
Himalayas. This tract of country had been 
conquered, early in the century, by bands of 
Rohilla Pathans, a tribe of plundering, war-loving 
Afghans, who, under the Moghal standard, carved 
out broad fiefs for themselves on the rich plains 
eastward of the Upper Ganges. On the bloody 
field of Panipat, they had fought with their 
wonted courage on the side of Islam and the 
Empire against the hosts of the infidel Marathas. 
Since then, they had carried their arms across the 
Ganges, had quarrelled with each other at home^ 
and otherwise helped to increase the chaos of 
fighting, intrigue, plunder^ and perfidy, which, 
obscures the history of the following decade^ 

At last the time came, when the Pathan lords 
of Rohilkhand found themselves powerless to 
withstand the flood of Mardtha invasion. Their 
leader, Hafiz Rahmat Khan,, appealed for help to 
Shuja-ad-daula, the son of their old foe. 
The crafty ruler of Oudk agreed to furnish it, 
if Rahmat Khdn would pledge himself to pay his 
new ally the simi of forty lakhs of rupees — about 
£450,000 — for driving the Mardthas out of Rohil- 
khand. A treaty to this effect was signed in 
July J 1772. In May of the following year,^ tha 


Marathas withdrew to their own country before 
a combined movement of troops from Oudh and 
Bengal. The Nawab-Vazir claimed from Hafiz 
Rahmat the ftilfilment of his bond. On one plea 
or another, the Rohilla leader evaded the claiiii. 
His wily creditor, forgetftil of the kindness shewn 
him in his hour of need by Rahmat's country- 
men,* caught at so good a handle for carrying 
out his father's schemes against Rohilkhand. 
He had already persuaded the Emperor to be- 
stow upon him the office of Protector,f which 
Rahmat Khan had assumed without warrant. It 
only remained now to secure the countenance, if 
not the active aid, of his English allies. 

In answer to his proposals Hastings, with his 
Councirs consent, agreed to an interview with 
the Nawab-Vazir. The meeting took place in 
August at Banaras. To the Nawab's overtures 
Hastings listened with no unwilling ear. His 
fear of the Mardthas, who would retire only to 

renew their raids on the first opportunity, his 
deep distrust of Shah Alam, his belief in Shuja's 

» Wnen Shuja fled, in 1766, before the English advance into 
Oudh, after the battle of Baxar, the Rohillas sheltered him and 
his family, and placed 3,000 of their troops at his commaad. 
Keene's " Mogliul Empire," Book 2, Chap. i. 

t " Hafiz " means " Protector." 

THE NAWAB's agreement WITH HASTINGS. 149 

usefulness, and his zeal for bettering the Com- 
pany's finances, all conspired to lead him in the 
direction pointed out by his able but unscru- 
pulous ally. For the sum of fifty lakhs — more 
than half a million — ^he agreed to make over to 
the ruler of Oudh the provinces of Korah and 
Allahabad. For the services of a British brigade, 
whenever needed, the Nawab-Vazlr bound him- 
self to pay the Company 210,00 rupees a month, 
besides forty lakhs at the end of the campaign. 
The important fortress of Chundr on the Ganges, 
a little above Bandras, was likewise ceded to the 

In the middle of September, Hastings set out 
again for Calcutta. Of the twelve members of 
his Council, only one, Sir R. Barker, found any 
fault with the Treaty of Banaras. Among other 
arguments based on that officer's reading of the 
Treaty of 1765, it was urged that the Emperor 
might transfer to other hands the powers which 
he had then bestowed upon the Company. Hast- 
ings boldly declared that the rule of the Com- 
pany rested on no Sanads^ or letters-patent, 
issued by the Moghal. " The sword, which gave 
us the dominion of Bengal, must be the instru- 
ment of its preservation ; and if (which God 


prosperous and well-governed land.. But the 
Court of Directors were loudly calling for "ample 
remittances'' from Bengal, and for large retrench- 
ments in their military outlay.* The inno- 
cence of the Rohilla chiefs had just displayed 
itself in negotiations with the Marathas for objects 
dangerous to the peace of Oudh. Instead of paying 
their debt to the Nawab- Vazir, they were already 
planning a raid across the Ganges into the coun- 
try about Cawnpore. Instead of thriving in 
almost Arcadian bliss, the people of Rohilkhand 
were a rack-rented peasantry, living amid scenes 
of lawless strife, and doomed to suflfer alike fipom 
the exactions of their own masters and the raids 
of ubiquitous Marathas.f There was disunion 
also among the Rohilla chiefs, some of whom 
openly sided with the ruler of Oudh, while others 
either stood neutral, or against their better judg- 
ment, espoused the cause of Rahmat Khan. 

In March, 1774, Colonel Champion's brigade 
crossed the Karamndsa. The Emperor of DeUi, 
who had confirmed the grant of Allahabad and 
Korah to the Nawab- Vazir,J sent a body of 
Moghal troops to aid that prince in his campaign. 

• Mill's " British India," edited bv Wilson, Book 5, Chap. L 

t Hamilton's " History of the Eohillas." 

X Zeene's " Moghul l&npire." Book 2, Chap. iii. 


In April the allied forces entered Rohilkhand. 
On the 23rd of that month the Rohillas, fighting 
bravely, were routed near Katra with heavy 
slaughter by Champion's disciplined troops. 
Charge after charge was broken by the fire from 
his well-served guns, and 40,000 Eohillas turned 
and fled before the bayonets of his advancing 
infantry. Among the slain was Rahmat Khdn 
himself. When the issue of the fight was no 
longer doubtful, the Nawab Vazir, who had 
hitherto looked on firom a safe distance, let his 
own soldiers loose for the work of pillage, which 
they accomplished in a style that provoked loud 
murmurs from their disgusted allies. " We have 
the honour of the day" — they said to each other 
— "and these banditti the profit.'' 

If Shujd-ad-daula left his brave allies to do all 
the fighting, he did not forget to reward their 
services with a handsome share of the profit 
thence accruing to himself. At the end of the 
campaign, which lingered on fitfully to the close 
of the year. Champion's brigade received a 
donation of ten lakhs and a-half, equal at that 
time to £130,000, a very fair allowance for so 
small a force.* 

* So thinks Major Stnbbs: "History of the Bengal 
Artillery," Vol. I., Chap. ii. 


After the 23rd of April, however, there was 
no more fighting for our troops in Rohilkhand. 
Faizulla Khan, who had unwillingly taken part 
in the war, withdrew the wrecks of his beaten 
army towards the hills. Some months of inaction 
caused by the rains passed over before Champion 
was ordered to follow up his first successes. But 
the Rohillas, straitened for food and disheartened 
by defeat, were in no mood for further resistance. 
The Vazir had already oflfered them terms of 
peace. These were at last accepted by Faizulla 
KhAn, who, on payment of u heavy fine, was 
allowed to retain his father's fief of Rdmpur.* 
His followers, to the number of eighteen or 
twenty thousand, were compelled or allowed to 
migrate across the Ganges into the districts 
around Meerut, which had been granted to the 
Rohilla, Zabita Khan, as a reward for hii 
adherence to the Oudh Vazir. 

That the conquest of Rohilkhand was marked 
by some of the cruelty and injustice so common 
in Eastern warfare it is needless to deny* But 
the tale of horror which Macaulay^s eloquence 
has burned into the popular mind has small 
foundation in recorded facts. Some villages may 
have been plundered and burned, some blood 

• Keene'0 "Moghul Empire," Book 2, Chap. iii. 


shed in pure wantonness, some part of the 
country laid waste. Shuja-ad-daula was neither 
worse nor better than the average of Eastern 
rulers. But it was not likely that the new 
master of Eohilkhand would turn a rich province 
into a desert, or exterminate the very people to 
whose industry he would look for increased 
revenues. At one elbow he had Colonel Cham- 
pion, at the other Hastings' own accredited agent, 
Middleton, both empowered to remonstrate freely, 
and the latter even to use threats, on the side of 
humanity and feir play. Colonel Champion was 
a good officer, but his feelings often ran away 
with his judgement, and his jealousy of Middleton 
sharpened his readiness to believe whatever he- 
heard told against the Nawab-Vazir. The com- 
plaints which he forwarded to Calcutta were often 
at variance with the reports which Hastings 
received from Middleton. Hastings could only 
remind the Colonel that, up to a certain point, he 
had ample means of inclining the Nawab towards 
the side of mercy, if he chose to employ them. 
In his letters to Middleton the Governor enjoined 
him to use all his influence in behalf of the family 
of Hafiz Rahmat, to remonstrate with the Nawab- 
Vazir against every act of cruelty or wanton 


violence to his new subjects, to impress him with 
the English abhorrence "of every species of 
inhumanity and oppression," and, if need were, 
to work upon his fears of losing the future 
countenance of his English neighbours.* 

Few men have ever suffered so cruelly as 
Hastings, from the malice of his enemies and the 
mis-statements of one-sided critics. A pam- 
phleteer of his own day coolly affirmed that 
500,000 Rohilla families were driven across the 
Jamna, and that Rohilkhand was a barren and 
impeopled waste. Mill asserts that " every one 
who bore the name of Rohilla was either 
butchered or found his safety in flight and in 
exile." And Macaulay, improving on Colonel 
Champion, tells us how "more than a hundred 
thousand people fled from their homes to pesti- 
lential jungles," rather than endure the tyranny 
of him to whom a Christian Government had 
" sold their substance, and their blood, and the 
honour of their wives and daughters ; " Hastings 
looking on with folded arms, " while their villages 
were burned, their children butchered, and their 
women violated." The truth, as I have shown, 
was widely different. The "extermination" of 

• Gleig's "Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, Cliap. xiL 


the Rohillas meant the banishment of a few 
Pathan chiefs with seventeen or eighteen thou- 
sand of their soldiers from the lands whjch they 
or their fathers had won by the sword. Some 
thousands of them stayed behind with Faizulla 
Khan and other chiefs of the same stock. Behind 
also remained nearly a million Hindu husband- 
men, who were "in no way affected" by the 
change of masters,* but would certainly have 
starved if the whole country had been laid waste. 
Instead of looking carelessly on at scenes of un- 
parallelled outrage, Hastings did all he fairly could 
to stay the hand of a conqueror, whose careless- 
ness for others' sufferings was tempered by a keen 
regard for his own interests. 

After all, however, it must be admitted that 
this Rohilla campaign is one of the few passages 
in Hastings' career on which no impartial critic 
can look back with much complacency. Even 
the Court of Directors qualified their entire 
approval of the Treaty of Banaras by demurring 
to the employment of their troops in a war waged 
by a foreign ruler. The misdeeds of Shuja-ad- 
daula have cast their shadow on the memory of 
him whose pohcy ensured the conquest of Rohil- 

* Hamilton's " History of the Roldlla Afghans." 




Thus far the Governor of Fort William has been 
sailing along through waters seldom ruffled by an 
adverse breeze. His work has indeed been 
heavy ; but its progress lias been hampered by 
few collisions, whether with his colleagues in 
India or with the Company at home.. With the 
means allowed him, within the limits prescribed 
by the Court of Directors, he has succeeded in 
laying fast the foundations of civilised rule^ over 
the provinces won by the sword of his old master, 
Clive. In the prime of manhood, for he was 
barely forty-two at the close of the RohiUa War, 
he was still apparently in vigorous healtb after 


many years of constant toil ui a tropical climate, 
to which so many Enghshmen have owed an early 
death or a life of prolonged suffering. 

Of his private life at this period Mr. Gleig can 
tell us nothing ; but it may be assimied that he 
had his moments of recreation among his favourite 
books, his friends of whom he counted many, and 
in the company of her whom he would soon be 
free to make his wedded wife. Nor were those 
dear ones at home forgotten, whose lives his 
bounty had so long helped to cheer. If the 
good will of his employers — the esteem of friends 
— ^the gratitude of kinsfolk — coupled with the 
near prospect of wedded happiness and ac pleasing 
sense of great power successfully wielded for the 
general good, could make a man happy in the 
midst of many cares and trials, Hastings at this 
moment had little cause for murmuring at his lot.. 

But evil days were already in store for him. 
In 1773 Parliament passed a Regulating Act 
which revised the whole machinery of the 
Company's affairs. It was ordained that each 
Director should retain his post for four years 
instead of one. The qualification for a vote in 
the Court of Proprietors was raised from £500 
to £1,000 stock, and no Proprietor could claim 


forbid) it shall ever cease to be ours, the next 
proprietor will derive his right and possession 
from the same natural charter."* 

What Hastings said was the simple truth. It 
may have suited the views of Clive and the Court 
of Directors, to obtain from a titular King of 
Dehli a formal grant of provinces won by the 
valour of their own troops. The same show of 
respect for legal sanctions marked the Company's 
later policy, down to the close of the great Sepoy 
War. But the fact remains, that our rule in 
India rests ultimately, as it did at first, upon the 
sword ; and Hastings was fully justified in lay- 
ing so much stress upon a truth which no English 
Government can ever afford to overlook. Deal- 
ing with the case before him as a statesman 
rather than a moralist, he saw the advantasje of 
strengthening the Nawab of Oudh by an arrange- 
ment which would replenish the Bengal ex- 
chequer, and raise up a new bulwark against 
Maratha aggression. The Rohillas he regarded 
as a weak yet troublesome race of adventurers, 
who had no special right to govern a country 
which they had shown themselves unable to de- 
fend. To him, therefore, it seemed a thing of 

♦ Auber's " British Power in India,** Vol. 1, Cliap. vii. 

company's demands for more money. 151 

course, that the task to which they had proved 
unequal, should be entrusted to stronger hands 

The true key, perhaps, to Hastings' policy, 
may be found in that want of money which con- 
tinued to vex the masters of Bengal. He owned 
himself doubtful of the judgment which might 
be passed upon his acts at home, where he saw 
*' too much stress laid upon general maxims, and 
too little attention paid to the circumstances, 
which require an exception to be made from 
them." But he rejoiced to think that " an acci- 
dental concourse of circumstances," had enabled 
him to " relieve the Company in the distress of 
their affairs." by means which seemed to him 
altogether harmless. *'Such," he writes to 
Laurence Sulivan, " was my idea of the Com- 
pany's distress at home, added to my knowledge 
of their wants abroad, that I should have been 
glad of any occasion to employ their forces, 
which saves so much of their pay and ex- 

This was not a very lofty motive for a course 
of action which has often since been denounced, 
by none more eloquently tiban Macaulay, as a 
wanton aggression upon the innocent rulers of a 

• Gleig's " Warren Hasting's," Vol. 1, Chap, x. 


prosperous and well-governed land.. But the 
Court of Directors were loudly calling for "ample 
remittances'' from Bengal, and for large retrench- 
ments in their military outlay.* The inno- 
cence of the Rohilla chiefs had just displayed 
itself in negotiations with the Marathas for objects 
dangerous to the peace of Oudh. Instead of paying 
their debt to the Nawab- Vazir, they were already 
planning a raid across the Ganges into the coun- 
try about Cawnpore. Instead of thriving in 
almost Arcadian bliss, the people of Rohilkhand 
were a rack-rented peasantry, living amid scenes 
of lawless strife, and doomed to suffer alike from 
the exactions of their own masters and the raids 
of ubiquitous Marathas.f There was disunion 
also among the Rohilla chiefs, some of whom 
openly sided with the ruler of Oudh, while others 
either stood neutral, or against their better judg- 
ment, espoused the cause of Rahmat Khan. 

In March, 1774, Colonel Champion's brigade 
crossed the Karamndsa. The Emperor of Dehli, 
who had confirmed the grant of Allahabad and 
Korah to the Nawab- Vazir, J sent a body of 
Moghal troops to aid that prince in his campaign. 

• Mill's " Britisli India/* edited by Wilson, Book 6, Chap. i. 

t Hamilton's " History of the Rohillas." 

X Keene's *' Moghul "Empire" Book 2, Chap. iii. 


In April the allied forces entered Rohilkhand. 
On the 23rd of that month the Rohillas, fighting 
bravely, were routed near Katra with heavy 
slaughter by Champion's disciplined troops. 
Charge after charge was broken by the fire from 
his well-served guns, and 40,000 Rohillas turned 
and fled before the bayonets of his advancing 
infantry. Among the slain was Rahmat Khdn 
himself. When the issue of the fight was no 
longer doubtful, the Nawab Vazir, who had 
hitherto looked on fi-om a safe distance, let his 
own soldiers loose for the work of pillage, which 
they accomplished in a style that provoked loud 
murmurs fi-om their disgusted allies. " We have 
the honour of the day'' — ^they said to each other 
— "and these banditti the profit." 

If Shujd-ad-daula left his brave allies to do all 
the fighting, he did not forget to reward their 
services with a handsome share of the profit 
thence accruing to himself. At the end of the 
campaign, which lingered on fitfully to the close 
of the year. Champion's brigade received a 
donation of ten lakhs and a-half, equal at that 
time to £130,000, a very fair allowance for so 
small a force.* 

» So thinks Major Stubbs: "History of tbe Bengal 
Artillery," Vol. I., Chap. ii. 


After the 23rd of April, however, there was 
no more fighting for our troops in Rohilkhand. 
Faizulla Khan, who had unwillin^y taken part 
in the war, withdrew the wrecks of his beaten 
army towards the hills. Some months of inaction 
caused by the rains passed over before Champion 
was ordered to follow up his first successes. But 
the Rohillas, straitened for food and disheartened 
by defeat, were in no mood for further resistance. 
The Vazir had already offered them terms of 
peace. These were at last accepted by Faizulla 
Khdn, who, on payment of u heavy fine, was 
allowed to retain his father's fief of Rdmpur.* 
His followers, to the number of eighteen or 
twenty thousand, were compelled or allowed to 
migrate across the Ganges into the districts 
around Meerut, which had been granted to the 
Rohilla, Zabita Khan, as a reward for hiis 
adherence to the Oudh Vazir. 

That the conquest of Rohilkhand was marked 
by some of the cruelty and injustice so common 
in Eastern warfare it is needless to deny. But 
the tale of horror which Macaulay^s eloquence 
has burned into the popular mind has small 
foundation in recorded facts. Some villages may 
have been plundered and burned, some blood 

• Keene'a " Moghul Empire," Book 2, Chap. iii. 


shed in pure wantonness, some part of the 
country laid waste. Shuja-ad-daula was neither 
worse nor better than the average of Eastern 
rulers. But it was not likely that the new 
master of Rohilkhand would turn a rich province 
into a desert, or exterminate the very people to 
whose industry he would look for increased 
revenues. At one elbow he had Colonel Cham- 
pion, at the other Hastings' own accredited agent, 
Middleton, both empowered to remonstrate freely, 
and the latter even to use threats, on the side of 
humanity and feir play. Colonel Champion was 
a good officer, but his feelings often ran away 
with his judgement, and his jealousy of Middleton 
sharpened his readiness to believe whatever he' 
heard told against the Nawab-Vazir. The com- 
plaints which he forwarded to Calcutta were often 
at variance with the reports which Hastings 
received fix)m Middleton. Hastings could only 
remind the Colonel that, up to a certain point, he 
had ample means of inclining the Nawab towards 
the side of mercy, if he chose to employ them. 
In his letters to Middleton the Governor enjoined 
him to use all his influence iq behalf of the family 
of Hafiz Rahmat, to remonstrate with the Nawab- 
Vazir against every act of cruelty or wanton 


violence to his new subjects, to impress him with 
the English abhorrence "of every species of 
inhumanity and oppression," and, if need were, 
to work upon his fears of losing the future 
countenance of his Enrfish neio^hbours.* 

Few men have ever suflFered so cruelly as 
Hastings, from the malice of his enemies and the 
mis-statements of one-sided critics. A pam- 
phleteer of his own day coolly affirmed that 
500,000 Rohilla families were driven across the 
Jamna, and that Rohilkhand was a barren and 
unpeopled waste. Mill asserts that " every one 
who bore the name of Rohilla was either 
butchered or found his safety in flight and in 
exile." And Macaulay, improving on Colonel 
Champion, tells us how "more than a hundred 
thousand people fled from their homes to pesti- 
lential jungles," rather than endure the tyranny 
of him to whom a Christian Government had 
" sold their substance, and their blood, and the 
honour of their wives and daughters ; " Hastings 
looking on with folded arms, " while their villages 
were burned, their children butchered, and their 
women violated." The truth, as I have shown, 
was widely difierent. The "extermination" of 

* Gleig's "Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, CLap. xii. 


the Rohillas meant the banishment of a few 
Pathan chiefs with seventeen or eighteen thou- 
sand of their soldiers from the lands whjch they 
or their fathers had won by the sword. Some 
thousands of them stayed behind with Faizulla 
Khan and other chiefs of the same stock. Behind 
also remained nearly a million Hindu husband- 
men, who were "in no way affected" by the 
change of masters,* but would certainly have 
starved if the whole country had been laid waste. 
Instead of looking carelessly on at scenes of un- 
parallelled outrage, Hastings did all he fairly could 
to stay the hand of a conqueror, whose careless- 
ness for others' sufferings was tempered by a keen 
regard for his own interests. 

After all, however, it must be admitted that 
this Rohilla campaign is one of the few passages 
in Hastings' career on which no impartial critic 
can look back with much complacency. Even 
the Court of Directors quahfied their entire 
approval of the Treaty of Banaras by demurring 
to the emplojnnent of their troops in a war waged 
by a foreign ruler. The misdeeds of Shuja-ad- 
daula have cast their shadow on the memory of 
him whose pohcy ensured the conquest of Rohil- 

* Hamilton's " History of the Eoldlla Afghans." 




Thus far the Governor of Fort William has been 
sailing along through waters seldom ruffled by an 
adverse breeze. His work has indeed been 
heavy ; but its progress has been hampered by 
few collisions, whether with his colleagues in 
India or with the Company at home.. With the 
means allowed him, within the limits prescribed 
by the Court of Directors, he has succeeded in 
laying fast the foundations of civilised rule- over 
the provinces won by the sword of his old master, 
Clive. In the prime of manhood, for he was 
barely forty-two at the close of the RohiUa War, 
he was still apparently in vigorous health, after 


many years of constant toil ui a tropical climate, 
to which so many Englishmen have owed an early 
death or a life of prolonged suffering. 

Of his private life at this period Mr. Gleig can 
tell us nothing ; but it may be assimaed that he 
had his moments of recreation among his favourite 
books, his friends of whom he counted many, and 
in the company of her whom he would soon be 
free to make his wedded wife. Nor were those 
dear ones at home forgotten, whose lives his 
boimty had so long helped to cheer. If the 
good wiU of his employers — the esteem of friends 
— the gratitude of kinsfolk — coupled with the 
near prospect of wedded happiness and a pleasing 
sense of great power successfully wielded for the 
general good, could make a man happy in the 
midst of many cares and trials, Hastings at this 
moment had little cause for murmuring at his lot.. 

But evil days were already in store for him. 
In 1773 Parliament passed a Regulating Act 
which revised the whole machinery of the 
Company's affairs. It was ordained that each 
Director should retain his post for four years 
instead of one. The qualification for a vote in 
the Court of Proprietors was raised from £500 
to £1,000 stock, and no Proprietor could claim 


more than four votes. The Governor of Bengal 
was transformed into Governor-General of British 
India ; his Council was reduced from twelve 
members to four ; and under their joint control 
were placed the Governments of Madras and 
Bombay. The Governor-General was to receive 
a salary of £25,000 a year, and each Councillor 
£10,000. A Supreme Court of Justice, con- 
sisting of a Chief Justice and three other judges, 
was to be established at Calcutta, to administer 
English law for all British subjects in Bengal, 
Bahar and Orissa. The loud remonstrances of 
the Company against these new encroachments 
on their chartered rights were answered by the 
concession of powers to borrow £1,400,000 £pom 
the British Treasury. 

Of the new Councillors, one only, Mr. Barwell, 
belonged to the former Council. The other 
three. General Clavering, Colonel Monson, and 
Mr. Philip Francis, were appointed in England 
by Lord North's ministry for the manifest 
purpose of shaping the policy of the Indian 
Government in accordance with the views of 
ParKament and the Crown. Hastings might 
stand forth as Governor-General, and Barwell's 
Indian training and growing friendship for his 


Chief, might lead him to vote with Hastings in 
the future as well as the past. But the nominees 
of the Ministry might safely be trusted to outr 
vote the other two in a Council where each 
member would have an equal voice. If Hastings 
had hitherto managed to win his own way, as a 
rule, in a council of thirteen composed of 
Company's servants, a very different prospect 
awaited him now. The new Councillors were of 
course enjoined to cultivate harmony and good- 
will in the discharge of their appointed duties. 
But Lord North at any rate knew what he was 
about ; and the sequel will show what sort of 
value they attached to a form of words so little in 
harmony with their own prejudices and the 
manifest object of their errand. 

Of the three who sailed for India in the 
following year, Clavering was an honest, hot- 
headed soldier, who had risen into favour with 
the king and his ministers. " He brought," says 
Hastings, " strong prejudices with him, and he 
receives all his intelligence from men whose aim 
or interest it is to increase those prejudices." Of 
the Hon. George Monson, who had served in 
Indian campaigns on the coast, and gained much 



renown in the conquest of Manilla in 1762,* Hast- 
ings spoke at first as " a sensible man," who had 
received wrong impressions from the party opposed 
to himself. He appears to have been a man of 
small intellect, arrogant, rash, self-willed, yet 
easily led by those who paid him the needfiil 
deference. Last of the triumvirate, but far the 
first in intellect, boldness, ability, and force of 
character, comes Philip Francis, sometime clerk 
in the English War Office, and since identified by 
competent judges with the author of the famous 
" Letters of Junius," those mastei-pieces of 
spiteful satire clothed in racy and powerftd 
English. His malignant nature, his crafty 
daring, his freedom from all vulgar scruples, his 
fierce hatred of opponents, his wrong-headed zeal 
in any cause that took his fancy, all these qualities 
marked him out as a leader in the long and 
furious struggle into which his party was about 
to drag the Governor-General of Bengal. 

In the same ship with these three sailed the 
judges of the new Supreme Court, at the head of 
whom was Sir Elijah Impey, the Govemor- 
GeneraFs old school-fellow and fast friend. 
Friendly letters from Hastings awaited each of 

* See Grose's "Voyage to the East Indies, Vol. 2." 


the party at Madras. Whatever doubts he had 
concerning some of his new colleagues, he kept 
to himself. To Impey he wrote without reserve, 
as one who rejoiced at " the prospect of seeing so 
oJd a friend," and who looked to that friend for 
help in the "peculiar circumstances" of his new 

• On the 19th of October, 1774, the whole party 
landed at Calcutta under a salute oi seventeen 
guns. Some of them had expected a salute of 
twenty-one guns,, the number reserved for the 
Governor-General alone. An officer of Hastings' 
staff conducted them to Hastings' own dwelling 
where the Governor- General and his old col- 
leagues stood ready to greet them with all needful 
courtesy. Bnt to all such marks of outward 
respect the new Councillors made but a cold 
return. Because nO guard of honour had met 
them on the beach, and their landing had been 
proclaimed by only seventeen guns, they chose to 
sulk over the fancied indignity, and retired in no 
pleasant mood to the lodgings which had been 
secured for them in the suburbs. They had 
come all that way from England, not to exchange 
civilities with the Governor-General, but to 

* Gleig's " "Warren Hastings/* Vol. 1, Chap. xiii. 


reform aft^r their own fashion the Government 
of which he remained the nominal head. 

It does not appear that the new judges shared 
in the angry feelings of their late shipmates. 
Impey, at any rate, was received by Hastings 
with the warmth of an old friend ; and the good 
imderstanding then established between them 
outlived the storm of untoward circumstanced 
which forced them for a time into outward 

On the following day the new Council, with 
the exception of Barwell who had not yet 
returned to Calcutta, met for the first time to 
hear the commission read, which set aside the 
former government, and defined the powers, aims, 
and responsibilities of its successor. The new 
Councillors were enjoined to act harmoniously 
together for the preservation of peace throughout 
India, for the safeguarding of the Company's 
possessions, and the due advancement of their 
interests, financial and political. A separate 
Board of Trade was to be established. The 
military outlay was to be kept within certain 
limits — an inquiry was ordered into past abuses 
— the land-revenue system, as worked by 
Hastings, was to be let alone — and all cor- 


respondence with the "country powers" was to 
be carried on by the Governor-General, on con- 
dition that each letter received or sent by him 
was duly laid before the Council.* In issuing 
these instructions, the Court of Directors seem 
to have hoped that the new Government would 
work as smoothly as its predecessor, with results 
still happier for the general good. But they had 
reckoned without the new conditions under which 
the Government was to be carried on. 

The Council adjourned till the 25th of October, 
when Barwell also took his seat among them. 
On that day Hastings laid before his colleagues a 
clear and carefully- written statement of the policy 
pursued by his government during the last two 
years and a-half. The first part of the Minute 
was received with quiet approval, or at least with- 
out dissent. But the story of the Treaty of 
Banaras and the Rohilla War at once evoked the 
latent hostility of Francis and his two allies. 
Then, indeed, there burst forth on Hastings' head 
a storm which was destined to rage against him 
long after the death or the retirement of its first 
fomenters. Monson called on Hastings to pro- 
duce all the letters which had passed between 
him and his agent at the Court of Oudh. The 

* Auber's " British Power in India," Vol. 1, Ch. ix. 


Governor-General refused for good reasons to 
violate private confidences in obedience to some 
ex post facto law. All pertinent passages in those 
letters he was ready to produce, but " no power 
on earth could authorise him" to give up the 
letters themselves. His old friend, Barwell, 
manfully supported him, but in vain. The new 
triumvirate marked their displeasure at Hastings' 
refusal by at once decreeing Middleton's recal 
from Lucknow. 

This was the first blow struck in a quarrel 
forced on the ablest of Anglo-Indian statesmen 
by the tools and emissaries of Lord North; a 
quarrel which, in Macaulay's words, " after dis- 
tracting British India, was renewed in England, 
and in which all the most eminent statesmen and 
orators of the age took active part on one or the 
other side." 

Middleton was recalled, and presently his place 
was filled by Bristow, the nominee of the trium- 
phant majority in Council. Colonel Champion 
received orders to withdraw his brigade forthwith 
from Rohilkhand, and to enforce the payment of 
all monies due from the Nawab-Vazir under a 
threat of withdrawing his troops from Oudh 
itself. The same men who had just denounced 
the Treaty of Banaras, and inveighed in 


unmeasured terms against the abettors of the 
Rohilla War, saw no inconsistency in reaping the 
solid fruits of the bargain they professed to abhor. 
It was useless for Hastings to bring all the weight 
of his reasoning and his practical knowledge to 
bear against measures which tended to upset . his 
best-laid schemes, to destroy his influence with 
neighbouring princes, and to dishonour him in 
the eyes of his own subjects. His opponents, 
with the reins in their own hands, were in no 
mood to behave with common feirness, or even 
with common decency. Hastings and Barwell 
might plead never so earnestly for delay, for 
further inquiry, for some deference to their own 
judgment ; they might record their solemn pro- 
test against the acts of colleagues whose ignorance 
was equalled by their self-conceit. But Cla vrer- 
ing, Monson and Francis paid little heed to 
arguments which commanded but two votes out 
of five. Mercy and modesty were equally alien 
from the nature of Philip Francis ; and the other 
two, while deeming themselves inspired by a 
noble zeal for humanity and the public service, 
were little more than clay in the hands of that 
unscrupulous potter. 

The struggle thus begun in the Calcutta 
council-chamber was carried on by the trium* 


virate with a bitterness which reminded Hastings 
of the trials which his old chief Vansittart had 
from like causes undergone. "But, I trust," he 
writes to Lawrence Sulivan, " that, by the benefit 
of his example and my own experience, and by a' 
temper which, in spite of nature, I have brought 
tinder proper subjection, I dhall be able -to pre-' 
Vent the isame dreadful extremities which attended 
the former" quarrel. The insults which almost 
daily awaited him rankled deep in a nature alike 
proud, sensitive and amiable ; and at times" he 
thought of leaving the field to Francis and his 
followers. But his very pride strengthened his 
resolve to abide by a post which he well knew 
that none of his adversaries, perhaps none other 
of his countrymen, had so clear a title from past 
services and proven deserts to fill. Conscious of 
his own fitness for that post, and still believing in 
Lord North's friendliness and sense of justice, he 
determined to indulge his avowed ambition to win 
his sovereign's favour, by " conducting the great 
and important affairs committed to my charge to 
the best of my abilities, for his honour and the 
advantage of his people."* 

To trust in Lord North, however, was but 
trusting in a broken reed. If Hastings fancied 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, Chap. xiii. 


himself in the Minister's debt for his new appoint- 
ment, he had to thank him also for sending out 
three such thorns in the Governor-General's side 
as Clavering, Monsoii and Francis. But the 
noble weakness which so often made him think 
the best of a man until he had learned to suspect 
the worst, proved in this instance a fortunate 
thing for Hastings' countrymen, perhaps in some 
ways for Hastings himself. If he had thrown up 
his thankless office at the end of 1774, the whole, 
or at least the greater part of India, would in all 
likelihood have become the prize of Maratha 
ambition ; and the history, not only of Hastings' 
proudest achievements, but of our Indian Empire 
whose growth they assured, would have been a 
tale untold. 

* Sir E. Impey took up his abode in the suburb of Chowring- 
bee, on the eastern edge of the Maidan or plain which stretches 
across to Fort William, the building of which, begun by Clive in 
1757, was finished in 1773. At the latter date Chowringhep, now 
indeed a city of palaces, contained only two good houses, in one 
of which Impey was afterwards lodged. Hastings himself appears 
to have lived at Belvedere in the Alipore suburb, a house which 
has since become the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governors 
of Bengal. A lady described Belvedere in 1780 as " a perfect 
bijou, most superbly fitted up with all that unbounded affluence 
can display," while the gardens were " said to be very tastefully- 
laid out." Close by in the same quarter lived Imhofi' and his 
wife. Francis also lived in Alipore. ITie Government House 
was then in Fort William. — Newman's "Handbook to Calcutta.** 
On the site of the old fort and its " black hole" now stands Dal- 
housie Square, formerly known as Tank Square, from a large 
tank dug by order of Government to provide the citizens with 
sweet water. The tank was cleansed and completely embanked 
in Hastings' time. 



If Hastings had by nature a quick temper, his 
self-control must have been sorely tried by the 
council-meetings which came off under the new 
rules twice a week. At these meetings every 
act of the late Government would be reviewed 
in a spirit more or less unfriendly by his three 
opponents, whose zeal for redressing wrongs and 
discovering abuses seemed to spend itself on their 
President alone. Whoever else was right, he at 
least was always held to be in the ^vrong. " We 
three are king," said Francis, and very loudly did 
the fact proclaim itself to the astonished citizens 
of Calcutta. The new Chief Justice complained 
bitterly to Lord Thurlow of " the hauteur^ inso- 
lence, and superior airs of authority, which the 
members of the new Council use to the Court."* 
Hastings fought them as he best could in speeches, 

• " Memoirs of Sir E. Impey," Chap. iii. 


minutes, and earnest letters to the Court of 
Directors, to Lord North, and his own friends on 
the India House Board. When the violence of 
his colleagues passed all bounds of endurance, 
Hastings and Barwell would save their dignity by 
leaving the council- chamber for that day. But 
nothing could shame or check the rampant inso- 
lence of the triumvirate. They never lost a 
chance of wounding the President's pride, ignor- 
ing his authority, or undoing his work. His 
management of the revenue — ^his dealings with 
the ruler of Oudh — ^his commercial and fiscal 
reforms, every detail of his past policy, was 
brought up against him as a crime or a blunder 
by the men who had been specially enjoined to 
work harmoniously for the peace and well-being 
of the Company's dominions. 

The extent of their rancour against the 
Governor-General may be gathered fi'om their 
mode of pressing the inquiry into the circum- 
stances of the Rohilla war. If they could not 
undo the conquest of Rohilkhand, they might yet 
succeed in branding their President with lasting 
infamy, for his share in that awkward-looking 
business. Officers of Champion's force were 
invited to bear witness against the man who had 


sold their services to a ruthless tyrant. Colonel 
Leslie, however, declined to answer for the 
opinions of the army as to the moral character of 
the late war. Baffled at one point, the inquisitors 
attacked another, but always more or less in vain. 
There was no evidence of the cruelties alleged 
against Shuja-ad-daula. Of the Rohillas, their 
history, and their real character, they learned 
many things which ought to have shamed them 
out of conclusions founded on utter ignorance of 
the facts. But no amount of facts could stay 
them in their wild career. They even fastened 
on the liberal present which the Nawab-Vazir 
had bestowed on Champion's troops, as if that 
was another of Hastings' crimes. And, in spite 
of all evidence, they proceeded to denounce him 
as one who had waged war with an " innocent 
nation,'' and covered with ruin the smiling valley 
where the people had hitherto dwelt in peace 
under their noble Afghan masters.* 

To Shuja-ad-daula the recal of Middleton 
seemed like the rending of all the ties that bound 
him to his English friends in Bengal. For some 
years past he had shown himself a faithful ally of 
the power to which he owed the retention of his 

* Auber's " British Power in India," Vol. 1, Ch. ix. 


dominions after the peace of 1765. For Hastings 
he had conceived a strong personal attachment, 
which reflected itself in his intercourse with 
Hastings' confidential agent at Lucknow. When 
Middleton showed him his letter of recal, the 
Nawab-Vazlr burst into tears over an act which 
seemed to betoken a hostile purpose towai^ds him- 
self. It is said that his death was hastened by 
this and the subsequent measures of the Calcutta 
triumvirate.* Be that as it may, he died in 
January of the following year, leaving behind him 
a letter in which he implored the Governor- 
General to extend to his son the friendship he 
had always shown for his father. 

With these last wishes of the dying prince 
Hastings tried his best to comply. But the 
foreign policy of the Government had wholly 
passed out of his control. Francis and his col- 
leagues hastened to set aside the existing treaties 
with Oudh, and to force new and harder con- 
ditions upon the new Nawab- Vazir, Asaf-ad-daula. 
Their agent, Bristow, with whom they carried on 
the same kind of secret correspondence which 

• Mr. Xeene ("Mogliul Empire," Book 2, Ch. iii.) refers 
without accepting it to a story current in those days, that 
Shuja-ad-daula died of a wound inflicted with a poisoned knife 
by a daughter of Haflz Eahmat Khan. 


they had condemned in the case of Hastings, 
threw himself ^vith unquestioning zeal into all 
their plans. In vain did Hastings and Barwell 
plead for fairer treatment of the young Nawab, 
in accordance vnth the treaties of Allahabad and 
Banaras, and with his obvious rights as heir to 
his father's throne and property. In vain did the 
young Nawab protest against the injustice of 
conditions which involved his State in fresh 
burdens, and robbed him of the very means of 
carrying on his government. Before the end of 
May, 1775, he had signed a treaty which trang- 
ferred to the Company the revenues of Banai'as, 
and which raised by Rs. 50,000 a month the 
subsidy his father had agreed to pay for the 
British troops quartered in Oudh. 

At the same time he bound himself to make 
good mth all due speed the balance of his father's 
debts to the Company. In the face of these 
exactions and demands, with his own army 
clamouring for long arrears of pay, the helpless 
young prince was forced to surrender to the 
Begam, his father's widow, nearly the whole of 
the two millions which Shuja-ad-daula had stored 
up ^vithin his palace, as a fund on which he or his 
successors might draw in time of need. It was 


money collected from the public taxes, and meant 
to be employed for the public benefit. The 
Begam herself was already rich in the possession 
of a jaigir^ or landed estate, which yielded fifty or 
sixty thousand pounds a year. But she claimed 
the two millions also under a will which was 
never forthcoming ; and her son was coaxed or 
frightened by Bristow into signing away his right 
to three-fourths of the disputed treasure. 

Hastings steadily refused his sanction to acts 
which he yet was powerless to forbid. Even the 
Court of Directors at first demurred to the notion 
that their treaties with Oudh had expired with 
the death of the last Nawab.* But their sense of 
justice speedily gave place to the pleasure derived 
from the new improvement in their financial 
prospects. In a letter of December, 1776, they 
recorded their "entire approbation'' of the new 
treaty which seemed to promise them " solid and 
permanent advantages.'' Among the first-fruits 
of the hard conditions thus forced upon Asaf-ad- 
daula was an alarming mutiny of his unpaid 
troops, which was not quelled without heavy 

The Governor-General strove earnestly to set 

• MiU's " Britisli India," Book 5, Chap. ii. 


himself right Avith the powers at home. He sent 
Lord North a copy of all his private correspond- 
ence with Middleton. To his friends at the India 
House and in the Company he Avrote in a strain 
of undisguised bitterness at the malice of his foes 
in India, and of anxious pleading for the support 
of his masters and friends at home. " There are 
many gentlemen in England" — ^he writes to 
Messrs. Graham and Macleane — "who have been 
eye-witnesses of my conduct. For God's sake 
call upon them to draw my true portrait, for the 
Devil is not so black as these fellows have painted 

me If I am not deceived, there is not a 

man in Calcutta, scarce in Bengal, unconnected 
with Clavering and his associates, who does not 
execrate their conduct, and unite in mshes for 
my success against them." This was ^vritten on 
the 29th of April. A month earlier he had 
announced to these two gentlemen his firm inten- 
tion to return home in the next cold season, 
unless the Directors approved of his policy 
towards Shah Alam and the late Nawab of Oudh. 
In that event, he would await the issue of his 
further appeals.* The approval reached him 
soon afterwards, and other events were already 

• Gleig's ** Warren Hastings/* Vol. 1, Chap. xiv. 


happening which encouraged him to stay on and 
fight his enemies to the last. What use was 
afterwards made of the letter entrusted to Mac- 
leane, we shall see presently. 

In due time Hastings was to learn new lessons 
of distrust in seeming firiends. Meanwhile, his 
po3ition at the head of a government in which he 
had no real voice, grew daily harder to bear. 
His opponents had stripped him even of his 
patronage. Beyond the management of the 
revenues and such other business as he alone was 
still found competent to discharge, he was little 
better than a clerk ui his masters' service. The 
English ia Calcutta looked on with wondering 
sympathy at the political eflFacement of their 
nominal head. Many of the natives, with an 
instinctive readiaess to insult the fallen, began to 
play kito the hands of Francis and his allies, who 
were bent on raking up, as Hastings said, " out of 
the dirt of Calcutta," any information which 
might serve to blacken his fair fame, and undo 
all the good which he had accomplished. Every 
one who sought to curry favour with the trium- 
virate, or to pay oflF a grudge against the 
Governor-General, found in Hastings' new col- 
leagues greedy listeners to his tale. Nothing 



was too absurd for their belief — no informer too 
vile for a careful hearing — ^no means too paltry 
or crooked for the end desired. 

Had these self-chosen inquisitors known any- 
thing whatever of Indian usages, they would 
have known how- easy it was in India to get up 
any amount of false witness against any great 
personage fallen into disgrace. "An Indian 
Government" — says Macaulay — "has only to let 
it be understood that it wishes a particular man 
to be ruined ; and in twenty-four hours it will be 
furnished with grave charges, supported by 
depositions so full and circumstantial, that any 
person imaccustomed to Asiatic mendacity would 
regard them as decisive. It is well if the signa- 
ture of the destined victim is not counterfeited at 
the foot of some illegal compact, and if some 
treasonable paper is not slipped into a hiding- 
place in his house." In view of this picture, as 
true to the present as to the past, there is no need 
to accuse Francis and his colleagues of wilfully 
suborning false witnesses against their Chief. It 
is enough to know that, from whatever motive, 
they threw themselves without a scruple into the 
game which native roguery was prepared on the 
slightest encouragement to play. 


Foremost among the crows who now began 
pecking at the wounded eagle was Hastings' old 
enemy, Nand-Kumdr. That wily Brahman, whom 
CUve and Hastings had both called the worst man 
they knew in India, who was to other Bengalis 
what the Bengali is to other Hindus, whose whole 
life had been spent in plotting against the English 
or his own countrymen, now saw an easy opening 
for revenge on the man who had so often exposed 
and thwarted his mischievous intrigues. It is 
hardly possible to suppose that the Francis faction 
were wholly ignorant of the evil odour in which 
this man had long been held, even by the Court 
of Directors. But, in their blind hatred of the 
Governor General, they clutched at any tool which 
might help to complete his ruin. In the early 
days of March, 1775, the plot was already ripen- 
ing. On the 11th Nand-Kumar delivered into 
Francis' hands a letter in which Hastings was 
plainly charged with various acts of fraud, 
embezzlement, corruption and oppression. This 
letter, whose purport he knew already, Francis 
hastened to lay before the Council.* 

In this precious document Hastings was 
accused, among other things, of taking bribes 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 1, Chap. xiv. 


fix)m the Manni Begam, of sharing in the plunder 
amassed by Mohammad Reza Khan, and of pro- 
curing that officer's acquittal in return for a 
further large bribe. He met this new attack 
upon him with becoming scorn, and indignantly 
denied the right of the Council to enter into 
charges coming fix)m a source so foully tainted. 
Barwell supported him, and the meeting broke 
up after a fierce debate. Two days afterwards 
Francis laid before the Council another letter firom 
Naad-Kumar, bringing fresh charges against the 
Governor-General, and asking leave to address the 
Council and bring up witnesses in their support. 
The triumvirate insisted that he should be 
heard. Hastings warmly protested against such 
a course. His colleagues, if they chose, might 
form a committee of inquiry ; but he refused to 
accept them as his judges, or to sit as president 
of a Board before which the dregs of the people 
would appear, at Nand-Kumar's prompting, to 
give evidence against the head of the Govern- 
ment. Barwell demanded that the whole 
question should be referred to the Supreme 
Court. But the Francis faction were deaf to all 
argument. At length Hastings broke up the 


meeting and left the council-chamber, followed 
by his friend Barwell. 

The rest of the Council at once voted Claver- 
ing into the chair, and summoned before them 
the Rajah Nand-Kumar. That consummate 
scoundrel, prefacing that his character was as 
dear to him as his life, produced a letter 
seemingly written by the Manni Begam to him- 
self, in which Hastings figured as the receiver of 
presents from that lady through the agency of 
Nand-Kimiar. The signature of this letter was 
shown at the time to differ widely from that of a 
letter which the Begam had sent a few days before 
to Sir John D'Oyley, of the Secretariat. But the 
Council of Three cared nothing either for counter- 
evidence, or for Nand-Kumar's collusion, if the 
letter were genuine, with the man whose conduct 
he now sought to expose. The seal, at any rate, 
appeared to be the Begam's own. Without wait- 
ing for ftirther evidence, they proceeded, in spite 
of the late hour and of Hastings' absence, to pass 
judgment on the case before them. They declared 
that Hastings had secretly taken gifts from the 
Begam to titie value of about £35,000, which 
belonged of right to the Company; and they 


ordered him to repay that sum forthwith into the 
public treasury.* 

The Governor-General of course reftised to 
obey an order issued by a court which had no 
conceivable right to adjudge the case, or even to 
hear it. He pronounced the letter a palpable 
forgery, and this fact was erelong attested by the 
Begam herself. The mystery of the seal was 
finally cleared up after the death of Nand-Kumar. 
Among the Rajah's eflfects was found a cabinet, 
which contained exact counterfeits of the seals 
used by almost every native of rank in Bengal. 

Meanwhile fresh charges against the Governor- 
General were laid before " King Francis" by the 
Rani of Bardwan, by an emissary from the young 
Nawab of Bengal, and other worshippers of the 
rising sun. Some of those struck at Hastings 
through his own English subordinates Three 
only of his countrymen, Mr. Grant, an accountant, 
and the two Fowkes, father and son, seem to have 
joined in this cowardly game. One obscure 
native accused him of embezzling about two- 
thirds of the salary payable to the Faujdar, or 
military head-constable of Hugli. No evidence 

• Auber's ** British Power in India," Vol. 1, Chap, ix. 


worth considering was adduced in any instance, 
none at all in the last-named. And yet the 
triumvirate recorded their firm belief that there 
was "no species of peculation from which the 
Honourable Governor-General has thought it 
right to abstain ; '' * and deliberately charged him 
with having in this way amassed a fortune of 
forty lakhs of rupees — more than £400,000 — in 
two years and a-half. 

In his letter of March 25 to Mr. Graham and 
Colonel Macleane the long-suflFering statesman 
describes the various processes employed for his 
undoing : — 

"Tke trumpet has been sounded, and the whole host of 
informers will soon crowd to Calcutta with their complaints and 
ready depositions. Nund Comar holds his durbar in complete 
state — sends for zemindars and their vakeels — coaxing and 
threatening them for complaints, which no doubt he will get in 
abundance, besides what he forges himself. The system which 
they have laid down for conducting their affairs, is, as I am told, 
after this manner : — The General rummages the consultations for 
disputable matter, with the aid of old Fowke. Colonel Monson 
receives, and I have been assured descends even to solicit, accu- 
sations. Francis writes. Goring is employed as their agent with 
Mahommed £.eza Cawn ; and Fowke with Nund Comar." 

" Was it for this," he asks, "that the legislature 
of Great Britain formed the new system of govern- 
ment for Bengal, and armed it with powers 
extending to every part of the British Empire in 

• Auber's " British Power in India/* Vol. 1, Chap. ix. 


India?" Strangely enough, he still seems to 
make less account of his worst enemy, Francis, 
than of Colonel Monson, whom he regards as 
'the most determined' and dangerous of the 
three. He had yet to learn the full significance 
of his own expression, " Francis writes." While 
Clavering and Monson were blindly doing the 
rougher part of their prompter's work, the pen of 
Junius was already weaving the web of lies, 
innuendos, and assumptions, in which Francis 
sought to ensnare and ruin the great proconsul, 
whose place he wanted for himself. 

Writing two days later to Lord North, the 
harassed Governor-General earnestly entreats his 
Lordship to free him from his present state, 
" either by my immediate recal, or by the con- 
firmation of the trust and authority of which you 
have hitherto thought me deserving, on such a 
footing as shall enable me to fiilfil your expecta- 
tions, and to discharge the debt which I owe to 
your Lordship, to my country, and my Sove- 
reign." This was the very day on which he 
wrote to warn Macleane and Graham of his 
resolution to return home in the event of dis- 
agreeable news from England. No wonder that 


Hastings felt disheartened, even to the verge of 
despair. Wave after wave of misfortune had 
dashed against him, and as yet no gleam of day- 
light could pierce the dense folds of storm-cloud 
overhead. But the light behind the clouds was 
to shine out freely before long. 



While Francis was revelling in the near success 
of his schemes for supplanting his great rival, and 
Nand- Kumar was tasting the sweets of gratified 
revenge, they little knew what an undercurrent 
of disaster was about to drag the latter down into 
its most fatal depths. Scorning defeat at the 
hands of such assailants, Hastings turned for help 
to the Supreme Court. On the lith of April a 
charge of conspiracy was lodged in that court 
against the villainous Brahman, the elder Fowke, 
and one or two of their abettors. They were 
accused of suborning one Kamal-ud- din, a 
revenue-farmer, to bear false witness against the 
Governor-General. After an inquiry prolonged 
through several days, the judges ordered Fowke 
and Nand-Kumar to give baU for their appearance 
at the next assizes, and bound Hastings over to 
prosecute them. In the teeth of such a decision, 


Francis and his colleagues hastened to show their 
rancour against the head of the Government by 
paying Nand- Kumar the compliment of a formal 
visit at his own house. 

But Nemesis was approaching him from another 
quarter. About five years before Impey's arrival 
in India, one Mohan Prasad, a native merchant, 
had brought a charge of forgery against the 
Rajah before the Mayor's Court, in Calcutta. In 
due time Nand- Kumar was committed for tml 
under the English law, which made forgery a 
capital oflFence. He was still a prisoner awaiting 
his trial, when Hastings succeeded to the Govern- 
ment of Bengal. Needing him, as we have seen, 
for his masters' purposes, the new Governor 
obtained the prisoner's release. But the fatal 
charge still hung over him, for the written evi- 
dence of his guilt was retained in the Mayor's 
Court. When the records and papers of that 
court were afterwards handed over to the new 
Supreme Court, the new judges gave the forged 
deed back to Mohan Prasad.* 

Natives of India have long memories, especially 
when they are driven by a thirst for revenge 
mixed up with a fear for their own safety. 

• Impe/g " Memoirs of Sir E. Lnpey," Ch. 3. 


Mohan Prasad had doubtless very good reasons 
of his own for helping in the downfal of the man 
who had wronged him ; and he chose his time 
well for following up the blow which Hastings 
had already struck against their common enemy. 
On the 6th of May the old action for forgery was 
renewed before the Supreme Court. Ere long 
Calcutta was startled to hear that the man whom 
Francis and his colleagues held in so much 
honour, had been arrested and thrown as a vulgar 
felon into the common gaol. 

That Hastings had any hand in this new move, 
none but " idiots and biographers," says the polite 
Macaulay, can help believing. Biographers are 
sometimes foolish ; but so are critics, who jump 
to rash conclusions. Small blame indeed would 
rightly have attached to Hastings, if he had in any 
way encouraged this new attack upon the villain 
who had turned and stung him. But besides the 
feet of his own action for conspiracy, some weight 
is surely due from any sober-minded critic to 
Hastings' own statement, as solemnly made on 
oath before the judges who tried Nand-kumar. 
He then swore that he had never, directly or 
indirectly, countenanced or forwarded the prose- 
cution for forgery against the Rajah. To suppose 

nand-kumar's imprisonment. 189 

that he swore falsely is to fling a whole mud-heap 
at the memory of a statesman among the most 
upright of his day. Either Macaulay has done 
this, or else he has proved his utter ignorance of 
a fact which tells most strongly against his own 
theory. Beyond the coincidence of the two 
charges following each other ^o closely, there is 
simply no ground whatever for his assumption, 
that Hastings was "the real mover in the 

During the month which elapsed between the 
arrest and the trial of Nand-Kumar, his patrons 
in the Council displayed their partisan spirit on 
his behalf. They visited him in prison ; they 
demanded that he should be enlarged on bail ; 
they encouraged him to complain to the judges of 
the wrong done to a man of his caste, by locking 
him up in a place where he could not wash as 
became a Brahman, before eating his food. The 
judges refused to let him out on bail, and they 
found on inquiry that his scruples about his caste 
were a mere pretence. At the same time the 
triumvirate discovered an excuse for raising 
Nand- Kumar's son Gurdas to the post hitherto 
held by the Manni Begam, and for reinstating 
Mohammad Reza Khan in the obsolete office of 
Naib Subah. 


On the 8th of June the trial began, after a true 
bill had been found against the prisoner by a 
grand jury of the leading merchants in Calcutta. 
The four judges, headed by Impey, tried the case, 
and a jury of twelve Englishmen followed the 
evidence. Two English barristers acted as 
counsel for Nand- Kumar. There was no lack of 
witnesses for the defence ; there never is when a 
wealthy native has to stand a trial, especially a 
trial for life and death. But the evidence against 
the Rajah was too clear for much question, and 
the jury found him guilty without reserve. 
With the entire concurrence of his fellow judges 
Impey condemned the wretched man to the death 
awarded him by law.* 

It might have been expected that some of his 
powerful friends would have made an effort to 
save him from the doom which no man better 
deserved. Ten years before, another native of 
rank condemned to death for the same crime had 
been pardoned mainly in answer to the earnest 
prayer of his fellow-citizens. But now not a 
finger was stirred in Nand-Kumar's behalf, either 
by his native or his English friends. Days 
passed, and weeks ; but no prayer for his life 

* Impey's " Memoirs of Sir Elijah Impey,*' Chap, 4. 


went forth to the Judges or the Council. One 
petition indeed from the convict himself was 
handed to Clavering on the 4th of August, but 
he took care to know nothing of its contents until 
after the sentence had been carried out. And 
when he laid the petition before the Council, it 
was Francis who proposed and his colleagues who 
demanded that the paper should be burnt by the 
common hangman, as containing Hbellous matter 
against the Judges of the Supreme Court.* 

In the early morning of the 5th of August 
Xand-Kumar was hanged. He was not the first 
native who had paid the penalty enforced by the 
savage old laws of England for a crime which his 
own countrymen regarded only as a finer form of 
swindling. He had been fairly tried and 
sentenced, as a British subject, under a law 
which twice at least in the last ten years had 
been carried out against his own countrymen. 
His death on the Maidan, or plain outside the 
city, was certainly witnessed by a crowd of curious 
spectators ; but few, if any, gave vent to loud 
wailings or any other token of grief and dismay. 
Most of them watched his last struggles with 
quiet indifiference, while not a few were heard to 

• " Memoirs of Sir E. Impey," Cliap. 4. 


say among themselves, that ^^ the worst man in 
India'' had met with the punishment he richly 

But the evil spirit which dwelt in the heart of 
Francis was one day to forge out of this sim^e 
affidr a whole armoury of lies and slanders against 
Impey and his friend Hastings. Many years 
afterwards a letter said to have been written at 
the tune by his brother-in-law, the Sheriff of 
Calcutta, but bearing manifest traces of the 
Roman hand of Junius^ frimished Burke with a 
theme for one of his fiery invectives, and became 
the groundwork of some splendid passages in 
Macaulay's memorable and misleading essay. In 
that writer's pages Nand- Kumar figures as the 
interesting victim of a plot laid by Warren 
Hastings, and helped forward by Sir Elijah 
Impey. Of the latter, especially, he speaks in 
language of weighty scorn, whose only feult lies 
in its astounding injustice. He records it as his 
** deliberate opinion that Impey, sitting as a judge, 
put a man unjustly to death in order to serve a 
political purpose." Impey acted unjustly, it 
seems, in refusing to respite a Hindu forger, 
whom he had unjustly condemned to be hanged. 

• •• Memoirs of Sir E. Impey," Chap. 12. 


The short answer to these absurd charges, worthy 
of the writer who assumed that young Impey 
at Westminster was young Hastings' fag and tool, 
may be gathered from the foregoing pages, which 
show that Impey was merely one of four judges 
concerned in the trial of a man whom an inde- 
pendent jury found guilty of a capital crime. 
He never refused to respite the prisoner, for the 
simple reason that he was never asked to respite him. 
In after years it suited the enemies of Hastings 
to declare that he and Impey had joined in mur- 
dering Nand-Kumar. But while his doom was 
yet hanging over the latter, neither Francis nor 
his colleagues made any effort to save his life. 
Instead of rescuing Nand- Kumar at the foot of the 
gallows, Clavering took care to let him die before 
bringing his petition to the Council's notice. 
How that petition was received, we have already 
seen. It was not likely that Hastings himself 
would come forward to plead for the scoundrel, 
whose punishment might deter others from play- 
ing a* game which for him had ended so dis' 
astrously. If the triumvirate would do nothing 
for their friend in need, why should Hastings go 
out of his way to hinder the exit of his worst foe 

from the scene of his many villainies ? 



To him, indeed, that " bad man's '' fete must 
have brought a feeling of temporary relief firom 
the strain of prolonged anxiety and vexation of 
spirit. It may even be, as Francis presently 
hinted, and Macaulay afterwards declared, that 
" the voices of a thousand informers were silenced 
in an instant." Cheered by the support of his 
own countrymen and the good will of the leading 
natives in Calcutta, the harassed Governor could 
take breath to renew the struggle with his factious 
opponents. Two days after the death of Nand- 
Kumar, he found time to write to Dr. Johnson a 
letter thankinsr him in the friendliest terms for 
the copy of " Mr. Jones's ingenious book " which 
he had lately received through Mr. Justice 
Chambers, one of the new Calcutta judges.* 
He tells the great English scholar of his own 
efforts to promote research into the history, 
traditions, arts and natural productions of India ; 
of the success achieved in compiling "an 
abstract of the Gentoo law;" and begs him to 
accept a copy of Bogle's journal of his mission 
into Tibet. He could have wished, indeed, that 
a portion of the spirit displayed in the Doctor's 
own "Tour to the Hebrides" had animated the 

* trobably Sir William Jones's " Persian Grammar." 



author of the journal ; but "I flatter myself" — 
he adds — " that you will find it not unworthy of 
your perusal." 

To Lord Mansfield in the following January he 
sends a complete copy of " Halhed's Code," and a 
plan drawn by himself and approved by his friend 
Impey , for defining and regulating the respective 
powers of the Council and the Supreme Court. 
In spite of the vague language of the Regulating 
Act, his own relations with the new judges still 
worked easily. *'I have a pleasure" — ^he writes 
— " in declaring that on all occasions it has been 
his [Impey's] aim in particular, and in general 
that of the other judges of the Supreme Courts 
to support the authority of Government, and 
temper the law of England with the laws, reli- 
gious customs and manners of the natives."* 

Meanwhile the triumvirate still took their own 
way in Council. The Bombay Government had 
in September, 1774, entered into an alliance with 
Ragunath Rao, commonly called Ragoba, a 
Maratha leader of old repute, and uncle to the 
young Peshwa, Narayan Rao, who died, it was 
said, through Ragoba's agency in 1773. His 
reputed murderer at once got himself installed as 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. i. 


Peshwa ; but a rival party, prompted by the able 
Nana Famavis, ere long set up against him a 
posthumous son of the late Peshwa, under the 
title of ^ladhu Rao IT. The chief Maratha 
leaders took different sides, according as their 
interest or their jealousies might prompt them. 
Defeated in the field by his opponents, Kagoba in 
1775 turned for help to the English at Bombay. 
The Court of Directors had lately been hankering 
after Salsette and Bassein, an island and a port 
near Bombay itself. In hopes of gratifying their 
wish, the Bombay Government agreed to help 
Ragoba with a body of troops in return for the 
cession of those two places, and the payment of a 
large yearly sum of money. 

But they had reckoned without the Govern- 
ment of Bengal. Hastings objected to the 
Treaty of Surat, but he was not for setting it 
rashly aside. Neither was Barwell. But the 
Francis faction were inexomble. In spite of the 
successes already won by our troops and sailors, 
they declared the treaty annulled — ordered the 
withdrawal of Keating's victorious soldiers to 
Bombay — and sent Colonel Upton to Puna to 
negotiate a peace on their own account. 

After some show of insolence and menace, the 


Puna Regency at length agreed to the compromise 
offered by the English envoy. By the Treaty of 
March, 1776, the English retained possession of 
Salsette, which they had already won ; their claim 
to the revenues of Baroch was granted ; and 
twelve lakhs of rupees were promised them, " as a 
favour," towards the costs of the war. But their 
other conquests were to be given back, and the 
rest of their agreement with Ragoba was formally 
annulled, in exchange for the pension secured to 
their late ally. By this Treaty of Puranda the 
interests of the Company and the good faith of 
the Bombay Government were alike sacrificed to 
the ignorant self-conceit of Clavering and his two 

New causes of quarrel with the Piina Govern- 
ment soon arose. A despatch fi'om the India 
House, received in August, confirmed the former 
treaty with Ragoba, and directed the Supreme 
Government to aid in carrying it out. Neither 
at Bombay nor at Piina was the new treaty care- 
fully observed. Troops were sent from Bombay 
to garrison Surat, and the Bombay Council 
invited Ragoba to their own capital as their 
pensioned guest. In March of the next year, 
1777, a French adventurer arrived at Puna, as 


envoy from the king of France, who was on the 
point of declaring war with England. Nana 
Famavis, who had now become the foremost man 
at Puna, received the Frenchman with open arms. 
The Treaty of Puranda was openly deplored by 
the Court of Directors ; and Hastings, who by 
this time had become in effect his own master, 
waited only for some decent pretext to set it 

How Hastings became his own master, must 
now be told. After the death of Nand-Kumar 
his enemies in the Council still pursued their old 
course of obstruction. They thwarted him, as 
we have seen, in his dealings with the Bombay 
Council. They accused him of overtaxing the 
Zamindars and oppressing the Kayats, while they 
opposed his best efforts to redress the evils of 
which they complained. They refused to aid 
him in protecting natives of rank from arrest and 
imprisonment for debt by order of the Supreme 
Court.* The very loyalty which led him, often 
against his better judgment, to work with the 
triumvirate rather than against them, failed to 
shame the latter into more conciliatory moods. 

Meanwhile, their friends at home were muster- 

* Gleig*s " Waxren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. ii. 


ing for fresh attacks upon the Governor-General. 
While Hastings still looked for help, or at least 
for fair play from Lord North, every influence of 
his Lordship's Government was brought to bear 
upon the Court of Directors in order to bring 
about the recal of Hastings, and the appointment 
of Clavering in his stead. Colonel Macleane's 
letters to Hastings reveal the progress of a plot 
which, but for Hastings' firmness and the loyalty 
of his friends at home, would have been crowned 
with full success. The Minister's first attempt 
to secure a hostile vote fi'om the India House 
came to nothing; but a second, made in May 
1776, resulted in eleven votes for the plotters 
against ten. Fortune, however, still smiled upon 
the brave. In the Court of Proprietors Hastings 
had a large number of devoted friends. They 
flocked to the meeting summoned for the 15th of 
May, and, after a debate of many hours, carried 
by a large majority a vote in favour of the 
Governor- General. Lord North's soreness at 
this defeat vented itself in strong language 
against the victors. A few weeks later the 
Court of Directors rescinded their former vote 
by a majority of two.* 

* Gleig*8 "Warren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. iiL 


Things however still looked so dark for 
Hastings, that some of his friends deemed it 
prudent to make the best terms they could with 
a Ministry whose power for further annoyance 
they had reason to fear. What if Lord North 
were to carry out his threat of calling Parliament 
together to abolish the very existence of the 
Company as a political power ? Would it not be 
best, in Hastings' own interests, to secure such 
terms as might enable him to retire with all 
dignity from a thankless post ? Clavering had 
powerful friends at Court and in the House of 
Commons, and Lord North seemed bent on 
making him Governor- General. Prompted by 
these and such-hke considerations, Macleane' 
strove to bring about a compromise based on the 
Governor-General's retirement. By the end of 
October the negotiations to that end had been 
completed, in supposed accordance with Hastings' 
own desires. 

But only a few days afterwards Clavering was 
gazetted a Knight of the Bath. To Macleane 
and his colleague, Stewart, this seemed like a 
breach of the covenant so lately made ; and they 
wrote out to Hastings, counselling him not to 
resign until he had been assured of a baronetcy 


or an Irish peerage. And yet we find Macleane 
a month later placing his employer's resignation 
in the hands of the Court of Directors, on the 
strength of a letter written by Hastings twenty- 
two months before, and virtually cancelled about 
six weeks afterwards. During the past twelve- 
month Hastings had repeatedly declared that he 
would only quit his post at the command of those 
who had placed him there. His letters to Lord 
North and the Court of Directors alike pointed 
clearly to the same conclusion. In the lace of 
these the Court hastened, after brief inquiry, to 
accept an offer which Macleane no doubt honestly 
deemed himself empowered to make. In their 
eagerness to save themselves by throwing over 
their ablest servant, they acted on the assumption 
that Hastings would confirm his agent's doings. 
The atmosphere of the time was thick with 
delusions. Hastings climg to the beUef that 
Lord North was still his fiiend. Macleane 
fancied that the fiiend for whom he had worked 
so zealously would gladly accept of any com- 
promise which enabled him to retreat with 
honour from his trying position. And the 
Court of Directors were glad to seize at any fair 
pretext for recalling a Governor whose chances of 


success they underrated, and whose plans for 
increasing the Company's power in India they 
utterly misunderstood. They had been taught 
by his enemies to regard their best friend as a 
secret enemy to the maintenance of their rule, 
because he aimed at bringing "the country 
powers'' into closer relations with the British 

A new prospect had lately opened to Hastings 
through the death of Monson in September, 1776. 
For some months, at any rate, he would possess 
the casting vote in Council. His hands were thus 
strengthened at a timely moment for the work of 
revising the land settlements of 1772. "This 
measure" — he writes to his friend Graham — 
" will oblige me to new model all the provincial 
councils, for I will not leave such wretches as 
Goring, Rose well and James Grant (names that I 
blush to write) in the power to render my designs 
abortive ; but shall think it incumbent upon me 
to choose my own agents for the charge of my 
own plan, especially as so much will depend upon 
it." In order to provide materials for the new 
settlement, he appointed a special commission 
headed by Messrs. Anderson and Bogle, two of 
the ablest civU officers in Bengal. A few weeks 


later his friend Nat. Middleton was sent back to 
his old post at Lucknow, in the room of Bristow. 
The younger Fowke was recalled from Bankras. 
All these measures were as gall and wormwood 
to Clavering and Francis, who blustered, talked 
about jobs, wrote sharp minutes, spread false 
stories ; but in vain. Hastings knew his power, 
and calmly defied them from behind the bulwark 
of his casting vote. 

Early in 1777 his busy mind was employed in 
shaping out a scheme to " extend the influence of 
the British nation to every part of India not too 
remote from their possessions, without enlarging 
the circle of their defence, or involving them in 
hazardous or indefinite engagements, and to 
accept of the allegiance of such of our neighbours 
as shall sue to be enlisted among the friends and 
allies of the King of Great Britain."* To this 
end he sought to renew his old relations with the 
Nawab of Oudh, and to form an alliance with the 
Eajah of Berar. By such means he hoped to 
counteract the designs of the Marathas, whose 
intrigues with the French and the Nizam of the 
Dakhan boded no good to the English rule. In 
a letter to his fidend Alexander Elliott, Hastings 

• Gleig*s « Warren Haatings," Vol. 2, Chap. iv. 


gives a detailed sketch of that subsidiary system 
to which our Indian Empire owes so much of its 
present greatness. But before this scheme could 
be carried into effect, it was needful for him to 
know how he stood mth the arbiters of his fate 
at home, whether they meant to retain him at his 
post, and what kind of councillor would come out 
to replace Monson. 

The turning-point of his career was now close 
at hand. On the 19th of June the newly -arrived 
despatches from England were opened and read 
in Council. Hastings learned that Macleane's 
offer of his resignation had been accepted, and 
that a new Councillor had been appointed to the 
vacant seat. Little as he relished the use to 
which his agents had turned the trust confided to 
them, in spite of his recent letters and avowals, 
and of the " public contest " to which they had 
committed him, Hastings was not prepared to 
disavow their act. "I held myself bound by 
it" — he wrote to Lord North — "and was 
resolved to ratify it.''* But Clavering's hasty 
violence defeated its OAvn end. On the very next 
day that hot-headed officer installed himself as 
Governor- General, and directed the troops in 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. iv. 

clavering's violent coimucT. 205 

Fort William and the neighbouring stations to 
obey no other orders than his own. From 
Hastings he demanded the keys of the Treasury 
and the Fort. Needless to say that Francis sup- 
ported his colleague and tool in this course of 
lawless usurpation.* But Hastings had no mind 
to throw up the game under such conditions. In 
the army and the civil service he could still 
count upon many friends. His counter-orders 
to the troops were cheerfully obeyed. Colonel 
Morgan closed the gates of Fort William against 
his o^vn Commander-in-Chief ; and a like answer 
came from Barrackpore. An appeal from 
Hastings to the Supreme Court resulted in a 
fresh victory for the Governor- General. All four 
judges ruled that Clavering had no power to 
assume an office which Hastings had not yet 
formally resigned. f 

Hastings and Barwell were for going yet 
further. They carried in Council a vote that 
Clavering had by his own act vacated his seat as 
senior member. But here the judges interposed 
with their opinion that Hastings had no legal 
power to declare such vacancy ; and they advised 

* When the game was clearly lost, he came forward as a 
mediator ! — Auber's " British Power in India," Chap. 10. 

t See letters to Sykes and Lord North in Vol. 2, Chap. iv. of 

Gleig's " Life." 


a reference of that and other questions to the 
home jrovemment. While gtill holdui^ to his 
own view on this point, Hastings cheerfully 
bowed to tJje decision of judges who had little 
cause to love his defeated rival, but ^were un- 
wilUng, as Iinjiey said, " to thwart the measures" 
of the English Ministry.* 

On the 29th of Auofust Sir John Claverino: 
died of dysentery. Hastings had steadily refused 
to resign his office to the man who, by illegally 
claiming it, had to his thinking forfeited the seat 
he still retained. Monson's successor, WTheler, 
did not arrive before December. Hastings, 
therefore, would for some months remain supreme 
in his ovni Council, and free to carrj'^ out his own 
plans. From the day of Clavering's defeat, in- 
deed, to that of his own retirement, he never lost 
the ascendency which the folly of his enemies and 
his OAvn firnmess had combined to guard for bim 
at the most critical moment of his career. New 
councillors might come to help or hinder him ; his 
enemies might weave new plots against himself or 
his friends ; but thenceforth he never loosened 
his hold on the reins which Clavermg's violence 
had saved him from yielding up to Macleane's 

• " Memoirs of Sir E. Impey," Chap. 6. 



Shortly before Clavering's death Hastings found 
himself free at last to marry the lady for whom 
he had so long waited. Baron Imhoff went back 
to his fatherland, and the accomplished Marian 
became the wife of the man whose heart she had 
won eight years before on board the Duke of 
Grafton, Among the guests at the wedding 
feast was Clavering himself, whom Hastings, 
prompjted by the kindUest motives, carried off 
against his will to the scene of rejoicing at 
Government House. What his vanquished rival 
may have felt, as he joined " the gay circle which 
surrounded the bride," * we cannot tell ; but there 
is no warrant for connecting his after illness with 
the events of that particular day. He was taken 

* Macaalay*s Essay on Hastings. 


ill in fact on his way home from a visit to Sir 
Elijah Impey.* 

The old man's death, however — as Hastings 
wrote to a friend in November — " has produced a 
state of quiet in our councils, which I shall 
endeavour to preserve during the remainder of 
the time which may be allotted to me. The 
interests of the Company will benefit by it ; that 
is to say they will not suffer, as they have done, 
by the effects of a divided administration." 
Francis of course pursued the crooked tenour of 
his old ways, still blinding Hastings to the fiill 
strength of his evil nature by the "levity" with 
which he made and revoked his promises of sup- 
port to this or that measure proposed in Council. 
But he always found himself in a minority of one, 
and neither of his colleagues gave any signs of 
failing health. 

Wheler's arrival in December brought Francis 
a new ally, whom Hastings vainly tried to con- 
ciliate. But Barwell's steadfast loyalty ensured 
to his old friend the casting vote. " The two 
junior members" — wrote the latter to Lawrence 
Sulivan — "may tease, but they cannot impede 

* Impcy's letter to Lord Bathurst ("Memoirs of Sir E. 


business ;"* and the Governor-General took all 
fair advantage Ol* so encouraging a fact. The 
commission he had appointed to revise the land- 
settlements pursued its work without further 
hindrance. In the following year he turned 
Mohammad Reza Khan out of the office which 
Clavering had revived for him ; and he relieved 
the Nawab of Bengal, now twenty years old, of 
the guardianship which he no longer required. 

At the same time Hastings encouraged the 
Government of Bombay to form a new alliance 
with Ragoba and other Maratha leaders against 
Nana Farnavis and the French. In May 1778 a 
force commanded by Colonel Leslie was dispatched 
from Bengal towards the Narbada, and two 
months later his beloved friend, Alexander Elliot, 
left Calcutta to negotiate an alliance with the 
Rajah of Berar.f By that time he knew that war 
Avith France had already begun ; and the Govern- 
ment of Madras was speedily empowered to make! 
common cause with Haidar Ali against all 
enemies. Nine battalions were added to the 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. v. 

t ** For once," Hastings writes to Impey, on July 20, " I am 
pleased with Francis. Elliot is gone. A most critical service, 
and likely to prove the era of a new system in the British 
Empire in India, if it succeeds." — MS. Letters in the British 
Museum (the Impey Collection). 



Bengal Aniiy, and otlier measures of defence 
were taken betimes a^^iinst the coming storm, 
from whatever quarter it might blow. Chandama- 
gar was promptly occupied by our troops. About 
this time our countrymen in Calcutta had heard 
not only of the war with France, but of the dis- 
astrous issue of General Burgoyne's campaign 
against the revolted colonists in North America ; 
and Francis made the news of Burgojnie's sur- 
render a plea tor urging the recal of Leslie's 
column, " lest it should imdergo the same fiite.'^ 
But Hastings was not the man to abandon lightly 
a scheme which he had not lightly undertaken. 

His temper had been sorely tried in May by 
the wavering conduct of the Bombay Govern- 
ment, at the moment when his efforts on their 
behalf seemed ripe for a happy issue. He had 
encouraged them in eveiy way to carry out their 
own scheme for replacing Ragoba at the head of 
the Maratha power. '' We promised to support 
it," he writes to Impey, m June, " Avith our in- 
fluence, our treasure, our army. We realised 
our promises. We sent them an instant supply 
of ten lakhs of rupees. We formed a powerful 
detachment to march to their assistance. We 
urged (for we could not command), we urged 


the Government of Fort St. George, by the 
strongest arguments that we could use without 
authority, to supply them with a military force. 
We have finally engaged the Intermediate Powers 
of Indostan in their cause." Governor Hornby, 
" not a social man," drank success to the under- 
taking at a public dinner in Bombay. A suffi- 
cient force of Europeans and Sepoys was got 
ready to escort Ragoba to Puna as soon as his 
partisans might give the word. But the Governor 
of Bombay took sudden fright at the non-arrival 
of reinforcements from Madras, and at the resist- 
ance offered by two members of his Council to 
any movement on behalf of Ragoba. Leslie's 
column was ordered to halt on its westward 
march ; and the disappointed Governor- General 
gave free vent to his annoyance in the letter from 
which I have just quoted. "Is this," he ex- 
claims, " ingratitude, envy, stupidity, or pusilla- 
nimity, or all together? .... What to do I 
know not. I feel myself on this occasion as I 
have often done at chess, when my adversary, by 
giving his Tower the oblique movement of a 
Knight, has placed the game in a position for 
which I had never made provision."* 

* MS. Letters in tha British Museum. 


In a long letter he entreated Hornby not to 
abandon one who had rendered him no commoii 
service ; and the appeal, as events showed, was 
not made wholly in vain. For his own part, in- 
deed, he knows what ought to be done. " The 
eyes of all Indostan are turned upon this great 
enterprize, and expect great things from it." Of 
its success he is morally certain, " if it is prose- 
cuted, and the people of Bombay do not counter- 
act us ; but I fear they will, and I fear my own 
want of credit at home." He will pause, how- 
ever, ^so he tells Impey, "till other lights break 
in upon me, either from Bombay, or perhaps 
from England." 

It was not long before some new light broke 
in upon him. The Bombay Government once 
more turned for help to Bengal. Hastings him- 
self, like a good chess-player, planned a happy 
move in a new direction. He would secure the 
friendship of Miidaji Bhosla, the Rajah of Berdr, 
by favouring his claims, as a descendant of Sivaji^ 
to the nominal sovereignty of the Mardtha race. 
On the 13th of July he writes to Impey, " I am 
prepared for the worst that can befal me, but 
shall not part with my place with quite the un- 
concern in which I should have resigned it in a 
time of peace. Yet I am grievously shackled, 

goddard's successful march. 213 

and I feel it. 1 am busy drawing up Elliot's 
instructions. If he gets safe to Naugpoor, and 
Leslie to the banks of the Nerbudda, my mind 
will be quite at ease." His colleagues seem for 
once to have agreed in forwarding their Presi- 
dent's purpose. Pleased with them, with him- 
self, and confident in the envoy of his own 
choosing, in his next letter to Impey, on the J 7th, 
the Governor-General rises into a firmer and 
happier tone. Elliot's commission, he says, 
" promises well, and I am sure he will execute 
it well. His instructions will be opposed. Let 

Elliot's death in September on the road to 
Ndgpur proved to Hastings a bitter sorrow and 
"an irreparable loss." In October he was about 
to recal Colonel Leslie, who had been loitering 
away four precious months in Bundalkhand, 
when Leslie's death at once cleared the field for 
his destined successor, Colonel Goddard, " one of 
the best executive officers," wrote Hastings, " in 
the service." f Before the end of elanuary 1779 
the new commander had carried his Uttle army 
without a check across India as far as Burhdnpur. 
But the main purpose of his march had already 
been frustrated by the disastrous blundering of 

• Ibidem, t Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap, vi 


those* wlioiu he had been sent to aid. 1 
lionibiiy cohnnn, which set out from Panw 
full of confuU^nce, on the 25th of Xovember, t4 
nearly a month to crown the Ghats beyond wh 
Liy the Peshwa's capital. On the 9th of Janu: 
it lay only eighteen miles from Puna. Bu 
stranji^e panic beset the commanders. A retr 
was ordered ; the heavy guns were thro^vn int 
pond ; and nothing but the cool courage 
Captain Hartley and his faithful Sepoys sa\ 
from destruction a force which, properly handl( 
might have driven the enemy before it like chi 
and borne Ragoba in triumph to Puna. On 1 
1 3th of Januaiy , 1779, the English leaders crowE 
their by the Convention of Wargau 
which surrendered to the Marathas all that c 
arms had won in Western India since 1765. 

Neither at Bombay nor Calcutta was a 
respect shown for so disgraceful a compa 
The officers who signed it were dismissed 1 
Company's service. Goddard was ordered 
insist on a new treaty with Nana Fama^ 
Ragoba with Sindia's connivance made his "« 
to Surat. Nana Farnavis demanded his si 
render, and invited Ilaidar Ali to join him s 
the Nizam in a league against the English, 


January 1780 Goddard once more took the field. 
In the course of a few weeks he captured Ahma- 
dabad, the stately capital of Gujarat, and twice 
defeated the combined forces of Sindia and 

Meanwhile another Bengal column, which 
Hastings had sent across the Janma under the 
daiing Popham, drove Sindia's Marathas before 
them, and stormed the fort of Lahar on the road 
from Kalpi to Gwaliar. In August two 
companies of his Sepoys under Captain Bruce,* 
aided by twenty English soldiers, carried by 
escalade the rock-perched fortress of Gwaliar 
itself, which the veteran Sir Eyre Coote, the new 
member of Hastings' Council in the room of 
Clavering, had pronounced it madness to attack. 
Before the year's end Bassein had surrendered to 
the victorious Goddard ; and the dashing Hartley 
crowned his former achievements by utterly 
defeating 20,000 Marathas, who had been vainly 
attacking him for two days. 

These successes, in no small measure due to 
Hastings' well-laid plans and his happy choice of 
competent officers, were followed in March 1781 
by the surprise and rout of Mahdaji Sindia at the 

* Brother of the famous African explorer. 


hands of Popham's successor, Colonel Camac, 
during his retreat from Sironj. In the west, 
however, Goddard was less fortunate. A mighty 
gathering of Marathas under the Nana himself 
barred his advance to Piina, while Parasram 
Bhao was already harassing his rear. To march 
back over the Ghats in the face of 60,000 
pursuers, keen for his destruction, was all that he 
could do ; and, thanks to his own skill and the 
courage of his soldiers, his little force arrived at 
PQuwell safe, but sadly reduced i^ numbers, 
before the end of April. 

By this time events had happened in Southern 
India which threatened to undo all that English 
arms and statesmanship had achieved elsewhere. 
Ever since 1772 Haidar Ali had lost no oppor- 
tunity of strengthening himself and enlarging his 
boundaries at the expense of his weaker neigh- 
bours. The conquest of Kurg was followed by 
the recovery of the districts lately torn from him 
by the Marathas. Before the end of 1778 he 
had pushed his frontier northwards to the Kistna, 
and carried his arms westward over Malabar. 
More than once his dread of the Marathas had 
tempted him into making overtures to the English 
at Madras. But the latter, full of their own 


quarrels, schemes, perplexities, gave little heed 
to the wooings of a neighbour whose friendliness 
they had some reason to distrust. After Dupre^s 
departure from Madras, the affairs of that Presi- 
dency fell into ever worse confusion. One 
Governor was sent home in disgrace, for allowing 
the ruler of the Camatic to conquer and annex 
Tanj6r. Another, Lord Pigott, quarrelled with 
his Council about the claims of some English 
creditors against the revenues of the restored 
Eajah of that country, and was held prisoner by 
his colleagues for eight months until his death. 
And his successor, Sir Thomas Rumbold, an old 
Bengal civilian, became from the hour of his 
arrival at Madras, in 1778, a mark for the many 
slanders and unjust reproaches which were 
destined long to survive him. 

Hardly had Rumbold entered on his new office 
when the tidings of war between France and 
England pointed to the necessity of a prompt 
attack on the French possessions in Southern 
India. After the fall of Pondicherry in October, 
Mahe alone on the western coast remained in 
French hands. In March 1779 that place also 
fell to our arms. Haidar's wrath at the capture 
of a town which some of his own troops had 


helped to defend was presently inflamed by th( 
march of a British force through a strip of hi 
o^vn territor}'^ into the Gantur Sarkar, a provinc 
which the ruler of Maisur had long been coveting 
but which Basalat Jang, the Nizam's brother, hsu 
lately rented to the Government of Madras ii 
return for the use of a British contingent. 

In his anxiety to conciliate the ambitiou 
sovereign of Maisur, Rumbold would hav< 
suspended the movement agamst Mah6. Bu 
Sir Eyre Coote, who was then at Madras on hi 
way to Calcutta, made use of his power a 
Commander-in-Chief and ex oJUcio member of th( 
Madras Council, to overrule the Governor's plead 
inors for delav.* Rumbold's dealinofs with Basalai 
Jang seem at first to have been sanctioned bj 
Hastings himself. They were justified by thi 
conduct of Xizam Ali, the ruler of the Dakhan 
who took into his owa pay the French troop 
dismissed bv his brother. This was a elea] 
breach of his treaties Avith the Madras Govern 
ment- That Government, on the other hand 
owed him some arrears of tribute for the othei 
Sarkars, which they had promised to pay up ** af 
soon as they were in cash." They now offere<] 

• Appendix to Marshman's " History of India,** VoL 1. 


to pay up as soon as he could fully satisfy them 
regarding the French troops. 

No offer could have been more reasonable. 
But the Nizam, who had already been plotting 
against his English* allies, easily caught at any 
handle for shifting to others the blame of his 
own hostile acts. The support which the English 
had given to Ragoba, and the prospect of an alli- 
ance between Hastings and the Rajah of Berar, 
had lately tempted him to concoct a grand league 
with Nana Famavis and Haidar Ali against the 
British power. But Haidar's treachery was even 
then at work against his fellow-plotter. The wily 
Sultan of Maisur had obtained or tried to obtain 
from the phantom king of Delhi a formal grant of 
sovereignty over all the Nizam's dominions. 
Nizam Ali deemed it prudent to pause betimes 
on the brink of an open rupture with his old 
friends. His agents seem to have succeeded in 
putting Hastings on the wrong scent. In his 
eagerness to detach the Nizam from a folinidable 
confederacy, the Governor-General was led to 
believe that the Nizam's quarrel with the English 
concerned only his arrears of tribute and the 
occupation of Grantur. Nizam Ali was therefore 
soothed with timely assurances that the Madras 


troops should be recalled from Gantur, and that 
his tribute should be paid. 

Haidar for his part would take no excuse for 
further delaying the fulfilment of his long- 
hoarded revenge. Deaf to the overtures now 
made by Rumbold, both through his own agent 
and the famous missionary, Swartz, the fierce old 
monarch prepared in his seventy-eighth year for a 
campaign which might end in driving the Farangi 
unbelievers into the sea. His own army, well 
equipped and trained by French officers, would 
be supported by the yet more numerous hosts 
which Nana Farnavis had promised to launch 
against the common foe. 

In the middle of 1780 the storm burst. 
Neither Hastings nor the Madras Council had 
clearly foreseen the moment of its coming. Just 
before his retirement in April, Rumbold recorded 
his belief that Southern India would ^' remain 
quiet." Earlier in the year Hastings had written 
to Rumbold — "I am convinced from Haidar's 
conduct and disposition that he mil never molest 
us while we preserve a good understanding with 
him." Even Sir Hector Munro, the head of the 
Madras Army, seems to have scouted the notion 
of impending danger from the highlands of 


Maisiir. On the 19th of June it was known at 
Madms that Haidar had begun his march from 
Seringapatam ; yet even then, and for some weeks 
afterwards, Munro and Whitehill, the new 
Governor, refused to believe that ti:ouble was 
near at hand. 

At last about the 20th of July the hosts of 
JVIaisur, ninety thousand strong, poured like a 
lava-flood through the mountain passes into the 
plains of the Carnatic ; and the smoke of burning 
towns and villages erelong told its tale of horror 
to scared beholders on the heights near Madras. 

In order to meet this formidable inroad Munro 
set out for Kanjeveram a month afterwards, with 
about 5,000 men and forty guns. Colonel BaiUie 
with half that number was marching thither from 
Gantiir. Had Munro on this occasion proved 
equal to his old renown, a great disaster would 
have been avoided. But of him it might truly 
be said, Quantum mutatus ah iUo Hectore — ^how 
changed from the Hector Munro who in 1764 
had routed the formidable hosts of Shuja-ad- 
daula at Bakhsar ! By the 9th of September 
Baillie had fought his way to a place within easy 
reach of the main body. The next morning he 
had gained a point whence the great pagoda of 


Kaiijcveram could be clearly seen rising above a 
broad bolt of verdure. Munro himself advanced 
a few miles towards his fellow-commander. 
Haidar's army, which still lay between them, 
was on the. very brink of retreating, lest it should 
find itself i)laced between two fires. But Munro 
came to a sudden halt. Not an inch further 
would he move, in spite of the heavy firing which 
soon began to deal havoc in Baillie's ranks. Late 
in the afternoon a wounded Sepoy brought iiim 
the first news of Baillie's ruinous defeat after a 
long and heroic struggle against hopeless odds. 

Returning at once to Kanjeveram, Munro was 
soon to learn that the Avrecks of Baillie's column, 
about 300 officers and men, nearly all wounded, 
had surrendered to the ruthless victor, whose 
French officers alone saved them from being 
slaughtered where they stood. Pressed fi3r sup- 
plies and stunned by a disaster Avhich he might 
have ])revented, Munro threw his heavy guns into 
a tank, leit much of his baggage behind him, and 
hurried l)ack to St. Thomas's Mount near Madras. 
Haidar mcainvhile proceeded at his leisure to 
waste the Caniatic with fire and sword. 

In that hour of his country's need, when the 
Madras Council knew not which way to turn for 


help against the ravening Tiger of Maisur, when 
the war in Western India still raged as fiercely as 
ever, and the Rajah of Berar seemed likely to 
turn against his English Mends, Hastings' courage 
rose at once to the occasion. His old enemy, 
Francis, whom he had wounded in a duel a few 
weeks before, might still oppose him, and his old 
friend Barwell had sailed home. But the brave 
though headstrong old warrior. Sir Eyre Coote, 
was prompt in answering the call of manifest duty ; 
and even Wheeler had sometimes voted with the 
Governor- General. On the 25th of September- 
two days after receiving the news of Baillie's 
surrender — Hastings carried through Council a 
vote for the immediate despatch of troops and 
money to the seat of war.* He was also em- 
powered to treat for an alUance with the Marathas 
through the Rajah of Berar. A few days after- 
wards he issued an order removing Whitehill, the 
acting Governor of Madras, from his post, for 
refusing to restore Gantur to Basalat Jang. The 
Company's remittances were kept back for that 
year, and a war -loan was speedily raised in 
Calcutta. On the 14th of October a small but 
well-equipped force of Europeans and Lascars 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. yiii. 


(ln>j)i)('(l down tlio Ilii^^hli for Madnis. A 
(la\'s Ijitcr C(K^te himself sjiiled from Calcutta 
coiiinijind tlie army which was destined to retri 
in many a hard iijifht and perilous inarch 
disjistcrs and dis;jjracc of the past September. 
Alxnit the sjime time PListings ventured 
anotluir of those " fnintic military exploits " wl 
his short-sighted critics were so ready to cond( 
beforehand. M hull ill of Goddard's daring ma 
across India, he prepared to send another Se 
cohimn overland from Bengal to the scene 
danger ; a distance of seven hundred mi 
Early in the following January Pearse began 
memordble march southwards into Orissa, a ] 
vince already occu})ied by troops from Be 
whose Rajah had just declined to mediate t 
f the Court of Puna. l)Ut Hastings was not tc 

I daunted by a show of unfriendliness wliich me 

only a prudent care for the Rajah's own w 
being. "Acts'' — he wrote — "that procl 
confidence and a determined sj)irit in the hou 
adversity, are the surest means of retrievinor 
Self-distrust Avill never fail to create a distrus 
others, and make them become your enemies ; 
in no part of the world is the principle of s 
porting a rising interest and depressing a fell 
one more prevalent than in India." 

pearse's march through orissa. 225 

Pearse was ordered to march on in the teeth of 
all opposition, but to avoid, if he could, any hostile 
encounter with the Berar troops. Meanwhile 
Hastings smoothed the way for his advance by 
deputing Anderson, one of his trustiest sub- 
alterns, to purchase the cooperation of the 
Maratha general with offers of money and 
promises of help.* Anderson's errand was 
crowned with complete success. Two thousand 
Maratha horse gave Pearse the strength he 
needed in that arm ; and the Rajah of Berar 
himself was converted, in Hastings' words, from 
'•an ostensible enemy into a declared friend;" 
while Bengal was saved "from a state of 
dangerous alarm, if not from actual invasion and 
all the horrors of a predatory war." 

At Ganjam, on the southern border of Orissa, 
Pearse's column encountered that deadly foe, the 
cholera, with whose ravages the World has since 
become but too familiar. In a few weeks nearly 
a thousand of our brave Sepoys died of this new 
and fearful scourge, which presently reached Cal- 
cutta, and made, says Hastings, " an alarming havoc 
for about ten days," in the month of April, 1781. 

* Hastings himself fiiniislied tliree lakhs of rupees out of the 
sixteen thus offered. 



On the 5th of the previous November Coote 
landed at Madras, only to find matters in the 
worst possible plight. The Government was 
paralysed. Haidar's cavalry had swept the sur- 
rounding country for supplies and plunder, and 
the people themselves were ill-disposed to their 
feeble protectors. Arkot had already fallen, and 
one of Haidar^s generals was besieging Wandi- 
wash. As soon as he could gather a few thousand 
troops with the needful suppUes, Coote on the 
17th of January 1781 hurried off towards the 
scene of his great victory won about twenty-one 
years before over Bussy. The mere news of the 
veteran's approach frightened the enemy away 
from Wandiwash^ which young Flint,, aided by 
300 Sepoys, had defended with the courage of a 
second Clive. After the relief of another strong - 
hold and the capture of a third, Coote struck off 
southward for Kadalor. The supplies which he 
expected from the fleet were long in coming, and 
it was not till the middle of June that he found 
himself able to make a bold but fruitless dash at 
the fortified pagoda of Chilambram on the 

While Coote after this repulse was resting his 
troops at Porto Novo, he learned that Haidar 


with an army ten times his own numbers sought 
to bar his return to Kadalor. This was all that 
Coote wanted. On the 1st of July the fiery 
veteran launched his eight thousand men against 
the myriads of Maisur with a skill and resolute 
courage that nothing could long withstand. 
After six hours of hard fighting and steadfast 
waiting, Coote struck his crowning blow ; and 
the enemy fled, carrying off all their guns, but 
leaving thousands of dead and wounded on a 
field which Coote had won with the loss of only 
three hundred men.* This victory secured our 
hold upon Southera India, and set Coote free to 
join hands with the Bengal column under Colonel 

In August the two armies clashed again at 
Haidar's challenge near the scene of BaiUie's 
great disaster ; but the victory of Palilor proved 
less decisive than that of Porto Novo. On the 
27th of September, however, Coote surprised and 
utterly routed his great antagonist at Sholingarh. 
By this time the Dutch also had joined the war 
against England. But, thanks to Hastings' 
influence and Coote's strategy, bolder counsels 
were prevailing at Madras. The Nawab of the 

• Stubb8*» " History of the Bengal ArtiUery," VoL 1, Ch. iii. 


Camatic had been relieved of all control over the 
revenues he had hitherto squandered on himself. 
In November Negapatam was captured from the 
Dutch by a force which Lord Macartney, the new 
Governor of Madras, had sent against it under 
Sir Hector Munro, aided by the fleet of Sir 
Edward Hughes. This was followed, early in 
the next year, by the capture of Trincomali, the 
finest harbour in Ceylon. 

Still the war went on with varying fortune 
throughout the year 1782. The relief of Vellor 
by the aged and war-worn Coote was counter- 
balanced by the destruction of Colonel Brath- 
waite's column in Tanjor at the hands of Tippu, 
after a fight prolonged with matchless heroism for 
twenty-six hours. A timely reinforcement from 
Bombay enabled the brave defenders of Talicharri 
in Malabar to rout the army which had besieged 
them for eighteen months. But Kadalor was 
taken with the help of Haidar's French allies; 
and Sir Edward Hughes was too late to save 
Trincomali fi^om the fate designed for it by the 
brilliant Suffrein, the Nelson of France. The 
fleets commanded by these two great sailors never 
met without doing each other the utmost damage, 
at the smjillest possible gain to either side. 


Coote's tireless energy once more rescued Wandi- 
wash, and dealt Tippu another hard blow near 
Ami in June. But the ill- timed absence of the 
fleet baffled his attempt to regain Kadalor by 
surprise ; and later in the year his health, broken 
down by prolonged toil, anxiety, and more than 
one fit of apoplexy, drove the old warrior back for 
a few months' rest to Calcutta. On the Malabar 
coast our troops and garrisons were hard beset by 
the hosts of Tippu, on whom one or two repulses 
made but small impression. In spite of his suc- 
cessful struggle against heavy odds, Humberstone 
was well nigh driven into a comer, when the news 
of Haidar All's death sent Tippu off with the 
bulk of his army in hot haste to the camp at 
Chittir, where his famous father had breathed his 
last on the 7th December at the age of eighty, 
weary of waging war, as he said at last, " with a 
nation whom he might have made his friends, but 
whom the defeat of many Baillies and Brath- 
waites would never destroy." 

At that moment, indeed, things looked dark 
enough for our countrymen in Madras. Refugees 
from the wasted plains of the Carnatic were djdng 
in the Black Town at the rate of fifteen hundred 
a week. The monsoon gales on the eastern coast 


had been playing sad havoc with English mer- 
chantmen and native coasters. Hughes's fleet, on 
which so much depended, was disabled by sick- 
ness and much fighting. A strong French force, 
under the renowned Bussy, was hourly expected 
to land at Eadalor from the fleet which Suflfrein 
was waiting to lead thither. In Coote's absence, 
the chief command in Madras devolved upon 
General Stuart, an officer whose unfitness was 
soon to reveal itself. And to crown all. Nana 
Famavis still hung back fix)m ratifjdng the treaty 
by which Hastings hoped to detach the whole 
Maratha power from its alliance with Maisur. 

But with the news of Haidar's death, the in- 
decission of the Court of Puna passed away. 
Early in 1783 the crafty minister affixed the 
Peshwa's seal to the memorable Treaty of Salbai, 
which had been signed by Madhaji Sindia for 
himself and fellow princes in the previous May. 
By this treaty Hastings wisely surrendered much 
to gain a good deal more. If Sindia recovered 
all his lost possessions save Gwaliar, and Bassein 
with some other districts was made over to the 
young Peshwa, the Marathas on the other hand 
were pledged to aid Hastings' Government, should 
need arise, in its further dealings with Maisur. 


One dangerous thorn was thus removed from 
the great proconsul's side, and his countrjnnen 
in India were akeady discounting the prospects 
of a speedy issue to the war in the south. But 
the snake, though scotched, was not yet killed. 
Trusting in the support of his French allies, 
Tippu prepared to carry on the war with all his 
fether's energy, if not with all his father's genius. 
For a time Fortune still seemed to favour him. 
Haidar's stoutest foe, Sir Eyre Coote, died in 
April, two days after his landing at Madras. 
Bussy's troops had already been disembarked at 
Kadalor ; but Coote's successor, the feeble Stuart, 
wasted some precious weeks in his march to- 
wards that stronghold, although he knew that 
Tippu had gone off westward to avenge himself 
on Matthews for the loss of Bednor. In three 
months Bednor's new master was forced to sur- 
render on terms which Tippu took care to violate. 
Mangalor was closely besieged. Meanwhile 
Stuart's army, having at last encamped on the 
6th June before Kadalor, carried the outer line 
of Bussy's defences after a hard day's fighting on 
the 13th. But Sufirein presently grappled with 
his old antagonist Hughes, and another drawn 
battle resulted in the latter sailing off to repair 


damages at Madras. Reinforced by Sufirein's 
sailors, Bussy made a strong sortie on the 25th 
against his besiegers ; but his signal repulse by 
a regiment of Bengal Sepoys did little to mend 
Stuart's prospects. His fine array was fiat 
dwindling away from sickness and short supplies, 
when the news of peace between France and 
England came just in time to mar Suflrein's 
schemes for our undoing, and to rob Tippu of his 
last and doughtiest allies. In accordance with 
the Treaty of Versailles, Bussy withdrew his 
troops from Tippu's service, and Stuart's army 
returned in safety to Madras. 

Erelong a powerful force, under Colonel Ful- 
larton, was marching up into the highlands of 
Maisur. Before the end of November, Seiinga- 
patam itself lay almost within his grasp, while 
Tippu's army was still engaged at Mangalor. 
But the Governor of Madras, unheeding the 
counsel and the commands of Hastings,* had 
already began to treat with Tippu for the peace 
which Fullarton would have dictated under the 
walls of Seringapatam. That brave officer was 

* It was Hastings' aim, amonff other things, to bring about a 
treaty in which the Nawab of Arkot should appear as a prin- 
cipal, backed by the Marathas and the Nizam. 


ordered to fall back in compliance with a truce 
which the wily Sultan was openly breaking. Not 
till Mangalor had surrendered in January, 1784, 
did Tippu deign to admit the envoys from Lord 
Macartney into his camp, and to discuss the terms 
of a treaty which flattered his own pride at the 
expense of those who had brought him to the 
brink of ruin. On the 11th March the insults 
and indignities which he had heaped on the heads 
of British envoys, were crowned by the sight of 
two EngUsh gentlemen standing bareheaded for 
two hours, beseeching him to sign the treaty 
they held in their hands. At the intercession of 
envoys from Puna and Haidarabad, he at length 
agreed to ratify a peace which restored to each 
party their former possessions, and rescued more 
than a thousand Englishmen — the surviving wit- 
nesses of Haidar's savagery — ^from the slow tor- 
ture of prison life in Maisur. 




Lff the foregwng chapter we have foUo^yed the 
stream of war through many windings to its two- 
fold outlet in the Treaty of Salbai and the peace 
concluded with Maisur. Throughout that che- 
quered story, the slender form of Warren Hast- 
ings rises clear in the background, as of England's 
guardian angel, foreshaping and ever trying to 
help forward the policy which other hands, not 
always the most capable, must be left to execute. 
To his influence were largely owing the great 
things done or attempted by Goddard, Popham, 
Pearse, and the veteran Coote himself. He had 
saved Madras in spite of its own weak and Tvay- 
ward Government ; he had greatly strengthened 
the hands of Governor Hornby at Bombay ; he 
had taught the ablest of Indian statesmen to ac- 
knowledge English excellence in diplomacy as 
well as arms. The credit of saving British India 


during a crisis, in many ways more formidable 
than the Great Mutiny of 1857, belongs especially 
to Hastings, if not to Hastings alone. 

But we must now return to his own personal 
history and the affairs of Bengal. For some time 
after Clavering's death, the Governor-General had 
the casting-vote in his CouncU. But Barwell's 
loyalty to his friend could not be expected to hold 
out for ever against his natural craving to return 
home. Enough that it held out till 1780, the 
year after Sir Eyre Coote's arrival in Calcutta. 
That brave, but irritable and wayward officer, 
voted in a fitful sort of way with Hastings rather 
than Francis. Anxious to relieve his friend of 
a burden that grew daily less bearable, Hastings 
came at last to a truce with his old opponent, on 
terms which, for the moment, satisfied him that 
BarweU's absence would not mar his plans for the 
public good.* In February a bargain was for- 
mally concluded, by which Francis pledged him- 
self to give Hastings' policy a general support for 
a given period, in return for a few concessions to 
the claims of Francis on behalf of his own fiiends. 
FoAvke, for instance, was to resume his old post 

* Sir John D'Oyley, the Company's Advocate, was the chief 
author of this arrangement. 


at Banaras, and an office of higher dignity under 
the Nawab of Bengal was to be found for Moham- 
mad Reza Khan. Hastings' pleasure at this seem- 
ing reconciliation left no room for latent mis- 
givings. His reliance on "Francis* faith and 
honour," as well as on his own discretion, wa» 
fjpeely expressed in a letter to Laurence Sulivan. 
"Francis," he added, "has behaved so openly, 
and with so little of the reserve and caution of a 
man actuated by indirect views, that I am cer- 
tain, and venture to promise you, that I shall 
suffer no loss of power or influence by Mr. Bar- 
well's departure, and that I shall find 

Mr. Francis both true to his engagements, and 
ready and willing to give me his support and 
assistance, to the period destined for our acting 
together as joint members of this administra- 
tion."* ' 

Wheeler also exchanged with Hastings the most 
cordial pledges of future goodwill. Barwell bore 
himself and his wealth home to England with a 
mind, perhaps, all the easier for his timely escape 
from another quarrel in which he had thus far 
stood neutral between the Council and the 
Supreme Court. 

* Gleig's Warren Hastings, Vol. ii. Chap. 6. 


This quarrel, which went very near to estrange 
Hastings from his old friend Impey, arose out of 
the new jurisdiction created by the Regulating 
Act of 1773. The large and vague powers 
thereby entrusted to the Judges of the Supreme 
Court were pretty sure to bring them, sooner or 
later, into disastrous conflict with the local 
Government. For some time, thanks to the good 
sense of Hastings and the judges, little harm en- 
sued. Had Hastings' scheme for removing the 
friction between tjxose rival powers been adopted 
by the home Government as readily as it had 
been endorsed by Impey and his brother judges, 
the scandals which ftimished Macaulay with 
materials for one more savage outburst against 
the modern Jeffries, would never have occurred. 
In 1776, Hastings had proposed to invest the 
Supreme Court with " an unlimited, but not ex- 
clusive authority," over all the Company's Courts, 
reserving for the latter their special jurisdiction 
in cases which specially concerned the Govern- 
ment itself.* But his scheme was shelved by the 
English Ministry, and the violence of his own 
colleagues thwarted his eflfbrts to adjust the new 
machinery to the facts and conditions of our rule 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. iL Chap. 2. 


in Imlia. *'h setaiis/' he wrote in 1776, "to have 
been a niaxini of the lUxird to force the Court into 
extreniities. fur the pur]x»9e of finding £iult with 
them." The spirit uf discord in his own Coun- 
cil let I<iu>e the waters of strife among' the most 
liti;ri<>us iK*f>pIe in the world. 

Violence on one side begat violence on the 
other. The authority of the CrowTi Judges was 
defied at ever}' turn, on pretexts often of the 
hoUowest kind. Inipey and his colleagues would 
have been more or less than human, had they 
always forelx^me to assert their lawful powers on 
behalf of those who claimed their protection. 
Hastings himself had bome witness to many 
'^ glaring acts of oppression " committed by the 
Company's sen'ants, and their underlings, in the 
process of collecting the Company's revenues. 
Two of these cases, as related by Impey in a 
letter to Lord Weymouth,* suffice to show in 
what quarter the reign of terror, as described by 
Macaulay, really began. It was not " Impey's 
alguazils,'* but the agents, white and black of 
the Calcutta Council, who ought to have fin:nished 
the great essayist with fit themes for eloquent in- 

• Memoirs of Sir E. Impey, Chap. 5. 


vective. One poor lady, widow of an Amrah, or 
Moghal nobleman, had been driven, it seems, to 
the verge of suicide, through the indignities 
heaped upon her by the underlings sent to exe- 
cute an unjust decree of the Patna Council. The 
Supreme Court took up her cause, and an appeal 
against their sentence was afterwards dismissed 
by the King in Council. 

" The vultures of Bengal," as the Chief Jus- 
tice called the authors and abettors of such wiong- 
doing, loudly objected to all interference with 
their high-handed or predatory ways ; and 
Francis, as a thing of course, took their part. 
Impey and one or two of his colleagues strove, 
for a time successfully, to keep such interference 
within due bounds. If they stood between the 
rayats and their alleged oppressors, they left the 
Company^s Courts to deal with all questions of 
mere revenue. But the zeal of Mr Justice Hyde 
outran discretion. During Impey's absence in 
the latter part of 1779, he issued a writ against 
the Rajah of Kasijura. A sheriff's officer, with 
a band of armed Sepoys and sailors, entered the 
Rajah's house, and sequestered all his property, 
including an idol, which was "packed like a 


common utensil in a basket, and sealed up with 
the other lumber."* Happily his iTvomen and 
children had saved themselves, by timely flight, 
from that worst insult to an Indian gentleman, 
the violation of his zenana.f 

This was more than even Hastings could 
well bear. A party of Sepoys were at once or- 
dered off to capture the whole posse of Hyde's 
followers, and escort them to Calcutta, where 
they were sent about their business. Similar 
steps were taken to protect the Rani of Rs^shahi 
and other Zamindars from the pains and penalties 
threatened by the Supreme Court. For several 
months of 1780, the province was kept-^in tur- 
moil by the conflicting claims of its political and 
judicial chiefs. A war of writs on the one hand, 
of proclamations on the other, raged with in- 
creasing violence, until at last the Calcutta Judges 
issued a summons against the Government itself ; 
a proceeding which the latter, strong in its tem- 
porary union, laughed to scorn. It seemed as if 
the whole machinery of government in Bengal 
were fast approaching a dead lock. 

• Hastings' letter to Baber (Memoirs, Vol. ii., Cliap. 6). 
t The women's apartments, screened off by a Par(MbL, or cur- 
tain, from the rest of the house. 


At last the long quarrel was allayed by one of 
the wisest measures which Hastings ever planned 
or carried through ; a measure for which Impey 
has been loaded with undeserved infamy by hasty 
and misinformed judges of his Indian career. 
Before the end of October, the Presidency of the 
Sadr Dewani Adalat — the Company's chief civil 
court in Bengal, which Hastings had remodelled 
some months earlier — was conferred on Impey by 
the Governor-General. The Chief Justice, in all 
sincerity, accepted the olive-branch held out to 
him by his old friend. This arrangement, which 
brought peace and civil order to Bengal, Macau- 
lay, with more than his usual rashness, represents 
as the offering and taking of a bribe. Bengal 
was saved, he says, and the Chief Justice " was 
rich, quiet, and infamous." The atrocious lan- 
guage used by the essayist on this occasion, can 
hardly be palliated by the false estimate which 
he had formed of Impey's character from the 
first. Long before his own death, Macaulay had 
the means of knowing that this particular charge 
was absurdly untrue. There would have been 
nothing wrong or strange in the acceptance of a 
special salary for a separate ofEce involving added 
work. The Court of Directors were quit€ will- 



m<r to give tlie new judge £5,000, or even £8,000 
a-yenr.* One of liis colleagues, Sir Kobert 
Chambers, was presently drawing a large addition 
to his salary, from an office held by him under 
the Government of Bengal. But it remains an 
undoubted I'act that Impey, for various reasons^ 
declhied the £5,000 a-year which the Calcutta 
Council offered him for his new post. 

That the new arrangement was a good stroke 
of policy on Hastings' part, the result made suffi- 
ciently clear. An able lawj^er, an upright judge, 
and a painstaking reformer, Impey began by 
drawing up a plain and serviceable code of rules 
for the guidance of the courts placed under his 
control. The young English judges in the coun- 
try courts soon learned to mend their ways, and 
to shape their judgments in accordance with the 
principles laid do^vn by their new Mentor. The 
old broils between rival authorities disappeared; 
law and order erelong reigned once more through- 
out Bengal ; waste lands were brought under the 
plough ; and revenue began to flow with its 
former freedom into the Company^s treasury.! 

* Memoirs of Sir E. Impey, Chap. 10. 
f Hastings* work was erelong undone by the Court of Direc- 
tors, and it was not till 1860 that the Crown's and Company's 
chief Courts were finally amalgamated. ^^ 


Before the year's end, Francis had set out on 
his voyage home, bearing with him a large for- 
tune, not all fairly won,* and an undying grudge 
against Impey and the Governpr-General. The 
former had once cast him in heavy damages, on 
an action brought by the husband of a lady whose 
character Francis had blighted by a love^intrigue.f 
To Hastings, on the other haiad, he owed not 
only many a thwarted scheme, but the crowning 
mortification of a wound received in a duel of his 
own seeking. 

How Hastings came to appear, as he himself 
said, "in the odious character of a duellist,'' must 
now be explained. His new understanding with 
Francis soon shared the fate of all compacts in 
which bad faith or a defective memory plays any 
part. Two months had hardly passed, before 
Francis showed signs of relapsing into his old 
obstructive ways. Various measures proposed 
by Hastings for caiTying on the campaign against 
Sindia, were rejected by his old rival on pretexts 
manifestly unfair. Sir John C^Oyley once more 
essayed the part of mediator ; but Francis shuf- 

* Memoirs of Sir E, Impey, Chap. 12. 

t Niclioll's " RecoUections and K^flections," Vol. 1. Mrs. 
Legrand afterwards married the famous Prince Talleyrand.. 



fled out of his pled^^es with Protean cuiming, 
and jin offrontury all his own. Devoid of the 
military jronius which enabled Hastings to achieve 
gi'eat results with means seemingly inadequate, 
he insisted on recalling Popham trowL the scene 
of his impending victory at Gwaliar, and did his 
worst to lunder the advance of Camac's colunui 
into Malwa. " I am not Governor," wrote Hast- 
ings to Sulivan, with a bitterness easy to llnde^ 
stand : "all the powers I possess are those of pre- 
venting the rule fi'om falling into worse hands 
than my own." Fortunately his opponent's tem- 
porary illness left Hastings free to save India in 
his own way. Popham was not recalled; and the 
brilliant capture of Gwaliar bore timely witness 
alike to Popham's soldiership, and the happy 
daring of the Governor-General. 

But it only added fresh fuel to the :flame of 
Francis' rancour. He complained that Hastings 
had taken unfair advantage of his absence from 
Calcutta, and coolly denied the fact of any con- 
cessions made by him during his iUness to Sir 
John D'Oyley. This was more than the patience 
even of Hastmgs could digest. On the 15th 
August, in reply to one of Francis' minutes, he 
used these words in Council — '^ I do rot trust 


to his promise of candour, convinced that he is 
incapable of it. I judge of his pubUc conduct 
by my experience of his private, which I have 
found to be devoid of tinith and honour."* 

No wonder that he should have lost his temper 
at this new evidence of his opponent's treachery. 
At the very moment when our rule in India de- 
pended upon the energy, foresight, and firm 
courage of his own government, he found him- 
self once more baflfled and befooled by the man, 
whose promises of support had alone emboldened 
him to dispense with Barwell's aid. No wonder 
that Hastings taxed his old enemy with repeated 
falsehoods, and wilful breaches of faith. It is 
easy to say that this new quarrel arose from 
mutual misunderstandings ; but all the evidence 
and likelihoods go to fasten the whole blame of it 
on Francis himself. To take his word in this 
matter against that of Hastings and Sir John 
D'Oyley, would be an act of simple injustice to the 
two latter. From all we know of Francis, it is 
far more probable that he lied of set purpose, 
than that he and Hastings had merely misunder- 
stood each other. 

* A copy of the minute containing these words had been for- 
warded to Francis by Hastings the evening before. 


Be that as it may, it seemed impossible for a 
man of honour, however small his regard for 
Truth, to overlook the insult which Hastinorg had 
so publicly offered him. Wlien the Council 
was over, Francis called Hastings into a side 
room, and there challenged him to fight a duel on 
the 17th. About sunrise of that day the antago- 
nists faced each other, pistol in hand. They fired 
together. Ha[)pily for India Hastings remained 
imhurt. Francis fell with a bullet in his left side. 
Two hours later, Hastings learned that his rival 
"was in no manner of danger ;" the shot haidng 
travelled round the backbone mthout injuring it.* 
Of the spirit in which Francis went, forth to 
fight his rival, a characteristic story was after- 
wards told by one of his contemporaries, a lady 
who died some twenty years ago at a great age.f 
On the morning of the 17th August, Francis was 
sipping coffee in the verandah, when a crow hopped 
invitingly near him. With a well-aimed- shot fk)m 
his pistol, he laid the intruder dead, exclaiming, 
" If my hand will only be as steady an hour 
hence, I shall be Governor- General of India to- 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastings/' Yol. ii., Chap. 7. " Mpmoirs 
of Sir E. Impey," Chap. 8. -«i.emui« 

t Her name, I beheve, was Mrs. EUerton, who died about 1857. 


morrow." Whatever truth there may be in this 
story, it is certain that Hastings' advances to his 
wounded foe were not met by the latter in a for- 
jriving spirit. On the day of the duel, the former 
sent his secretary to see Francis, and to express the 
Governor-General's desire to see him also as soon 
as he was better. Some days afterwards Francis 
sent a message declining the proffered visit, 
" not from any remains of resentment, but from 
the consideration of what he owed to his own 
character." He would treat Hastings with all 
respect, but their future intercourse must be con- 
fined to the Council table. 

Before the end of Au2^ust, Francis was already 
preparing a reply to the minute which had pro- 
voked the duel. To that reply Hastings drew 
up a rejoinder, and the war of minutes went on 
between them until December, when Francis, 
after firing a last shot of ink and paper at his suc- 
cessful rival, sailed homewards, to brew, in due 
time, fresh schemes of vengeance against the 
author of his past mishaps and disappointments. 

With his departure Hastings once more 
breathed freely. After six years of conflict, he 
could " enjoy the triumph of a decided victoiy." 
There was, indeed, " a war, either actual or im- 


pi^iuliiifr, in ev(Ty quarter, and with every powef 
in Ilindostan." lie saw before him *'an ex- 
hausted treasur}^, an accumulating debt," a cofltly 
and vicious system of administration, cormption 
rife in high places, trade impoverished, and "a 
country oppressed by private rapacity, and de- 
prived of its vital resources " in order to feed 
the war, to furnish help of all kinds to the other 
Presidencies, and to meet the call for private 
remittances to England. But Francis was gone 
at last, and with him all the worst evils of the 
moment. " I shall have no competitor," wrote 
Hastings, "to oppose my designs, to encourage 
disobedience to my authority, to write circular 
letters with copies of instruments from the Court 
of Directors proclaiming their distrust of me and 
denouncing my removal ; to excite and foment 
popular odium against me ; to urge me to acts 
of severity, and then abandon and oppose me • 
to keep alive the expectation of impendinff 
changes ; to teach foreign states to counteract 
me, and to deter them from forming connexions 
with me. I have neither his emissaries in office 
to thwart me from system, nor my own depen- 
dents to presume on the rights of attachment. 
In a word, I have power, and I will employ it 


during the interval in which the credit of it shall 
last, to retrieve past misfortunes, to remove pre- 
sent dangers, and to re-establish the powers of 
the Company, and the safety of its possessions."* 
There was no idle boasting in this language, 
nothing mean or selfish in the exultation thus 
expressed. It was the unchained eagle taking 
his first flight upwards into the free air. " To 
reign is worth ambition " for purposes such as 
those which Hastings set himself to accomplish. 
The self-confidence which comes of self-insight, 
bade him rejoice in the prospect of wielding un- 
fettered power for great and patriotic ends. His 
term of office, which expired in 1778, had since 
been prolonged from year to year by a reluctant 
ministry and a hostile Court of Directors. They 
knew that England, begirt with enemies, could 
ill afford to loose so useful a leader at such a 
time. Hastings knew it also, and the knowledge 
gave him strength to discharge his duty to his 
country and his employers in the way that to him 
seemed best, with small regard for the clamour 
raised against him at home. How greatly he 
succeeded during the next three years in fulfiling 
his pledge to save India we have already seen. 

* Gleig'8 "Warren Hastings," Vol. ii., Cliap. 8. 



The year 1781 opened for Hastings on a troubled 
sea of dangers, difficulties, and distress. Haidar 
Ali was raging in the Camatic, Goddard and 
Camac were still fighting the Marathas, and 
French fleets were cruising in the Bay of Bengal 
When he had sent Camac to look after Sindia, 
had shipped off Coote's soldiers to Madras, had 
started Pearse^s Sepoys on their march through 
Orissa, and completed his bargain with the Rajah 
of Berar, Hastings found the Bengal Treasury 
running very low. It was no time for standincr 
upon trifles. IVIoney must be raised somehow, if 
British India was to be saved. Among other 
sources of supply, he turned to the Rajah of 
Banaras. Chait Singh was the gi:andson of an 
adventurer, who had ousted his own patron and 
protector from the lordship of the district so 
named.* In 1775, his fief had been transferred 

* " Debates of the House of Lords on the Evidence delivered 
in the Trial of Warren Hastings," p. 61. 


by treaty from the Nawab of Oudh to the Com- 
pany. As a vassal of the Company he was bound 
to aid them with men and money in times of spe- 
cial need. Five lakhs of rupees — £50,000 — and 
two thousand horse was the quota which Hast- 
tings had demanded of him in 1780.* 

In spite of a revenue of half-a-million, of the 
great wealth stored up in his private coffers, and 
of the splendid show which he always made in 
public, the Rajah pleaded poverty, and put off 
compliance with the demands of his liege lord. 
Hastings, for his part, would take no denial from 
one whose word could not be trusted, and whose 
recent acts seemed to betoken a spirit wholly dis- 
affected to our rule. Chait Singh had repeatedly 
delayed the payment of his ordinary tribute ; his 
body-guard alone was larger than the force which 
Hastings required of him ; he was enrolling 
troops for some warlike purpose, and Hastings' 
agents accused him of secret plottings with the 
Oudh Begams at Faizabad. Fowke himself had 
complained of the Rajah's rudeness and evasions.f 
Markham, who replaced Fowke as Resident at 

* The first demand for five lakhs was made and long evaded 
in 1778. 
t " Debates of the House of Lords," p. 6L 


Banaras early in 1781, char cjed by Hastings to 
treiit the Rajah as kindly, mildly, and civilly as 
he could, in vain entreated him to "nutke a show 
of obedience, by mustering even five hundred 
horse." In vain did Hastings himself rednce his 
demand to one thousand.* Chait Singh still 
sent evasive answers, and never furnished a single 

The Rajah, in fact, like a shrewd, self-seeking 
Hindu, was waiting upon circumstances, which 
at that time boded ill for his English neighbours. 
The Marathas, the French, or some other power 
might yet relieve him from the yoke of a ruler 
who restrained his ambition, and lectured him 
on the duty of preserving law and order amonor 
his own subjects. Of his self-seeking, Hastings 
had learned a lesson in 1777, when the Kajah 
sent off a special messenger to worship, as he 
thought, the new-risen sun, in the person of Sir 
John Clavering. But before the messenger got 
near Calcutta, that sun had proved but a passing 
meteor, and Hastings' star once more ruled the 
Eastern sky. 

It has often been argued that, in his stem deal- 
ings with the Rajah of Banams, Hastings was 

* " Debates/* p. 30. 


impelled by malice and a desire for revenge. 
But the subsequent verdict of the House of Lords 
on this point, justifies itself to all who have care- 
fully followed the facts of his life, Francis 
gloried in treasuring up a grudge, and repaying 
it A\dth interest whenever he had a chance. 
Hastings, on the contrary, never knowingly let 
his private feelings warp his public policy. No 
paltry personal motives seem to have entered into 
his treatment of Chait Singh. As a matter of 
policy, he determined to make an example of a 
contumacious vassal, whose conduct in that hour 
of need added a new danger to those which 
surrounded the English in India. A heavy fine 
would teach the Rajah to obey orders, and *help 
betimes to till his own treasury with the sinews 
of war. Such in other words was the purpose 
avowed ])y Hastings himself in the paper which 
records his journey to Bandras, and what came 
of it. 

Chait Singh had already tried upon the 
Governor-General those arts which in Eastern 
countries people of all classes employ against each 
other without a blush. He had sent Hastings a 
peace-offering of two lakhs — £20,000. Hastings 
took the money, but reserved it for the Com- 


l)a(l.* Meanwhile his armed retainers were flock- 
iiiij: into tlie city from his stronor castle of Ram- 
naj^ar, on tlu» opposite bank. Mixing with the 
popnlaee, they provoked a tinnult, in which the 
two com])anies of Sepoys j^uarding the prisoner 
were cut to pieces. Wiih luiloaded muskets and 
empty pouches — for the ammunition had been for- 
<;otten — tlie poor men fell like sheep belore their 
butchers. Two more companies, in marching to 
their aid through the narrow streets, were nearly 
annihilated. Durinpr the tumult Chait Singh 
(piietly slipped out of the palace, dropped by a 
rope of turbans into a boat beneath, and crossed 
in safc^ty to Ranniajrar. 

Hastings has been blamed for rashness in en- 
terinf»: the Rajah's capital with so small a force. 
l)Ut''the lu^st-laid schemes of mice and men gang 
aft a|>ley,'' and the massacre of the Sepoys was 
obviously due to the fault of their own officers. 
His position, however, was critical enough. If 
Chait Singh's followers had not shared betimes 
their master's fli<»:ht across the river, Hastings, 
with his band of thirty Englishmen and fifty 
Sepoys, might have paid very dearly for the 
sudden miscarriage of his plans. But the rabble 

* " Debates," p. 52. 


of Bandras had no leader, and troops from the 
nearest garrisons were abeady marching to the 
rescue of a Governor whom the whole army 
regarded with loving pride. Among the first who. 
reached him was the gallant Popham, bringing 
^vith him several hundred of his own Sepoys. 
Trusty messengers carried the news of Hastings' 
danger, and orders for help to Chunar, Lucknow, 
and Mirzapiir. In other letters he assured his 
wife of his own safety, and told Wheeler all he 
had done, and was doing, to bring matters to a 
prosperous issue. 

In the midst of his danger, increased as it was 
by risings in Oudh, and the murderous defeat 
of Mayaffre's headlong attack on Rdmnagar on 
the 17th, Hastings quietly wrote off to Colonel 
Muir his last instructions concerning the treaty 
which he was then negotiating with Sindia. Find- 
ing himself still in danger, he withdrew by night 
to the river-fortress of Chundr.* Meanwhile 
Colonel Morgan was hurrying down without 

* This flight gave rise to the following well-known couplet .^^ 
'* G-hor^ par haudah, hathi par zin, 
Jaldi bnag gaya Warren Hastin." 
Which may be rendered — 

** Saddle on elephant, howdah on steed, 
Eode Warren Hastings away with speed." 



orders from Cawnpore, and the Xa^wdb of Oudh 
made lar<re oflFers of help, which Hastings proudly 
declined. In the sjime spirit, he "rejected every 
advance from Chait Smgh, even 'when he had 
40,000 men in arms, and I had not 2,000 to 
op|)Ose them." 

At one time the Rajah's forces were only a 
few miles from Chunar. But the beginning of 
September found Popham strong enough to open 
a campaign, which speedily avenged the slaugh- 
ters at lianaras and Ramnagar, and carried Hast- 
ings back into the full stream of richly-earned 
success. Before the end of September the Rajah's 
troops had been routed at every point, and he 
himself had fled for shelter to his last stronghold 
at Bijigarh, on the hills overlooking the Son. 
Seeing no safety for himself even there, he 
escaped, mth the bulk of his treasure, into Bun- 
dalkhand. The capture of Bijigarh on the 10th 
November, closed the brief but brilliant cam- 
paign. The booty, amounting to £400,000, was 
at once divided among the captors ; and Hastings 
lost his only chance of replenishing his treasury 
at the expense of Chait Singh.* He consoled 

* Stubbs'a ** Bengal Artillery," Vol. 1, Chap.ii. Some hand- 
Bome presents which the oi&cers forwarded for Mr. and Mrs 


himself and improved the Company's finances, by 
bestowing the rebel's forfeit lordship on his 
nephew, and doubling the tribute hitherto ex- 

He was more successful in accomplishing 
another object of his journey up the country. 
Owing partly to his own misconduct, but chiefly 
to the hard conditions imposed by Francis and 
his colleagues in 1775, the Nawdb-Vazir of Oudh 
was sinking deeper and deeper into the Com- 
pany's debt. In six years, that debt had grown 
to a million and a half, chiefly on account of the 
British garrisons which, in the face of passing 
dangers and probable needs, could not with safety 
be mthdrawn or reduced. The Governor-Gene- 
ral was in sore want of money for a war on which 
hung the fate of British India. Asaf ad-daula 
for his part saw no way but one out of his grow- 
ing difficulties. If Hastings would not relieve 
him of the burden of maintaining even one brigade, 
he might perhaps agree to the Nawab's proposals 
for recovering some of the estates and treasures, 
which Hastings' old colleagues had un&irly with- 
held from him. 

Hastings, were sent back by the former. Gleig*s "Warren 
Hastings," Vol. 2, Chap. ix. 


While he was yet at ChunAr, Hastings received 
a visit from the Nawab. He listened to the 
Nawdb's proposals with a readiness sharpened by 
his financial straits, and by his knowledge of the 
active part which the Oudh Princesses had taken 
in the rebellious movements of Chait Singh.* 
Their intrigues had furnished him with a good 
excuse for repairing, to the Company*s advantage, 
the injustice done by his council six years before. 
With a sense, it may be, of grim satisfaction at 
the prospect of undoing the work of his old enemy 
Francis, he agreed to sanction the arrangement 
once more proposed by his embarassed ally. He 
even promised, if all went well, to relieve the 
Nawab of all charges for the maintenance of an 
English brigade. 

The course adopted, says Macaulay, was 
*^ simply this, that the Governor- General and the 
Nawab-Vizier should join to rob a third party ; 
and the third party whom they determined to 
rob, was the parent to one of the robbers." To 
this neat epigrammatic statement of the case it is 
enough to say in answer, that the robbery was 

* Soldiers of the Begams had been found among the prisoners 
taken at Pafcita, and the country aroiind Faizabad was openly 
hostile to the English. 


committed in 1775, by the parent upon the son. 
What Hastings agreed to do, was simply to en- 
courage the person robbed in his schemes for 
recoverfng the stolen goods. Neither in law, nor 
in fact, had the Begams any right to the property 
which Asaf-ad-daula had been compelled by the 
Calcutta Council to leave in their possesion. His 
obligations under the compact of 1775 were can- 
celled by their recent plottings with Chait Singh, 
if not by the absolute failure of his financial 

After his return to Lucknow, the Nawab- 
Vazir began to shrink from carrying out against 
his mother and grandmother an agreement which 
affected his own favourites also. But the Gover- 
nor-General pinned him to his promises by threat- 
ening to withdraw his Resident and the English 
troops from Uudh, and to leave the Nawab en- 
tirely to his own devices.* Middleton, who had 
once more replaced Bristow at Lucknow, was 
ordered to stand no more nonsense from our 
weak-minded but cunning ally. Hastings had 
already learned enough to convince him that the 
Begams deserved no special mercy at their kins- 
man's hands. It was shown by evidence, which 

* ** Debates of the House of Lords/' &o,, p. 119. 

;:!!■ r'.v:.r !• *;i:'>:>.>: hi* judircf* in the House of 
I-' .-'i-. Tii.T t:.-\ LiU Liv-ited the IS^iah of Banans 
v.-.::. 111.":, ia. : lii- i.vv. and Lad otherwise abetted 
li!- ;•• \' ]t i-.j;i!:.< ilii: Eiiirlish. In orderthat the 
« vi'i. r. . iii!jiii 'i- duly aTTi-<Te<l. Inipev, who was 
M-!ir« !;. Tn.v. !li:,j wiili his wife up coimtir, !■ r ij- h-ruiih. jijinly in discharore of Ids 
'J'it> - ji-* -lu'liv- •>! ihtr Sttdr I>ewini Adalat, pro- 
ritil-ti at lil- tri».-:.d*? ^:que^T to Lucknow. The 
tiiklh'^ <A atTii.Liv:i> in ^up]JO^t of Hastings' 
" Narnaiv- *' of the Lite rebellion was a simple 
pn/.'r-'? '.♦.i.du.icd by Impey in the character, not 
ot a ju^:;;*.- or a ma;:!jitrate. but merelv of an Eng- 
li?hMj;ui aoqiuiiiitel ^\"ith the simplest forms of 
br.v.* l>(:h'^ i.^.-ar the s[»ot. for he had already 
n:a<^ hod Jiaiiara-. th- Chitrf Justice readilv afrreed 
to h\j\i'^f: his trieiid. and see somethinor of India 
beyoud iiahar, by extending his travels uito 
Oudh. With the contents of the affidavits he 
had nothing to do. His only care was to see the 
documents regularly attested before one who 
claimed "some reputation as a lawyer,'' and knew 
the diflSculties which surrounded Hasting both in 
India and at home. 

Readers of Macaulay ^vill do well to mark the 

• " Alemoirs of Sir E. Impey,'* Chap. ix. 

macaulay''s rash assertions. 263 

astounding folly which turned this act of extra- 
judicial courtesy into one more evidence of 
Impey's shame. The essayist's picture of the 
Chief Justice hurrying to Lucknow " as fast as 
relays of palanquin-bearers could carry him," and 
taking a host of affidavits which he did not, and 
some of which he could not, read, in order that 
'' he might give, in an irregular manner, that 
sanction which in a regular manner he could not 
give, to the crimes of those who had recently 
hired him," is drawn entirely from that warm 
Celtic imagination which its author shared with 
Burke and Sheridan. It differs as widely from 
the plain truth of the matter, as a novel by Victor 
Hugo differs from the facts of ordinary life.* 

On his return to Calcutta, before the end of 
1781, Impey was thanked by the Supreme Coun- 
cil for the trouble he had incurred ; and Hastings 
himself, who with his wife returned thither some 
weeks later,f received from his colleagues an 
address of congratulation for the results achieved 
by him at Bandras, Chunar, and Lucknow. 

By that time — February 1782 — the Nawab of 

* Let me remark by the way, that Impey was a good Persian 
and Arabic scholar, 8|>oke Bengali if not Hindustani fluently, 
and took his Munshi with him. (Memoirs of Sir E. Impey). 

t They had remained at Banaras from October till January. 


Oudh had been induced to carry out the pledges 
given under his hand in the previous September. 
His English troops had entered the palace at 
Faizabad, and the two eunuchs who managed 
the Begams' affairs had been compelled, by 
hunger and confinement in chains, to disgorge 
some part of the weaUh entrusted to their keep- 
ing by the late Nawab. Of the money thus 
obtained, more than half a million was at once 
paid into the Company's treasury, and the balance 
still due was presently recovered out of the 
revenues of certain Jaigirs or fiefs, which Asaf- 
ad-daula at length took courage to reclaim, from 
their former holders for the good of the State. 

For some months longer the hapless eunuchs 
were kept in bondage by their own master, in the 
hope of squeezing more money out of their suf- 
feiings, and their fears of yet harsher treatment 
to come. The Begams, also, were carefully 
watched, and their freedom limited to the palace 
precincts. Some further payments were thus 
extracted, by a process which seemed humane 
in comparison with the usual practice of Eastern 
princes. The ladies in the palace suffered no 
real hardship, and even the eunuchs were free to 
receive visitors, to walk in their own garden, and 


to eat without stint of the food their servants 
cooked for them. After a few months their 
fetters were taken off.* At last, the Governor- 
General himself interfered to stay all further 
proceedings on the Nawdb's part ; and early in 
December, 1782, the prisoners were finally set 
free. The Begams lived to send Hastings "strong 
letters of friendship and commiseration," says 
Mr. Gleig, during his subsequent trial before the 
House of Lords. The younger of them was 
"alive and hearty, and very rich," when Lord 
Valentia visited Lucknow in 1803. " Well, fat, 
and enormously rich," are the words he uses in 
describing one of the eunuchs, on whose suffer- 
ings Burke had descanted with his wonted elo- 
quence many years before.f 

In the whole course of these transactions, no 
just groimd can be alleged for the blame which 
was afterwards imputed to the Governor-General, 
as if he was answerable for the means adopted 
by the Nawab-Vazir to carry out the agreement 
signed at Chunar. 

The resumption of the Jaiglrs, was a stroke of 

* Wilson's Note to Mill, Book 5, Chap viii. 
t Lord Valentia's Travels, quoted in " Memoirs of Sir E. 
^^''^''Impey,'* Chap. ix. 


Oudh had Iktii induced to carry out the pledges 
jrivfii uiidiT Ills hand in the previous September. 
His Kn<rlish tn.M)ps had entered the palace at 
Fai/jihad, and the two eunuchs ^who managed 
the lie;rains' affairs had been compelled, by 
hun;r(»r and confinement in chains, to disgorge 
sonui part of the wealth entrusted to their keep- 
in;^ by thii late Xawab. Of the money thus 
obtained, more than half a million was at once 
paid into the Company's treasury, and the balance 
still due was presently recovered out of the 
revenues of certain Jaigirs or fiefs, -which Asaf- 
ad-daula at lenp^th took courage to reclaim fi^m 
their former holders for the good of the State. 

For some months longer the hapless eunuchs 
were kept in bondage by their own master, in the 
hope of squeezing more money out of their suf- 
feiings, and their fears of yet harsher treatment 
to come. The Begams, also, were carefully 
watched, and their freedom limited to the palace 
precincts. Some further payments -were thus 
extracted, by a process which seemed humane 
in comparison with the usual practice of Eastern 
princes. The ladies in the palace suffered no 
real hardship, and even the eunuchs were free to 
receive visitors, to walk in their own garden, and 


to eat without stint of the food their servants 
cooked for them. After a few months their 
fetters were taken off.* At last, the Governor- 
General himself interfered to stay all further 
proceedings on the Nawdb's part ; and early in 
December, 1782, the prisoners were finally set 
free. The Begams lived to send Hastings "strong 
letters of friendship and commiseration," says 
Mr. Gleig, during his subsequent trial before the 
House of Lords. The younger of them was 
" alive and hearty, and very rich," when Lord 
Valentia visited Lucknow in 1803. '' Well, fat, 
and enormously rich," are the words he uses in 
describing one of the eunuchs, on whose suffer- 
ings Burke had descanted with his wonted elo- 
quence many years before. t 

In the whole course of these transactions, no 
just ground can be alleged for the blame idnck 
was afterwards imputed to the Govemfflr-Genenl, 
as if he was answerable for the means adojattd 
by the Nawab-Vazir to cany out the jigK«neDi 
signed at Chunar. 

The resumption of the Jaigfrs, 'wwb a ficrcte <A 

* Wilson's Note to IGIL Book S, €big>-«^ 
t Lord Yalentia's Trareli, qoofced i& ^Ibmnm if Sir 
•Impey,'* Chap. ii. 


retired Nabobs, whom Englishmen had been wont 
to contemplate with mingled awe and derision. 
The Nawab of Oudh, for instance, had lately 
oflfered him a present of ten lakhs of rupees, or 
£100,000. Instead of pocketing the money, 
Hastings informed the Court of Directors that he 
had kept it for their service, adding a request that 
he might, as a special mark of their approval, be 
allowed to keep it for himself. Yet even this, 
which ought rather to tell in his favour, was 
aftei'wards turned to his discredit. Although 
every anna of this money was duly expended in 
the public service, the fact of its acceptance 
formed one of the charges on which Hastings was 
to be impeached by the Commons, and acquitted 
by the Lords. 

In the course of the year 1782, Hastings had 
to play the part of peccemaker between Lord 
Macartney and Sir Eyre Coote. The Governor 
of Madras complained of the old General's inso- 
lence towards himself and his colleagues, and 
Coote complained of their constant inattention to 
his demands for help. Hastings soothed the 
latter with kind words and wise counsels, and 
persuaded the former to sacrifice his pride to the 
public interest. In the midst of his efforts to 


secure the triumph of our arms in Southern India, 
to break down the kst barriers of Maratha hos- 
tility, to carry out reforms in Oudh and Bandras, 
to improve the salt and opium revenues of Bengal, 
and to inspire the people with a growing confi- 
dence in his firm yet temperate rule, he was 
seized for the first time in his public career with 
a long and serious illness, which delayed for 
months the completion of his schemes of adminis- 
trative and financial reform. His own recovery 
was followed by Wheeler's illness ; but the next 
year found him still hopeful and hard at work.* 

* Gleig's " Memoirs," Vol. iii.. Chaps, i. & ii. 



By this time new storms were brewing in Eng- 
land against the dauntless and proud-souled states- 
man, whose achievements in India formed the one 
bright spot in the picture of England's losing or 
unfruitful struggles with a world in arms. Thfe 
rancour of Francis, who might have sat for 
Milton's Behal, or given Pope ideas for his por- 
trait of Lord Henry, was already doing its poi- 
sonous work. Hastings had already heard of 
the censures passed on him by a Committee of 
the Commone, and read, with a smile of bitter 
scorn, the letters which told him how his enemies 
at the India House were engaged in driving those 
censures home. Early in 18^3, his steady friend 
and fellow worker, Impey, received the order for 
his recal, as voted by the House of Commons in 
the previous May. This was another shaft from 
Francis' quiver. Hastings himself had just been 
rebuked by the Court of Directors for his 
treatment of Chait Singh ; and they had even 


gone the length of recalling him, when the Court 
of Proprietors came once more to the rescue of 
their old favourite. By a large majority they 
forced the Directors to rescind their vote, and 
appointed a committee to watch over the Com- 
pany's interests in the coining conflict with a 
hostile House of Commons. 

To the strictures of the India House upon his 
conduct, Hastings replied in terms of just indig- 
nation and manly scorn. He had been arraigned 
before ''the whole body of the people of Eng- 
land " for " acts of such compHcated aggravation 
that, if they were true, no punishment short of 
death could atone for the__ini]ify which the in- 

^ad sustained in 

\ on behalf of 

"The man," 

xiked among 

i when he 

' for ; nor 

he will 


/ith justice, 

.ow, of becom- 

/ own interests, 


I'age 270, line 8, /or Lo' 

not know how to 

which you thought it 

however opposite to polic^ 

ing his advocate against yv. ^ 

should inspire any of your own servants to 


become his advisers and instructors." In spite 
of the diificulties which, thanks to the powers at 
home, had beset him in the last eleven years, '* I 
please myself," he Siiid, "with the hope that, in the 
annals of your dominions which shall be written 
after the extinction of prejudice, this term of its 
administration will appear not the least conducive 
to the interests of the Company, nor the least re- 
flective of the honour of the British name." He 
called upon the Court to attest the patience and 
temper with which he had borne all the indig- 
nities heaped upon him "in a long service.'' 
Gratitude to his original masters and most indul- 
gent patrons, had hitherto kept him faithful to his 
trust. Now, however, in the midst of formidable 
dangers, which his government had thus far suc- 
cessfully encountered, the Directors had chosen 
that very season to " annihilate its constitutional 
powers." It only, therefore, remained for him 
to " declare, as I now most formally do, that 
.... it is my intention to resign your service 
as soon as I can do it without prejudice to your 
affairs, after the allowance of a competent time 
for your choice of a person to succeed me ; and 
to declare that if, in the intermediate time, you 
shall proceed to order the restoration of Rajah 


Cheyte Singh to the zemindary from which he 
was dismissed, for crimes of the greatest enor- 
mity, and your council shall resolve to execute 
the order, I will instantly give up my station and 
the service."* 

Happily for India, the challenge thus boldly 
flung down in March, 1783, was not yet to be 
taken up. Chait Singh remained in comfortable 
exile at Gwaliar, and Banaras presently became a 
British district. Hastings staid on for nearly two 
years longer, chafing under new annoyai^es, but 
determined, if he could, to see the great game of 
Indian politics fairly played out. Of his colleagues 
in Council, not even Wheeler could still be trusted, 
to follow his lead, and the friendly understand- 
ing with Lord Macartney had already passed into 
a bitter feud. The Governor of Madras, perhaps 
with good reason, refused to reinstate the Nawdb 
of Arkot in the management of his own revenues, 
rebelled with less reason against every order re- 
ceived from Calcutta, and poisoned the minds of 
the Court of Directors with unfair complaints 
ajrainst the Governor-General. Hastings' own 
jigents at Lucknow and Banaras weie replaced 
by nominees of the India House. At home, a 

* Auber's " British Power in India," Vol. 1, Chap. xi. 



succession of new ministries, from that of Rock- 
ingham to that of Fox and Lord North, brought 
him no real increase of political strength, although 
for a few months his friend and schoolfellow, 
Lord Shelbume, guided the helm of state in the 
room of his late chief, the Marquis of Eock- 

In the spring of 1783, Lord Shelburne was 
succeeded by the coalition ministry of Fox and 
Lord North, in which a secondary place was 
found for Burke. The conjunction boded no 
good for Hastings or the East India Company, 
But the King himself held strong opinions on the 
folly of recalling the foremost man in British 
India from a post which still demanded bis saving 
presence. His intense dislike of Fox and his 
Whig followers, had much to do with the subse- 
quent overthrow of a ministry, whose India Bill 
aimed at transferring the Government of India 
from the Company to seven Directors named by 
the Ministry, and irremovable by the Crown.* 
In spite of Burke's eloquence and a majority in 
the House of Commons, the Bill was rejected by 

* Sir G. Lewis on the "Administrations of Great Britain," p. 68. 
They were to be removable by an address from Parliament 
only. Auber's " British Power in India," Vol. 1, Chap. xii. 


the Lords in December, and the next year opened 
on the the long and eventful ministry of William 

In the previous November the Court of Pro • 
prietors had carried, all but unanimously, a formal 
vote of thanks to Hastings for his long and in- 
valuable services. For the moment Hastings' 
star was again dominant. To him and his friends 
the defeated Ministry gave nearly all the credit 
for their own downfal, and even the Court of Du'ec- 
tors began to look more kindly on the ruler who 
had just brought his treaty with the Marathas to 
a triumphant issue. Among the new Ministers 
Hastings reckoned a few powerful, and one or 
two staunch friends. Even Dundas seems for 
the moinent to have been dazzled by the latest 
proofs of Hastings' ability in managiug a great 
war, and winning an important peace. "His 
relief and support of the Camatic, his improve- 
ment of the revenues of Bengal, his spirit and 
activity, claim every degree of praise that I can 
bestow upon him, and every support that his 
Majestys ministers can afford him."* 

Meanwhile, iu spite of many annoyances, and 
the effects of his late illness upon his own health, 

♦ Gleig's " Warren HaBtings," VoL 3, Chap. iv. 


Hastings worked away, as he best could, at the 
business wliich still required his care. In order 
to strengthen his influence at the Court of Delhi, 
and forestal the designs of the Mardthas in that 
direction, he had sent two envoys, in 1783, to 
the Imperial City. Their reports convinced him 
of Shah Alani's readiness to renew his friendship 
vnth his old allies, in preference to accepting the 
dangerous overtures of Mahdaji Sindia. But 
Hastings, once more hampered by opposing col- 
leagues, could not interfere to any good effect ; 
and the harassed Emperor prepared to bow down 
before the advancing shadow of Mardtha great- 

Before the end of 1873, Hastings took affec- 
tionate leave of Impey, who, with his wife and 
children, at length set off on his homeward 
voyage, sped by the farewell greetings of many 
friends and well-wishers, high and low. Among 
those friends was Sir William Jones, the great 
Sanskrit scholar, who had only that year arrived 
at Calcutta to replace one of Impey's colleagues, 
removed by death in 1779. In the follo^\dng 
January Hastings had to undergo the pain of part- 
ing from his own wife. Through years of incessant 

• Keene s "Moghul Empire,'* Book 2, Chap. iv. 


care and trouble, and vexatious strife, Mrs. Hast- 
ings had been the very pole-star of his being ; in 
Mr. Gleig's own words, " his friend, his confi- 
dant, liis solace, his supreme deUght." During 
the outbreak at Bandras, his first thought had 
been of her, his chief anxiety to keep her from 
feeling anxious on his account. At that time 
she was still an invalid, and since then her health 
had continued to decline. But the war with 
France, and the boldness of Sufirein's cruisers, 
delayed her departure, as it had delayed that of 
the Chief Justice. With the return of peace 
Hastings would no longer consent to put off his 
\vife's return home. On the 10th January, 1784, 
he ''left the Atlas under sail" for England, and 
went back to Calcutta resolved to follow his wife 
before the year's end. 

He had hoped, indeed, to leave India with 
Mrs. Hastings. But new reasons for waiting a 
year longer presented themselves to him in the 
meanwhile. The peace with Tippu was still to 
ratify ; the quarrel with Lord Macartney still 
raged with small hope of adjustment ; a famine 
had broken out in Upper India which threatened 
to affect Bengal ; and the affairs of Oudh, mis- 
managed by Bristow, the Company's chosen 


agent, cailed for Hastings' further interference. 
Early in 1784, Bristowwas recalled. About the 
middle of February Hastings, with the consent 
of his Council, started on his last tour up the 
country to Banaras and Lucknow. At Banaras 
he received an interesting report from his young 
kinsman, Captain Turner, whom he had de- 
spatched the year before on another mission to 
the Lama of Tibet. In the interval between his 
mission and that of Bogle, Hastings had kept up 
a friendly intercourse with the Tibetan Kajali of 
Bhutan. From Turner himself, he had already 
learned at Patna the story of his journey to Teshu 
Lumbo, and of his visit to the infant Lama at the 
monastery of Terpaling.* 

His stay at Lucknow extended from April to 
the latter part of August. During that time he 
succeeded in rescuing the Nawab- Vazir^s finances 
from utter wreck, and placing his government in 
the hands of two able and trustworthy ministers. 
At Faizabad he made friends of the lately de- 
spoiled Begams, by restoring them a part of their 
forfeited Jaigirs. Among those who sought his 
countenance at Lucknow, was the Shahzdda^ or 
Prince Jawan Bakht, heir to the once honoured 

* Markham's " Narrative," Introduction. 


throne of Dehli. Hastings took a fancy to his 
visitor, and would have helped him, if he could, 
to rescue his father from the hands of traitors at 
home, and the wiles of his Maratha neighbours. 
But his colleagues at Calcutta still shrank from 
the bolder policy which would have saved the 
House of Babar from final collapse. With such 
help as Hastings was free to give him in men and 
money, the Shahzada afterwards returned in safety 
to his father's capital. Hastings could only advise 
him to look to Sindia for protection against the 
dangers which surrounded the Emperor in his 
own city.* 

Early in September, Hastings was sailing down 
the broad flood of the rain-swollen Ganges to 
Bandras. In a letter to his wife, he describes 
the incidents of his voyage, the damage done, 
through careless boatmen, to his " beautiful 
budgerow ; " the receipt of letters from England, 
which announced the overthrow of his enemies 
and the re-establishment of his own reputation ; 
his brief stay with kind friends at Chunar ; his 
aiTival at Banaras ; his state of health, bodily and 

mental ; and the joy with which he received " a 

* Keene'8 " Moghul Empire," Book 2, Chap. iv. Gleig's 
'* Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. tU. 


short l)ut blessed letter," from Mrs. Hastings, 
written oft* St Helena in May. Of his way of 
life he says, " I eat sparingly ; I never sup, and 
am generally in bed by ten. I breakfast at six. 
I bathe with cold water daily, and ^while I was 
at Lucknow, twice a day, using sooreys* cooled 
with ice. Though my mind has laboured under 
a constant and severe load, yet the business which 
has occupied it has been light with no variety to 
draw my attention different ways, and with little 
vexation. To these may be added, that unless 
everybody was in a conspiracy to deceive me, all 
ranks of people were pleased, not because I did 
good, but because I did no ill.'* 

His references to the Shahzada, who had accom- 
panied him so far on his way home, bear witness 
alike to the good qualities of a prince " whose 
character gains instead of losing by acquaintance," 
and to the deep reluctance with which Hastings 
had to play the part of a mere adviser. A good 
deal of the letter deals with "public concerns," 
which Hastings discusses freely with his Marian, 
dwelling especially on his reasons for coining 
home soon, even with an income barely equal to 
his wants. •' What a letter," he adds, " have I 

* Large jars of porous clay, more properly written ** Sstrais." 


written ; and who that read it without the direc- 
tion would suspect it to be written by a fond hus- 
band to his beloved ^\dfe ? " To this letter he 
adds a postscript, written some days later, in 
which he declares himself "the happiest man 
living,'' because he had just received another 
letter from his wife. 

On his previous journey from Bakhsar to Bandras, 
he had been saddened hy the traces of the long- 
prevalent drought, and '' fatigued " by the com- 
plaints of sufferers who everywhere thronged his 
path. Withm the City of Bandras he had found 
matters well ordered under the able control of 
]\Iohaimnad Reza Khan ; but the adjacent pro- 
vince seemed to have suffered, not only from famine, 
but from official misdeeds. At the time of his 
next visit, things wore a more cheerful look. 
The bare brown fields were green with the pro- 
mise of a rich harvest, and the measures he had 
taken to reform past abuses were already bear- 
ing fruit. 

The news of Wheeler's death quickened his 
return to Calcutta. On the 21st October, he 
took leave of the Shahzdda, and set out next 
morning from the Holy City, reaching Calcutta 
on the 4th of the next month. Awaiting him 


was a letter fi'om the Court of Directors, " as tm- 
pleasing as any tliat I ever received fix>in that 
body in the time of General Clavering/' They 
scolded him, among other things, for drawing 
bills upon the home treasury in aid of funds for 
the yearly investment.* This letter, followed 
by the tidings of Pitt's India Bill, decided him to 
leave India without more delay. He was " lite- 
rally sick of suspense." His friends at home 
urged him to stay on for the present ; but sjnnp- 
toms of his old fever warned him to go betimes, 
and a study of the provisions of Pitt's Bill con- 
vinced him that his resignation was "expected 
and desired." On the 26th of December he 
writes to tell his wife, of whose safe arrival in 
England he has just heard, that, as soon as his 
colleague Macpherson shall have pledged himself 
to respect his arrangements with the Nawab of 
Oudh, he will prepare for his voyage home. 
" This point settled, it is determined absolutely. 
I will wait for no advices. They have given me 
my freedom and opened the road to my happi- 

He had taken his -passage in the Barrington as 
early as November. On the 22nd of that month 

* Auber*s " British Power in India," Chap. xiii. 


he Tvi'ote to warn the Court of Directors of his 
firm intention, as things then stood, to return to 
England, as soon as the Barrington could be got 
ready to sail. On the 10th of the following 
January, he informed them that he would hand 
the government over to Macpherson by the end 
of the month. His purpose of returning home 
had evidently been strengthened by certain hopes 
which his wife's letters had lately raised within 
him. " At this instant,'* he wrote to her on the 
26th December, I have but one wish, and a little 
one annexed to it ; and God, grant them ! " 
And on the 10th January, 1785, he tells her of 
his "desire to be gone before any advices can 
arrive from England, for a reason which I cannot 
trust to writing, but which you, my Marian, will 
applaud, and the public ought to applaud, if they 
knew it." Mrs. Hastings, he thought, was about 
to become a mother. 

One of his last acts as Governor- General was 
to review the troops which, under Colonel Pearse, 
had borne their part so bravely in the war with 
Haidar. As he rode in a plain blue coat, with 
head uncovered, along the diminished ranks of 
war-worn Sepoys, dressed in motley and patched 
uniforms, the cheers that greeted him were 


ainon;r the biwlitc^st memories he earned home. 
The iiriny, indeed, us Macaulay has well said, 
" loved him as armii^s have seldom loved any but 
the jri'oatest chieis Avho have led them to victory." 
Swords of honour were bestowed by hiin on 
Pearse and two of his officers ; and the Colonel, 
whom he was '' j)roud to call his friend," was 
requested publicly to thank all under his com- 
mand for services Avhich the Governor- General 
never could forget. Xor were the claims of 
Goddard's victorious soldiere, whom Colonel 
lilorgan had led back to Cawnpore, overlooked. 
Every sepoy who had served in Southern or 
Western India received a medal, and to each 
petty officer and private, European or native, in 
either army, was granted an mcrease of his 
monthly pay.* 

Amidst all the cares and difficulties of his sreat 
post, Hastings had shown himself a steady patmn 
of the pursuit of knowledge and the arts that 
tend to humanise life. Under his auspices, 
Major Rennell and a band of able and enter- 
prising surveyors, carried on, over a wdder field, 
the survey work begun by Clive. Their re- 
searches were extended even to Cochin China, 

* Stubbs's "Bengal Artillery," Vol. 1, Chaps, ii. and iii. 


Bunnah, and the shores of the Ked Sea. He 
would have forestalled the measures taken long 
afterwards for making Egypt the highway from 
England to India. In the last year of his rule, 
Hai>tings helped to found the Asiatic Society, 
whose first President was the new judge, Sir 
AVilliam Jones. He was the first Englishman 
who persuaded the Pandits of Bengal to unfold 
to his countrymen those treasures of Sanskrit 
lore, which Sir W. Jones afterwards turned to 
such memorable use. We have already seen the 
success of his endeavours to enlist the Pandits in 
the work of codifying the native Hindu law. He 
encouraged scholars like Halhed, Anderson, and 
Hamilton to translate and arrange the chief 
sources of Hindu and Mohammadan law. 

For the extension of learning among the 
Mobammadans, Hastings founded, partly at his 
own expense, in Calcutta, a Madrasa, or College, 
where nearly a thousand students now drink, 
more or less deeply, of the springs an English- 
man opened to their forefathers more than a cen- 
tury ago. In the sphere of art, too, he showed 
himself a liberal and discerning patron. ImhofF 
was but one of several artists, who had reason to 


bless tlie day which made them acquainted with 
a ruler, whose patronage heli>ed them further 
along the road his bounty had first smoothed for 



By the ablest members of his own service 
Hastings was loved and served with a devotion 
that never faltered. One of these was the wise 
and good Augustus Cleveland, whom he had 
placed as magistrate over the wild hill-tribes of 
Bhagalpur. Cleveland's success in taming these 
naked flat-nosed savages, who had long been a 
terror and a nuisance to their lowland neigh- 
bours, was achieved by that kind of influence 
which Outram afterwards employed to like effect 
upon the Bhils of Western India. He learned 
their language, mixed freely with them at all 
hazards, shared their sports, listened patiently to 
their grievances, and dealt even justice between 
them and the neighbouring zamindars. The 
goodmll of the chiefs he won by timely presents 
of clothes, money, and corn-seed. Bazaars for 
trade were established in their villages, and the 
people were secured against the inroads of Ben- 
gali tax-gatherers. He enrolled from among 
them a corps of hill-rangers, who kept the peace 


of the district, and he encouraged the chiefs to 
admmister justice under his direction, in accord- 
ance with certain accepted rules. His death in 
January, 1784, at the early age of twenty-eight, 
was a cause of much sorrow, alike to Hastings 
and to the people whose reverence he had won, 
both for himself and his honoured master. Two 
monuments were raised to his memory; one at 
Bhagalpur, by the hill chiefs and lowland zamin- 
dars, the other at Calcutta, by Hastings and his 
Council. Hastings himself supplied the inscrip- 
tion, which tells how Cleveland, "without 
bloodshed or the terror of authority/' had 
tamed the lawless inhabitants of the Rajmahal 
jungles, and "attached them to the British 
Government by a conquest over their minds ; 
the most permanent, as the most rational, mode 
of dominion."* 

The last few weeks of Hastings^ stay in India, 
were taken up in devising plans, of retrenchment 
in the public service, in adjusting the public 
accounts, in receiving farewell addresses from 
all classes of his countrjnnen, in writing letters 
to the India House, and to his agent. Major 

Kaye*8 "Administration of the East India Company,' 
t 4, Chap. ii. Heber's Indian Journal, Vol. 1, Chap. ix. 


Scott, the former announcing his early depar- 
ture, the latter complaining of Pitt's apparent 
treachery to himself. Some time, of course, was 
devoted to his own private affairs, to the paying 
of farewell visits, and to the writing of farewell 
letters to all the native chiefs and princes with 
whom he had corresponded for so many years. 

On the 1st Februaiy, 1785, he delivered up 
the keys of the Treasury and Fort William to 
his next hi Council, Mr. Macpherson,* and ex- 
pressed to his colleagues " the warmest and most 
affectionate wishes for the prosperity and success 
of their public administration, and for their pri- 
vate ease, credit and happiness." 

A crowd of sorrowing friends and admirers 
stood ready to greet him, as for the last time 
his bearers brought him back to his own dwell- 
ing at Alipur. In returning their greetino-s he 
nearly lost his self-control. That same after- 
noon, he went down with three intimate friends 
to the ghat or quay, where lay the state-baro-e 
that would bear them down the Hughli to Kijri 

* Macpherson had been transferred from the service of the 
Nawab of Arkot to the Madras Civil Service. Returning home 
he entered Parliament, but soon after went to Calcutta as second 
member of Council. He acted as Governor-General for about 
twenty months. 


On the 6th, he boarded the Barrington^ and two 
days later the three friends and the pilot left 
the good ship speeding southward, on her long 
voyage to the land which Hastings had not seen 
for sixteen years. 

Note. — Among those whom Hastings* patronage drew to 
Calcutta was the painter Zoffany, who presented his "Last 
Supper" as an altarpiece to St. John's Church, since known as 
the Old Cathedral. This church replaced the older one, which 
had been destroyed by Suraj-ad-daula in 1756. Hastings 
himself took a leading part in the preliminary business, and the 
first stone was laid durmg his absence by Mr. Wheeler in April 
1784. The new building was finished and consecrated in 1787, 
— " Handbook to Calcutta." 





Nothing of importance marked the voyage home. 
" I had," wrote Hastings to one of the three who 
saw him last at the Sandheads, " a pleasant voy- 
age without bad weather ; a clean and tight ship ; 
officers of skill and attention, and even of science ; 
a society that I loved ; and a rapid course.'^ He 
only complained that his mind was stupid, and 
that he never passed a night without a sUo-ht 
fever.* The monotony of life at sea was broken 
by a short stay at St. Helena, and he employed 
his ample leisure in writing a narrative of the 
last three months of his rule, and in scribbhng 

* Gleig's "Warren Hastings," Vol. 3., Chap. yiii. 


verses in imitation of Horace. On the 13th of. 
June he landed at Plymouth, and next morning 
posted off to London. 

The first meeting with his wife took place at 
]\Iaidenhead on the 17th. The rest of the month 
they spent together in London, performing " all 
the duties of loyalty, respect, and civihty,'' and 
as happy as love could make a well-matched but 
still childless couple. Ever since the austere and 
stately Queen Charlotte had smiled upon Mrs. 
Hastings, her reception in the drawing-rooms of 
the great was assured. Her husband, too, was 
graciously received at Court. His welcome at 
the India House was all that he could desire. 
The Directors unanimously thanked him for his 
great services Among the ministers. Lord 
Thurlow greeted him as a true friend. Even 
from Dundas, who under the new India Act had 
become President of the new Board of Control, a 
machine devised by Pitt for the gradual absorp- 
tion of the Company's power by the Crown,* he 

* Pitt's India Bill of 1784, created a Board of Control com- 
posed of six Privy Councillors, in whose hands the Government 
of India was virtually centred. Of the twenty-four Directors, 
three were formed into a secret committee, subject to the orders 
of the Board. The Court of Proprietors was reduced to utter 


met at this time with nothing but the compli- 
ments due to his deserts. Hastings' friends, 
public and private, were numerous and powerfiiL 
In short, as he himself wrote a few weeks later, 
"I find myself everywhere, and universally, 
treated with evidences, apparent even to my own 
observation, that I possess the good opinion of 
the country." 

At Cheltenham, Tunbridge, and Bath, Hast- 
ings and his wife seem to have spent the remain- 
der of that year. Together they drank the 
waters of those places and enjoyed the company 
which they found there. Hastings' letters of 
this period show the interest he still took in 
Indian affairs, and his readiness to help the 
Ministry with advice on questions raised by the 
working of the new India Act. If a shadow of 
coming trouble now and then crossed his path, 
he soon escaped from it into the sunshine of sur- 
rounding bUss, of dreams fufiUed or still await- 
ing fulfilment. One of these latter now occupied 
his thoughts ; tlie dream of his early childhood, 
the hope that he might one day become owner of 
the old ancestral domain at Daylesford. He had 
brought home no more than £80,000, after thir- 
teen years of high office in a country where any 


less scrupulous governor might, in the same cir- 
cumstances, have amassed a million, if not much 
more*. With a part of this money he made a 
handsome offer to the owner of Daylesford, but 
in vain. Mr. Knight refused to part with his 
property on any terms ; and so, for the present, 
Hastings had to content himself with buying a 
small estate in Old Windsor, called Beaumont 
Lodge. His town house for the next four years 
was in Wimpole Street. It was not till 1788 
that Mr. Knight agreed to sell him the greater 
part of Daylesford for about £ll,424.f 

By that time, the malice of his enemies and 
the force of party spirit had once more triumphed 
over the dictates of common justice and gratitude 
to a public hero. With a zeal which he may have 
mistaken for patiotism, added to the vindictive 
rage of an ousted placeman and a discomfited 
partisan, Burke had once more made himself the 
blind tool and ready slave of the unforgiving 
Francis. Under the influence of that lying 
Belial, he had worked himself into the belief that 
the saviour of India was the worst of criminals, 

* " Debates of the House of Lords," &c., p. 442. Mrs. Hast- 
ings owned a separate sum of about £40,000, the proceeds of 
her marriage settlement. 

t Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xii. 


an encniv to the whole human race. His rash 
zejil and fiery eloquence had dragged the leaders 
of the crreat Whig party, some of them against 
their 's\ill, into a course of action at once impolitic 
and cruelly unjust. As early as June, 1785, he 
had announced in the House of Commoiis his in- 
tention erelong, to ''make a motion repecting 
the conduct of a gentleman just returned from 

In the following February he carried out his 
threat.* His demand for copies of certain papers 
having, through Pitt's influence, been twice re- 
jected, he proceeded, mth Francis' help, to draw 
up a list of charges against the object of that 
crafty schemer's undying hate. Eleven of these 
were presented on the 4th April, and as many 
more were added later to the black account. On the 
25th, Hastings obtained leave to be heard in his 
own defence. Five days only were granted him, 
" to reply to a volume that could not be read in 
less than two." But he worked hard, and at 

* It lias been argued that the rashness of Hastings' agent. 
Major Scott- Waring, in challenging Burke to make Lis threat 
good, provoked the issue which Burke's friends would else have 
shirked. This may be true, in default of evidence to the con- 
trary ; but to rae it seems more probable that Burke's mind was 
already made up for war a onirance with the late Governor- 


four p.m. on the first of May began the reading of 
an elaborate paper, to which the House listened, 
he says, " with an attention unusual in that 
assembly.*' For six hours and a half the reading 
went on, his friend Markham and two clerks 
taking their turn when he himself grew tired. 
The next evening he finished his task, to the 
great relief, we may suppose, of all who heard 
him ; although Hastings, for his part, went home 
thoroughly satisfied, good easy man, with the 
impression which his able but long-winded state- 
ment had left upon a House accustomed to 
eloquence of a much more stirring sort. " It 
instantly turned all minds to my own way," he 
wrote out to his friend and former secretaiy, 

From this delusion he was soon to be awakened. 
Burke, indeed, was defeated in the beginning of 
June in his attempt to prove Hastings guilty of 
hiring out British soldiers, " for the purpose of 
extirpating the innocent and helpless people in- 
habiting the Rohillas." Pitt threw his influence 
into the scale against the accusers ; and Dundas 
himself, in spite of his share in the previous cen- 
sure of Hastings on this very point, now declined 

* Gleig's " Warren Hastmgs," Vol. 3, Chap. ix. 


to join in a more serious attack on one who had 
meiui while deserved so well of his country. For 
a time it seemed as if the friends of the accused 
Governor were justified in crowing over their 
discomlited assailants. But on the 13th June, 
Fox opened the next charge, which branded 
Hastings with wanton cruelty and gross extor- 
tion in his treatment of Chait Singh. Among 
the leading speakers on the same side was Philip 
Francis, who, like many other old Indians, had 
easily foimd a seat in the House of Commons. 

On this occasion Pitt spoke. The hopes of 
Hastings' friends ran high, as the youthful Minis- 
ter disposed of all arguments founded on Chait 
Singh's sovereign rights, and vindicated the 
Governor-General's conduct in calling upon his 
vassal for further aid in a time of special diflB- 
culty. He declared that Hastings was right in 
levying a fine for the vassal's rejection of his 
just demands, and even, if need were, in putting 
the Rajah under arrest. His praise of Hastings' 
conduct during the insurrection was heightened 
by his scornful censure of the "dishonest and 
malignant" Francis. But just as every one felt 
sure of a second victory for the defence, Pitt sur- 
prised his hearers by announcing his intention to 

Pitt's desertion op Hastings. 297 

vote for the side against which he had argued. 
" The whole," he said, "of Mr. Hastings' con- 
duct showed that he intended to punish Chait 
Singh with too much severity." That intention 
he held to be criminal, and on that ground alone 
" he should, though with extreme reluctance, vote 
for the impeachment of Mr. Hastings." 

At this sudden change of front none were 
more amazed than the bulk of Pitt's own fol- 
lowers, who had come prepared to vote against 
Fox. Some of them were too honest to turn 
round with their leader, but Dundas, and many 
more, followed him into the same lobby with 
Fox, Burke, and Sheridan; and Hastings was 
condemned by a majority of forty in a House of 
only 198 members. 

The true cause of this strange manoeuvre, this 
seeming betrayal of a friend in need, has never 
been clearly explained. Was Dundas really 
afraid that Hastings, through his influence with 
the King, might yet make his way into the Board 
of Control, and there draw to himself the entire 
management of Indian affairs? He certainly 
told Lord Maitland that he and his friends in 
opposition had " done the business of the Minis- 
try, by keeping Hastings out of the Board of 


GnitH)!." It seems hardly possible to suppose 
that Pitt himself was moved by jealousy of a pos- 
sible; rival in a retired Governor of fifty-three, 
whose life had l>een spent in India, \rho had only 
just entered the House of Commons, ;ind who 
knew next to nothing about home politics, about 
the interests of different classes in England, or 
the management of great political parties. It is 
equally hard to believe that he suddenly changed 
sides, as Dundas alleged, because he found "the 
charges so strong and the defence so ';veak, that 
the Government were compelled to give way."* 
Not thus, at any rate, can we hope to reconcile 
his speech on the Bandras charge with his vote. 
Did he, as others have thought, agree to the im- 
peachment as a means of weakening the opposi- 
tion, or as a sop to the clamours of a powerfiil 
and well drilled party ?f Of one thing only we 
may be sure, that policy rather than justice drove 
the great Minister into a course which involved 
Hastings in fresh anxieties, and provoked the 
just indignation of Hastings' friends. Among 
these was Lord Chancellor Thurlow, who de- 

• Sir G. Lewis's "Administrations of Great Britain," Chap. ii. 

t Nicholls in his "EecoUectious" thinks that he consented to 
the impeachment, " because he saw the control which he should 
obtain over the Opposition by such acquiescence/* 


clared, with reference to Pitt's reasoning, that 
'4f a girl had talked law in those terms, she 
might have been excusable."* 

Hastings himself, in a letter to Thompson, thus 
pithily summed up the issue of the recent debate : 
^'I have been declared guilty of a high crime and 
misdemeanour in having intended to exact a fine 
too large for the offence, the offence being 
admitted to merit a fine, from Cheyt Singh." 
With the Ministry and the Opposition both 
against him, and the newspapers filled with 
''wicked lies" about him and his wife, he con- 
soled himself with the improvement of his Wind- 
sor estate, and the pleasures of a garden which 
he helped to stock with fruits and vegetables 
from India. An excellent horseman, he enjoyed 
his rides upon his favourite Arab, and the enjoy- 
ment was complete when his wife was able to 
accompany him, mounted on another Arab im- 
])orted for her special use. The shawl-goats 
which Turner had sent him from Tibet died on 
their way home ; but a Bhutan bull reached him 
" in fine health." Turner had also sent him an 
ami)le supply of Himalayan turnip-seeds ; and he 
anmsed himself with vain efibrts to grow mangoes, 

* NiclioUs's " EecoUections," Vol. 1, Ch. xiii. 


custard apples, liechees, and other fruit dear to 
the memory of retired " old Indians/' 

Meiinwliile his dear friend, David Anderson, 
who had followed him home from India, began 
to draw up a full vindication of Hastings' Indian 
career, from outlines furnished by his old master, 
to be filled in from the piles of records stored up 
in Leadenhall Street. In this task he was aided 
by other volunteers, all eager to come forward on 
behalf of the man they loved. 

Early in the Session of 1787, the charge cm- 
ceming the Oudh Begams was opened by Sheri- 
dan, in a speech six hours long, whose ^T^a^g^ing 
eloquence was acknowledged, as he sat down, by 
such a storm of cheers and clappings as the old 
hall of St Stephen's had never before reechoed. 
So wild was the excitement, that the debate had 
to be adjourned, for no other speaker would have 
got a hearing. When the debate was resumed, 
Pitt once more spoke against Hastings' and the 
hostile vote was carried by a majority of nearly 
three to one. The debates on the remaining 
charges ended mostly in the same way. At last, 
on the 3rd April, the Commons resolved to im- 
peach the late Governor- General at the bar of the 
House of Lords. On the 21st May, Hastin<^ 


was brought thither, in the custody of the Ser- 
geant-at-Arms, to hear the articles of impeach- 
ment read out by Burke before the highest 
tribunal in the land. That done, the great pri- 
soner was released on bail. 

A Committee of nineteen managers, headed by 
Burke himself, was appointed by the Commons 
to conduct the trial of a statesman, whose ser- 
vices to his country ought rather to have gained 
him a seat of special honour among his future 
judges. It is sad to find on the list of managers 
the name of Sir Gilbert Elliot, brother of that 
Alexander Elliot, whose untimely death in 1781 
had been to Hastings as the loss of a promising 
younger brother. The ^me man, later in the 
year, was active in the impeachment of Sir Elijah 
Impey, whose friendship for the younger Elliot 
had likewise been very great. Another gentle- 
man, whom Burke strove hard to place upon the 
Committee, was very properly excluded by a vote 
of the Commons. The passionate Irishman, who, 
as an old East India proprietor and a friend of 
Philip Francis, knew more than most men about 
one side of Indian affairs, told his colleagues 
that Avithout Francis' help the business might be 
damned. But the House of Commons steadily 


refused to ;rive Hastings' boldest and most malig- 
nant fiKt anv share in the conduct of a trial 
designed to further the ends of justice only. 
The niana;rers, however, resolved to keep Francis 
at their ellnnv as lon;r as thev could* At their 
re<|uest he attended their meetinn^s, and aided 
them largely with the fruits of his misapplied 
talents and his unblest experience. 

The rest of the year was spent by Hastings in 
the needful preparations for his defence. Three 
eminent iawyers laboured zealously on his behalf. 
He had already written to his friends in India, 
such as Sir John Shore and Mr. Thompson, to 
collect testimonials in his favour from the leading 
natives of Bengal, and "such other creditable 
vouchers of whatever kind, beyond the provinces, 
as may refute the calumnies with which I have 
been loaded/* In the midst of his own annoy- 
ances and his wife's distress, he takes comfort in 
seeing the latter "gain health and strength visibly, 
though of a constitution still too susceptible." In 
August, he assures Thompson that he has "borne 
with perlect indifference all the base treatment" 
which he has received, " except the ignominious 
ceremonial of kneeling before the House of Lords.*' 
In the following February, a few days before the 


opening of the great trial, he tells the same Mend 
that ^IrSc Hastings, " in spite of some occasions 
on which she suffers her spirits to be affected 
more than they ought with the impending tran- 
sactions, gains daily though but gently, both in 
health and the appearance of it ; and I/* he adds, 
" am well."* 

Hastings' trial was fixed for the 1 3th February, 
1788.0nthe 4th of that month,hisfriend and fellow- 
sufferer, Impey, was arraigned before the House 
of Commons on various charges, including the 
murder of Nand-Kumar. More fortunate than 
Hastings, the late Chief Justice knew how to 
better a good cause with an eloquent tongue. 
His great speech in answer to the Nand-Kumar 
charge, turned the tables upon his accusers, and 
drew fi-om Pitt himself the admission that in 
like circumstances he might have acted as Impey 
had done.f In less than four months. Sir 
Elijah was acquitted on all the graver charges, 
and his mortified assailants threw up the game. 

On the day appointed, more than two hundred 
of England's peers marched, in their robes of 
state, from their own House into Westminster 

* Gleip's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xiii. 
t " Memoirs of Sir E. Impey," Chap. xiii. 


Hall, a fitting theatre for an event of the highest 
national concern. In the long galleries, hung 
like the walls with scarlet, sat the Queen, the Prin- 
cesses, the peers' ladies nearly all in mourning, 
ambassadors from every country, some t^vro hun- 
dred members of the House of Commons, Mrs. 
Siddons, Mrs. Fitzherbert, wife already in fact 
of the Prince of Wales, Sir Joshua Rejmolds, the 
learned Dr. Parr, and a number of other men 
and women, eminent in their day for beauty, 
talents, or public worth.* Gibbon himself was 
seated among the Commoners. Seats in the body 
of the noble building were reserved for the 
Managers, who all appeared in full dress. Out- 
side the Hall, a curious crowd was kept in order 
by hundreds of the King's Guards, mounted or 
on foot. 

Into this scene of solemn splendour, Hastings 
presently entered, " in a plain poppy -coloured 
suit of clothes.^'f " He looked," says Macaulay, 
"like a great man, and not like a bad man." 
His portraits show him as about this time he may 
have appeared; his grey hair surrounding a 
lofty, thoughtful-looking forehead ; his arched, 

♦ Dr. Johnson had died shortly before Hastings* return to 

t Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. x. 


pensive brows overhanging a pair of soft yet sad 
eyes ; a long and sensitive nose contrasting with 
the firmness of his Ups and chin ; and an oval 
face, " pale and worn," says Macaulay, " but 
serene, on which was written as legibly as under 
the picture in the council chamber at Calcutta, 
Mens cequa in arduisJ'^ His small spare figure 
was still upright, and his bearing full of dignity, 
yet marked with all the deference due to so 
august a Court. After standing for some time, 
the observed of all observers, he was allowed by 
the Chancellor, Lord Thurlow, to take a chair. 

At noon the Court was opened, and the Ser- 
geant-at-Arms summoned " Warren Hastings, 
Esquire, to come forth " and save his bail. Hast- 
ings advanced to the bar, and on bended knees 
awaited the Chancellor's permission to rise. That 
promptly granted, he listened to the Proclama- 
tion charging him with high crimes and misde- 
meanours, and made brief but becoming answer 
to Lord Thurlow's opening address. 

Two days were spent in the reading of the 
charges and the defendant's replies. Then Burke 
himself, in a speech which lasted four days, and 
drove some of his hearers into hysterics and faint- 
ing-fits, went into a full review of Hastings' 



career, exhausting the language of abuse, and 
pouring out the whole wealth of his luxuriant 
rhetoric in the attempt to justify the impeach- 
ment of a criminal who had betrayed the trust d 
the Commons, sullied the honour of the English 
nation, trodden under foot the rights of the Indian 
people, and shown himself " the conunon enemy 
and oppressor " of mankind at large. It was a 
masterpiece of night-mare eloquence, which car- 
ried away the whole assembly, stirring even the 
strong- headed Chancellor into words of praise, 
and tempting poor Hastings at times, to deem 
himself the monster that Burke's violent feccy 
loved to paint him. 

But it was after all a sad display of hysteric 
fury about imaginary crimes. The great orator 
raved and screeched like a madman, or a raging 
fishwife, against a gentleman whose alleged mis- 
deeds were as nothing to his acknowledged merits. 
He spoke of Hastings as "a captain-general of 
iniquity, one in whom all the fraud, all tbe 
tyranny of India are embodied, disciplined, and 
arrayed." He charged him with " avarice, rapa- 
city, pride, cruelty, ferocity, malignity of temper, 
haughtiness, insolence — in short, everythino- that 
manifests a heart blackened to the very blackest, 

BUBKE's savage abuse of HASTINGS. 307 

a heart dyed deep in blackness, a heart gangrened 
to the core." Hastings "murdered Nand-Kumar 
by the hands of Sir Elijah Impey." He " is not 
satisfied without sucking the blood of fourteen 
hundred nobles. He is never corrupt without 

creating a famine He is like the ravenous 

vulture, who feeds on the dead and the enfeebled.'* 
He is a "swindling Mecaenas," "a bad scribbler 
of absurd papers, who could never put two sen- 
tences of sense together." He is " a man whose 
origin was low, obscure, and vulgar, and bred in 
vulgar and ignoble habits." Such, yelled Burke, 
" are the damned and damnable proceedings of a 
judge in hell, and such a judge was Warren 
Hastings." In a closing burst of Billingsgate, 
he denounces his victim as " a captain-general of 
iniquity, thief, tyrant, robber, cheat, swindler, 

Such was the language in which the foremost 
orator, and one of the oldest statesmen of that 
day, vented his own spleen 'and the malice of 
Philip Francis on the man of all others who 
least deserved to be held up to public obloquy. 
How grossly he exceeded the license of fair in- 
vective, even on points that might still be open 
to question, the reader of these pages will have 


already seen. To denounce the great Proconsnl 
as another and a blacker Verres, \ivas even moK 
absurd than Macaulay's subsequent attempt to 
prove Impey another Jeflides. HappUy for 
Hastings, it was not on speeches, hoTvever power- 
ful, but on the weight of evidence carefully sifted, 
that the question of his guilt or innocence was to 

The next sittings of the Court were taken up 
in discussing points of procedure, in hearing tie 
speeches of Fox and Grey on the Banaras charge, 
in the reading of papers and the examination of 
witnesses. The temper of the Managers betrayed 
itself in their demand that each of the charges 
should be brought forward, sustained, and de- 
fended in its turn. Against this departure from 
legal usage, Hastings' counsel of course objected; 
and the objection was enforced by a majority of 
three to one. Some further attempts to em- 
baiTass the defence were equally futile. In due 
time, Sheridan summed up the charge concern- 
ing the Indian Begams in a briUiant and powerful 
speech that lasted two days, and clinched the 
fame he had won by his former oration on the 
same theme. Not long afterwards, Parliament 
adjourned for that session. 


Meanwhile Hastings had his consolations in 
the endearing company of his placens u^or^ in 
frequent intercourse with Impey and many other 
loyal friends, in the congenial pleasures of coun- 
try life, in negotiating the purchase of Daylesford, 
and in studying or imitating the works of his 
favourite authors. Like most men of strong 
literary tastes, he wooed the Muses with a fair 
degree of success, throwing off copies of verses, 
and prose essays on all kinds of subjects which 
tempted his active and cultivated &ncy. If 
the possession of a good conscience can bring 
balm for the wounds of undeserved obloquy, 
Hastings was happy in that also, even though his 
enemies mistook the utterances of conscious worth 
for so many proofs of his blindness to all distinc- 
tions between right and wrong. 



The kind of impression which Warren Hastings 
made at this time on the minds of witnesses 
unbiassed by former personal knowledge of him, 
is well conveyed by the author of " Recollections 
of the Reign of George III." * " He appeared to 
me" — says Nicholls — "to be a man of a strong, 
vigorous, decisive mind, well acquainted with the 
character of the natives of India, and with the 
views and interests of its various princes. He 
seemed to me to be a man capable of extricating 
himself from difficulties by his great resources 
and dauntless courage. In one word, he came 
nearer to the idea which I had formed of an able 
statesman, than any other man with whom I ever 
had intercourse. But he was a statesman only 
for the affairs of India. He knew nothing of the 
various parties in England, their interests their 
designs, or how far they were likely to be 

* John Nicholls, son of the physician to George 11., gat in the 
House of Commons during three parliaments in the reign of 
George III. 


influenced or restrained by moral considerations. 
These were subjects on which he seemed to me 
never to have formed an opinion."* 

The impression thus made on an independent 
member of the House of Commons grew deeper, 
as the acquaintance begun in 1788 ripened into a 
close and lasting friendship. "I think of his 
memory," writes NichoUs, "with the highest 
veneration. I think that he was a man of the 
most powerful mind I have ever conversed with." 

The great trial on which hung his fate was 
destined to drag on very slowly indeed. In 

1788 thirty-five days had been spent in hearing 
two of the twenty charges. The king's illness 
in the autumn was followed by stormy debates in 
Parliament over the Regency, and men's minds 
were already engaged in watching the first throes 
of the French Revolution. It was not till April 

1789 that the trial was resumed, with the charge 
concerning the receipt of presents. In his open- 
ing speech Burke denounced Hastings with 
having murdered Nand-Kumar by the hands of 
Sir Elijah Impey. Against such language Hast- 
ings and his friends appealed to the House of 
Commons, and Burke was formally censured for 
exceeding the limits of his brief. But no rebufis 

• JSTichoUs's "EecoUections," VoL 1, Ch. xiiL 


could discourage the passionate avenger of India's 
fancied ^vrongs. Fresh attempts of the managers 
to warp in their own favour the rules of legal 
evidence were duly baffled by the Lords. In the 
whole of that Session only seventeen days were 
employed on the impeachment, and barely half 
the articles of the third charge had been 
examined, when the House once more adjourned. 

In 1790 more time was wasted to as little 
purpose. Meanwhile Parliament was dissolved, 
and the friends of Hastings pleaded the dis- 
solution as a bar to further proceedings. But 
the new Parliament rejected the plea, and in May 
1791 the trial again went on. One more charge, 
that of corruption, was then brought forward; 
the remainder having been dropped by general 
consent. That year's proceedings closed with 
the reading of Hastings' defence. The next two 
years, memorable for the events which issued in 
the outbreak of the long war between England 
and the French Republic, were taken up with the 
speeches of counsel and the examining of wit- 
nesses for the defence. In the Session of 1794 
the Managers replied upon the several charges, 
and produced some further evidence in com- 
pletion of their case. 

Seven years had now elapsed since the Peers 


were marshalled for the first great gathering in 
Westminster Hall. Great events had happened 
meanwhile in Europe and Asia. In France the 
Revolution had not only destroyed the monarchy, 
suppressed the priesthood, and proscribed the 
nobles, but it had devoured its own children, 
Danton and Robespierre. The avenging armies 
of the Duke of Brunswick had been driven back 
across the French frontiers, and Prussia had been 
glad to sue for peace. Xord Comwallis had 
come home crowned with glory from the 
campaign which stripped Tippu of half his 
father's dominions. At home Burke had 
quarrelled with his Whig friends for opposing the 
war with Republican France. A milder Reign 
of Terror had begun in England with the 
suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. At sea a 
great English defeat off Cape St. Vincent had 
been compensated by Lord Howe's femous 
victory on the 1st of June. Kosciusko's gallant 
struggle to save Poland's freedom from utter 
extinction had been made in vain, and the 
slaughter of 30,000 Poles at Praga by the fierce 
Suwarrow sealed the ruin of an ill-starred cause. 
During these years Hastings had spent much 
time and labour in the improvement of his Dayles- 


ford estate, where he took up his abode in 1791. 
Between that event and the sale of Beaumont 
Lodge in 1789, he had rented a house in Berk- 
shure. In rebuilding the old house at Daylesford, 
in bringing the farm lands into working order, 
and adorning the pleasure-grounds with the fidrest 
fi*uits of English landscape-gardening, he had laid 
out during his trial more than foity thousand 
pounds. The amount was more than doubled by 
common rumour, which depicted him as living at 
the rate of twenty thousand a year, and squander- 
ing twenty thousand pounds on the newspapers 
which sold their columns to his friends.* He 
may have been careless and openhanded with his 
money; but his style of living, as his friends 
could testify, was " rather below than exceeding 
the rank of life which my former station might 
have entitled me to assume ; " and he affirmed 
"most positively," that his regular expenses both 
in town and country had not, "one year with 
another," exceeded £3,500 a year. 

At length in January, 1795, the Lords began 
to take counsel togather as to "the mode of 
giving judgement on high crimes and misde- 

* Hastings* letter of September 22, 1795, to the Court of 
Directors. "Debates of the House of Lords," &c., pp. 436-449. 


neanours." Towards the end of February, they 
proceeded m due form to discuss the question of 
Hastings' guilt or innocence. Lord Thurlow's 
place as Chancellor had been taken some years 
before by his old opponent, Lord Loughborough ; 
but the weight of Thurlow's judgment and long 
experience, still gave him the lead in the busi- 
ness over which he had so ably presided. Seven 
days of March were spent in debating the grave 
questions involved in the first charge alone. The 
articles of charge concerning the Begams were 
duly weighed and dismissed in two days. Three 
more sufficed for the charge of taking presents, 
and two for that of corruption in the matter of 
contracts and' appointments. Lord Thurlow's 
strong good sense, his perfect mastery of details, 
his weighty reasoning, and forcible clearness of 
statement, had never been shown to greater 
advantage than in these last days of a trial, 
which, as he said, " for its duration, and the im- 
mense mass of criminality imputed to the defen- 
dant, had no parallel in the history of this or of 
any other country.'' 

At last the " immense quantity of rubbish and 
trash," as he called it, had been feirly sifted of 
"the very little evidence" it contained. On each 


count of the impeachment, the Peers who had 
originally formed the Court had voted, with few 
exceptions, in favour of the accused. On the 
23 rd April, the final verdict was pronounced, 
with due solemnity, in the Hall which seven 
years before had witnessed the first impeach- 
ment before the Lords. On that occasion Hast- 
ings, as the Archbishop of York declared, had' 
been treated " more like a horse-stealer than a 
gentleman. His hour of triumph was now come. 
Once more the noble Hall was crowded with 
spectators. Of the peers who had figured in the 
former pageant, many had gone to their long 
rest. A few of the Managers were dead or 
absent, and the rest no longer met as friends. 
A new generation helped to fill the galleries, and 
the number of peers who had sat through the long 
trial was only twenty-nine. Those peers who, 
for one reason or another, were to take no part in 
pronouncing the final verdict, stood unrobed 
about the throne, spectators only of the coming 

Warren Hastings having knelt down before 
the Court, was then bidden to rise and withdraw. 
To each of the few peers who formed the Court, 
the Lord Chancellor then put the question, " Is 


Warren Hastings, Esq., guilty or not guilty of 
the first article of charge?" As junior Baron, 
Lord Douglas was the first to make answer. 
Standing uncovered, with his right hand on his 
breast, he replied, " Not guilty, upon my honour." 
When each peer in his turn had declared his vote, 
Lord Loughborough himself, in like manner, pro- 
nounced the words, "Guilty, upon my honour."* 
On this article, Hastings was acquitted by twenty- 
three votes to six. Fifteen times was the same 
process repeated. On the first two charges, those 
namely, which concerned Rajah Chait Singh and 
the Begams, the same number of votes, twenty- 
three, was recorded in Hastings' favour. On 
two charges of bribery and corruption, he was 
acquitted unanimously. On the remaining 
charges, the adverse votes ranged from two to 
five. Eighteen of the twenty-nine, including 
one archbishop and two bishops, found him not 
guilty on any count. Lord Mansfield acquitted 
him on all but one, and that concerned a question 
rather of law than justice. f 

Once more Hastings came forward, knelt down, 
and was bidden to rise. Thereupon the Lord 

* " Debates of the House of Lords." 
t He allowed that the present received from Nobkissen had 
been " taken for the Company," but he held that in this instance 
Hastings had acted illegally. (Debates of the House of Lords.) 


Chancellor pronounced his acquittal on "all 
things contained '^ in the articles of impeach- 
ment. "You are, therefore, discharged," he 
curtly added, "paying your own fees.'* Hast- 
ings bowed respectfully and retired ; his honour 
vindicated, but himself, in point of T«srorldly for- 
tune, a ruined man. When he turned his back 
on Westminster Hall, he could not tell, says Mr. 
Gleig, "whence the funds were to come by which 
the weekly bills of his household were to be dis- 
charged."* He was growing old, the costs of 
the trial were enormous, the Company had nevtf 
granted him a pension, and from neither party in 
Parliament could he hope for employment in the 
public service. 

He did hope, however, that some feeling of 
pity for a man so cruelly wronged, some desire 
to atone for past injustice, might lead the Minis- 
try to reimburse him for the heavy expenses of 
the late impeachment. The country, he thought, 
would surely defray the costs of a trial which had 
proclaimed his innocence to the world. But to 
his prayer for help in bringing his claim before 
Parliament, Pitt returned an ungracious answer. 
He " did not conceive that he should be justified 
in submitting the petition of the late Governor 

* Gleig 8 " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3. Ciiap 


General of India to the consideration of the 

Hastings' old Mends in the East India Com- 
pany, were still ready and eager to help him to 
the best of their power. They knew that the 
legal charges for his defence alone exceeded 
£70,000, and that Lord ComwaUis, the late 
Governor-General, had just been rewarded with 
B pension of £5,000 a year. At a general meet- 
ing of East India proprietors on the 29th May, 
speaker after speaker, with one or two exceptions, 
extolled the value of Hastings' "long, faithful, 
and important services,'' and upheld the duty of 
rewarding those services with an annuity of 
£5,000, and a sum sufficient to cover the legal 
expenses of his defence. A general ballot, taken 
a few days later, confirmed the resolutions passed 
at the previous meeting. The Court of Direc- 
tors voted, in their turn, to the same efifect. 

But even this act of justice to the Company's 
late servant was to be robbed of half its virtue 
by the interference of the Board of Control. 
After months of controversy touching the right 
of the Company to grant money in payment of 
Hastings' costs, the Directors, in the following 
March, had to limit their bounty to a pension of 
£4,000 a year for twenty-eight years and a half, 


dating back from June, 1785. A few days later 
they voted Hastings a loan of £50,000, free rf 
interest, for a term of eighteen years.* This 
sum, with the arrears of pension, would at least 
enable him to tide over his present difficulties, if 
it could not altogether bar their return. It saved 
him, in fact, from utter ruin at a time when popu- 
lar rumour, mindful of former Nabobs, and fed 
with the slanders circulated by his enemies, spoke 
of him as revelling in untold riches. 

Not the least of his consolations at this time 
of pecuniary pressure, was the receipt of congra- 
tulatory letters and addresses from admirers of 
every class and race in those parts of India where 
he had been best known. The names of Morgan, 
Popham, Forbes, and other officers of renown, 
headed the signatures to the brief but fervent 
•utterances of esteem and sympathy forwarded 
by the officers quartered at Chunar, Fathigarh, 
Ca^vnpore, Dinapore, Fort William, or presented 
at home by the chosen mouthpieces of every 
division of the Bengal army. Similar addresses, 
signed by hundreds of English and native resi- 
dents in Calcutta, expressed in terms of equal 
warmth the general rejoicing at the acquittal of 
a statesman so justly honoured and so hardly 

* *' Debates of the House of Lords,** &c. 


used. Conspicuous among the native addresses 
were three signed by all the leading citizens, 
Hindu and Mohammadan, of Ban^as. 

It may, of course, be pleaded that some of 
these effusions, as well as the testimonials for- 
warded during the impeachment, are worth little 
as marks of genuine sympathy spontaneously 
offered. Everyone who knows aught of Indian 
ways, knows how easily such things can be made 
to order. An English Collector, as Macaulay 
reminds us, " would have found it easy to induce 
any native who could write to sign a panegyric 
on the most odious ruler that ever was in India." 

But Mr. Lumsden, in forwarding the Bandras 
addresses to Sir John Shore, then Governor- 
General, shows that with these, at any rate, 
English influence had nothing whatever to do. 
When some of the leading citizens came and told 
him of their desire to sign the address drawn' up 
by Bissambar Pandit, if only they were sure 
Government would not object, he simply told 
them m return that " their signing or not sign- 
ing depended entu^ely on their own option," and 
that this was " a matter perfectly indifferent to 

• " Debates of the jHoose of Lords/' &o. 



As lor the natives of Calcutta, they had already 
caujrht from their white neighbours something of 
tliat fiver spirit which breathes in their descen- 
dants of to-day. Their congratulations, at any 
rate, as well as those of his OTvn countrymen, fell 
like bdm ujx)n Hastings' spirit, consoling him, 
as lie said, "for the want of money to throfl 
away on the luxuries of a &mi and a greenhousei I 
and on the tax of a town residence.'' 

From this time forth Hastings lived the life| 
of a country gentleman, owning an estate of 650 
acres, to whose improvement he set himself wi4 
an energy unchilled by years and misfortunes, ft 
amused himself with breeding horses, fettening 
bullocks, gi'owing barley- wheat by new methods, 
tiying new kinds of food upon his cattle, culti- 
vating his gardens, and attempting to raise fruits ' 
and vegetables from Indian seeds. At certain 
seasons he took his wife to town for a few weeb, 
or paid a visit to Impey's place in Sussex or to I 
some other of his old friends. "Of the ingre- 
dients of happiness," he writes to Thompson, in 

1803, "I possess all but one, and that occasionallv 


comes and goes.. .... My beloved wife is what 

she was in her moral and spiritual substance and' 
I should and ought to be perfectly contented, 
if her health (which is not worse, but rather 


• better) was more stable. The worst is, we live 
too much secluded from society, excepting that 
" of our neighbours, and too remote from our 
" friends ; but our hearts turn to them with as 
much warmth as ever, and with as hearty an in- 
terest in their concerns/''* 

In return for Hastings' visits to Newick, some 
of the Impey family often stayed as welcome 
guests at Daylesford. Sir Elijah himself had 
taken like his old friend to farming ;f and we 
may imagine how their talk would sometimes 
turn aside from poUtics, literature, art, or family 
affairs, to a comparison of the progress made by 
each in his new pursuit. 

True to his Indian training, Hastings always 
rose early and took his cold bath every morning. 
After spending an hour among his books and 
papers, he breakfasted, always by himself, in his 
o^vn room on bread and butter and tea, which he 
would never allow to be watered twice. When 
Mrs. Hastings and her guests assembled for 
breakfast, he would come and entertain them, 
says Mr. Gleig, with a copy of his own verses on 
some topic of passing^ interest, with a passage 

• Gleig's " Warren HMting's," Vol. 3, Cliap. xii. 
t " Memoirft of Sir E^ Impey," Chap, xvu 


^-inrm ^.i ^ ' jU^feft. r a TgrTTJu'TT 


ly Bgiiiiesjied br his pkyti 
i^j.^v^r^^r iiiid iLe wiixiiig coarttesy cf his jddres. 
LIk<: otii^ ^reait xd^xl Hasrin^ had his liide 
\iij/:xif^ : but these were clesLrhr c^ a kind thit 
^aAv the iDore endeaitd him t^ thoge who knew 
}iij/i the iiiO«t intimatelv. 

He pliiyed to pezfecticxi the part of a coorteoQS 
and kindlv host. ^Miether he sat for a vhik 
ar/jong hi-s gu^rsts id the large library at Dayks- 
ford, or fehare^l, as he generally did^ in their out- 
(iijor amusements, or took his place at the head 
of liih well-furnished dinner-table, his presence 
always added to the enjoyment of those around 
him. He adapted himself to his company and 
ih(t mood of the moment, with an easy grace that 
lUiVCT overstepped the bounds of self-respect. He 
could be grave without duhiess, and gay without 
huflooiieiy. His own cheerfulness helped to make 
others cheerful. He had some turn for epigram 
and j'cpurtee, and a keen relish for displays of 


genuine wit. " He kughed heartily/' says Mr. 
Gleig, " could trifle with the gayest, and thought 
it not beneath him to relish a pun ; but the most 
remote approach to ribaldry offended his taste, 
and never foiled of receiving from him an imme- 
diate check." 

His own diet was very simple, and his great 
temperance in eating and drinking may have 
added some years to his long life. His favourite 
drink was water, and so nice was he about the 
quality of it, that, while staying in London, he 
would get his water from a distant spring that 
rose near Knightsbridge barracks. His old taste 
for swimming he indulged whenever he could. 
He was past eighty years old before he gave up 
his habit of daily riding. Much as he enjoyed 
his trips to London, and his visits to friends in 
the coimtry, he was never happier than at home. 
In the words of one who knew him intimately 
during his latter years, "it was among his own 
guests, at his own table, in his own study, and in 
the bosom of his own family, that he appeared 
ever most like himself, and therefore to the 
greatest advantage."* 

Of his literary tastes we get an inkling in the 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xiii. 

326 WARREN HASTnres : a biogbafht. 

fact of his fondness for Lucan, fcom wham, like 
Pitt, he often quoted ; and of the pleasure lie| 
took in reading Young's " Night Thoughts' 
again and again. The one author may have k-I 
fleeted his political, the other his moral m 
religious sentiments. Among the poets of bi 
ovni day, he seems to have given the higher 
place to Scott, whose war-songs fired his patriotiai 
in 1803, and whose "Marmion*' filled himwitl 
just delight. ''If you can borroiv it," he write 
to Thompson in 1808, "read above all thind 
Walter Scott's new poem of Marmion, not foriu 
political worth." Of Malthus^ Tvrhose doctrinei 
were just then beginning to please or shock lii 
countrymen, Hastings at once formed a hi^ 
opinion. His pamphlet on population he vieveJ 
as " one of the most enlightened publications « 
this and the last age.'' * In 1815 he read ScottH 
new poem, '^ The Lord of the Isles," througl 
twice, " once with Mrs Hastings, who is disposed 
to read him once more.'* 

Much of his daily exercise was taken on horse-l 
back. He prided himself on his good horseman! 
ship, and delighted in taming the most refractoijl 
brutes. Mr. Gleig tells a pleasant story of m 
success in managing a donkey which had dis-| 

* Gleig B " Warren Hastings/* Vol. 3, Chap. xiiL 


mounted young Impey, and several other of his 
guests. Without saddle or bridle, the old gen- 
tleman mounted the unruly beast, and defying 
all his efforts to unseat his new rider, forced him 
at last to move on. If the boys had any turn for 
classic parallels, they must have regarded Hast- 
ings as a modem Chiron or another Diomed. 

Among other visitors at Daylesford was his 
old friend Sir John D^Oyley, whose son Charles 
had lately gone out to India as a writer. With 
young people Hastings was always a favourite, for 
his gentle manners and the fatherly interest he 
took in their wellbeing. Few things pleased him 
more than the receipt of his first letter from the 
young civil servant, whom he hastened to thank 
for this proof of kindly remembrance. Nor could 
any advice have been sounder or more delicately 
conveyed, than the few words in which Hastings 
congratulated his young friend on his early 
escape from the perils of Calcutta society. 
*' Against these," he writes, "your good sense 
would have been an insecure guard, and the 
goodness of your heart would but have more ex- 
posed you to them." Young D'Oyley had found 
a home with his fether's friend, Mr. Brooke ; and 

328 WARREN HASTmas : a biographt. 

this protection Hastings bade him cherish 
he had it. " When you lose it, as you must in 
the course of a few years, resolve to be in every I 
sense your own master, nor suffer any influence 
but the rectitude of your own iinderstandii^ to 
prescribe your conduct in the pursuit either of| 
pleasure, interest or reputation."^* 

• Gleig'B " Warren HastingB/* Vol. 3, Chap. xiL 

Note. — The following story, which }>erhaps refers to this put 
of Hastings* life, was told by Mr. Alfi^d Gratty of JSoclesfiadiii 
No. 80 of " Notes and Queries/* for May 10, 1851. 

During the latter years of his life Warren Hastings was in 
the habit of visiting General D'Oyley in the New Forest, and 
thus he became acquainted with the Kev. "W. Gilpin, Vicar of I 
Boldre and author of "Forest Scenery," &c. Mr. Gilpin'i 
custom was to receive momingvisitors who sat and enjoyea hii 
agreeable conversation ; and Warren Hastings when staying in 
the neighbourhood often resorted to the Boldre parsonage. It 
happened one Sunday that Mr. Gilpin preached a sermon on the 
character of Felix, which commences in words like these :— 

*' Felix ^as a bad man, and a bad Governor. He took away 
another man's wife and lived with her ; and he behaved witi 
extortion and cruelty in the province over which he ruled." 

Other particulars followed equally in accordance wilh the 
popular charges against the late Governor-General of India, who, 
to the preacher's dismay, was unexpectedly discovered sitting in 
the D'Oyley pew. Mr. Gilpin concluded that he then saw the 
last of his " great " friend. But not so : on the following 
morning Warren Hastings came, with his usual pleasant 
manner, for a chat with the Vicar, and of course made no 
allusion to the sermon. 

This was told me by a late valued friend who was a nephew 
and curate of Mr. Gilpm, and I am not aware that the anecdote 
has been put on record. 





In granting Hastings a loan of £50,000 with- 
out interest for eighteen years, the Court of 
Directors took care to guaad themselves from 
ultimate loss by stopping half his yearly pension, 
and taking Daylesford as security for the balance 
of their loan. Hastings thus found himself 
charged with a virtual interest of four per cent., 
while the sum total of his debts remained nearly 
as large as ever, and his chances of getting clear 
grew daily less with the growing burdens laid on 
him by the war. His appeal to the India House 
in 1799, against what seemed to him "a direct 
contradiction to the declared terms of the loan,'* 
issued in a new and fidrer arrangement, under 
which the interest on the half-yearly payments 
was allowed to accumulate for the borrower's 
benefit alone. 

It was not long, however, before Hastings had 


age free from small anxieties, and fairly fmnishel 
with the means of indulging his benevolence and 
his social tastes. 

It was about this time — in May, 1804— tint 
Hastings, prompted whether by gratitude (S 
public spirit, tried his best to dissuade Adding- 
ton from yielding up his post in compliance wifli 
a hostile vote of the Commons, led by those ere- 
while rivals, Pitt and Fox. Macaolay will not 
believe that " a man so able and energetic ai I 
Hastings," whose politics on some grave pointJl 
were not those of Addington, could "have thou^ 
that, when Bonaparte was at Boulogne withi 
great army, the defence of our island could safdj 
be intrusted to a Ministry which did not contain 
a single person whom flattery could describe as 
a great statesman." He thinks that Hastings 
was swayed rather by resentment to Fox and 
Pitt, than by any regard for the public interest 
But the arguments used by Hastings in his in- 
terview with Addington, afford no Tvarrant for 
the imputation thus lightly made. He assures 
the Minister that the voice of the House of Com- 
mons "is not the voice of the people," which is 
very generally in his favour. During the past 
week he has " scarce seen a man or woman " who 


^ approved of " so unnatural a combination of dis- 
^ cordant interests, connexions, and opinions," or 
failed to express indignation at " the savage at- 
tack made at such a time on the feelings, the 
^ peace, the health, and perhaps the life of the 
King." The people see, he added, that full pro- 
". vision has been made for their defence against 
' the threatened invasion ; " they see resources 
called forth for which no one gave this country 
credit ; they are pleased with the economy of the 
public expenditure ; they have proclaimed a 
spirit of zeal and unanimity, which they certainly 
neither showed or felt during the last war, nor 
during the last administration, they have not been 
intimidated by the power of arbitrary arrests and 
endless imprisonments ; and even your enemies 
admit your integrity, while they profligately sneer 
at it." The ministry might be weak in oratory, 
but Hastings looked on oratory as a poor sub- 
stitute for " useful matter and progressive action." 
Whatever force there might be in such plead- 
ings,* the time for urging them to any purpose 
had already passed. Addington might possess 
the confidence of his sovereign and the favour of 

• Dean Milman's letter to Sir Cornwall Lewis (AdministrationB 
of Great Britain) bears out Hastings' views in this connexion. 


the Court. His ministry of mediocrities miglt 
still suit the mass of those who, in 1802, W 
hiiiled with eager thankfulness the peace of 
Amiens, only to answer with sad but resolute 
defiance the challenge once more oflPered by ^ 
First Consul of the French RepubUc in 1803. 
But *' Britain's guardian gander,*'" as Canning 
called him, could make no head against the nev 
alliance of his old patron, Pitt, with tieir 
common enemy, Fox. As the great camp at 
Boulogne grew more and more threatening, men's 
minds turned with increasing hopefufiiess to Pitt, 
as the only pilot who could guide his country 
safely through the storm of war. Ridicule and 
satire, wielded by Canning and all the wits of the 
day, helped to undermine the strength of a 
ministry which had lived from the first on suffer- 
ance, and made few powerful fiiends outside the 
Court. As soon as the king's illness took a 
favourable turn, the last excuse for prolonged 
forbearance towards his favourite had disappeared. 
To forestal the verdict of the next elections, 
Addington must resign. 

Such, we may well believe, was the kind of 
answer which Addington gave his well-meaninf' 
visitor. From his "candid statement" of the 


causes that determined him to resign his post, 
Hastings, like a man of sense, could draw but one 
conclusion. " You have satisfied me," he said, 
"that the view which I took of the case was 
erroneous. I am now as thoroughly persuaded 
as you can be, that there is but one course open 
to you, consistent with your honour and your 
duty : — you must resign."* 

Old as he then was, the master of Daylesford 
had been stirred to action by the appeal which 
the ministry had already made to the country, for 
help against the danger that lowered so darkly 
fi'om the cliffs above Boulogne. In a letter of 
the 13th of September to his friend Anderson, 
the old warlike spirit which had fired Olive's 
young volunteer in 1757 breaks out afresh. He 
tells his friend how he had " called out the youth 
of Daylesford," and, with the help of his stepson. 
Colonel Imhoff, and an old porter from Ohelsea, 
" taught them to march, and to carry themselves 
erect like soldiers." His ardour however was 
soon damped by a circular letter from the War 
Minister to the Lord-Lieutenant ; and his little 
company was disbanded, lest he should "be 
thought guilty of disaffection, by teaching men 

• Gleig's **■ Warren Hastings,'*^ Vol. % Chap. xiii. 


the use of arms which they might possibly tan 
against their country, as they Tvere precluded 
fix)m the defence of it.*" 

Hastings watched the struggle thus renewed 
against Napoleon with an interest brightened by 
anxiety for his friend Sir Elijah Impey, who had 
found himself detained at Paris, a prisoner on 
parole, when the war broke out in May 1803. 
More fortunate than most of his fellow-sufferers, 


Impey, who had friends in Talleyrand and 
Fouch6, was allowed to return home in the 
middle of the following year.f His son Elijah, 
who was then a student of Christchurch, Oxford, 
was always a welcome guest at Daylesford. On 
one occasion he rode back to Oxford, mounted on 
a beautiful Persian mare which Hastings had 
given him. Not long afterwards the Dean of his 
college, the famous Dr. Jackson, came into his 
room with some Greek and Latin verses in his 
hand. Young Impey had sent them to Dayles- 
ford in honour of his friend's gift ; and Hastings 
who loved all scholarly graces, and hoped to serve 
his young friend, had forwarded a copy to the 
Dean. The verses were good enough to please 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap, xii 
t "Memoirs of Sir E. Impey," Chap. 18. 


,. that awful functionary ; and so there sprang up 
^. between the older and the younger scholar a 
friendship from which the latter was to reap no 
-, small advantage, as the years went by.* 

About a year after Impey's safe return home, 

. Hastings' heart was saddened by tidings of the 

, untimely death in India of his godson, Hastings 

1 Impey, the fairest and best beloved of all his 

, father's children. He had gone out as a writer 

, but a few years before ; and the blow was one 

from which Sir EKjah never quite recovered. 

Four years later the grey-haired father himself 

sank peacefully into his last sleep at Nemck, in 

the house where he and Warren Hastings had so 

often talked together as old and tried friends. 

Only a few months before his death, he had 

accompanied Hastings fi'om Newick to Brighton, 

in order to dine with the Prince Regent at the 

Pavilion. One of the guests was Sheridan, who 

had been specially invited to meet the object of 

his former invective. Sheridan came forward 

with a pretty speech concerning the part he had 

once taken against Hastings, as a public pleader 

bound by duty to make good his case without 

regard to his own private opinions. Hastings 

* Gleig's " Warren HastiBgp," Vol.- 3, Chap, xr 



aiisworfd him merely Tvith a low bow ; and i 
rfconciliution which the Prince had hoped 
and Sheridan no doubt desired, seems to te| 
*jnno no further. Possibly Hastings felt that 
offrr had come too late, for he afterwards told 
friends at Newick, that if Mr. Sheridan 
^^ confessed as much twenty years ago/' he 
have done liim some service. 

Of the Prince's personal friendliness toT 
liimself Hastings had long since been assuwil 
Alike from his Royal Highness and several ol4| 
AVhi<r leaders he had often received marb 
attention, which raised within him hopes W 
were never to he fulfilled. The untimely deacl 
of Enjrland's great Minister in the first days cj 
ISOG, left the ground clear for a coalition! 
Pitt's folloAvcirs with the party of his great rivall 
Fox. Nine years earlier, Burke himself, themos*! 
prominent of Hastings' enemies, had followed fel 
only son to the grave. Another enemy, Loic 
Melville, the Dundas of former days, had latelj 
been impeached by the House of Commons, t 
seemed to Hasthigs as if the time had come whet 
he might claim from his country some repara-' 
tion for past ^\Tong8. On the 14th ,March, 1806.' 



jjjjj^ waited by appointment on the Prince of Wales 
p^ t Carlton House. 

^ The Prince received his visitor with that 
.pjharming courtesy for which "the first gentle- 
I ,nan in Europe" was always renowned. After 
-phe first exchange of compliments, Hastings pro- 
^3eeded to explain the object of his visit. His 
hopes of employment, either on the Board of 
.^Control or in the government of India, he had 
.already relinquished ; but he still looked, he said, 
to obtain some redress from the House of Com- 
mons for the injuries he had sufiered through 
the impeachment. " Though acquitted, I yet 
I stand branded on their records as a traitor to my 
\ country, and false to my trust." There was one 
^ other point, he added, concerning which his 
Koyal Highness had himself raised expectations 
in the breast of one whose wishes Hastings had 
ever preferred to his own. " Though the best, 
the most amiable of women,'' Mrs. Hastings was 
" still a woman," whose heart was set upon a title 
in which she could have a share. The Prince 
heard him with courtly attention, reechoed his 
praises of Mrs. Hastings, agreed with all he said 
about himself, and, taking him kindly by the 


liand, Ixule him p> and talk the matter over urifli 
tlie Prince's chief follower and bosom friaid 
Lord Moira. 

Nothing but disappointment came of the inte^ 
view fTX)m which Hastings had expected mnd 
He had fondly hoped that the Prince's influence 
would cam' his Ministers alons: with him; but 
he A^Tis soon to discover his mistake. They migkt 
/rrant him a jx^erage to please the Prince Regent 
but thev refused to ask Parliament for a reversJ 
of the sentence in which they had once cofr 
curreil. Hastinsrs, for his part, declined on sad 
conditions the honour which lay within his read 
** I am content," he said to his good friend, l/d 
Moinu ''to go down to the grave with the plBiii 
name of AVarren Hastings, and should be made 
miserable by a title obtained by such means as 
should sink me in mv own estimation." 

Such disapix>intments, however, failed to som 
his sweet temper, or to wTing from him a word 
of unseemly complaint. The chief desire of his 
heart was to see his character cleared before the 
world bv a formal vote of the Commons, whick 
would cancel the vote for his impeachment passed 
in 1787. That piece of justice granted, he would 
have accepted a peerage to please his wite. or 


some post of dignity which would mark the 
Court's and the nation's estimate of his public 
worth. For the peerage in itself, he seems to 
have cared as little as a philosopher of ripe age 
and good social position could do. If he might not 
have it on his own terms, he would put the bauble 
aside, even at the cost of a heartache for the 
woman whom he loved with the fondness of a 
Jahangir or a Shah Jahan. The passing annoy- 
ance relieved itself in an epigram or two, and in 
the milder expressions jotted down in his diary ;* 
and he went his way with a cheerful spirit, 
strengthened by the sympathy of many warm 
friends, including Lord Moira, and upheld by all 
the consolations of a philosophy which drew its 
power from sources eminently Christian. In his 
biographer's own words, he " found happiness 
himself in dispensing happiness throughout the 
circle which enjoyed the high privilege of being 
admitted to a share of his confidence and his 

One of these, as the reader has learned already 
was Sir John D'Oyley, whom worldly misfor- 

Mr. Gleig says, " I cannot discoyer, either in his diary or 
in his correspondence, one sentence, or the clause of a sentence, 
which the most fastidious may with propriety interpret as 
expressive of disgust." — ^Vol. 3, Chap. ziu. 


tunes had lately driven back to the country 
where his son Charles had landed as a writer 
some years before. Charles himself was already 
married, and doing as well as his &ther and la 
father's friend could desire. A younger sod. 
John, a sickly boy of eleven or twelve, had been 
left behind at school, under Hastings' specal 
charge. Writing to Sir John in August, 1806, 
Hastings tells him of the bold step he had taken 
in removing the boy from Twyford to a smaller 
school, where his recovery from a long illness 
would be quickened by the tender nursing of tk 
master's wife. For some years Hastings watched 
over his young charge with right fiitherly care. 
He himself, or one of his friends, would go to see 
him while at school ; and when young D'Oylev 
spent his holidays at Daylesford, he would exa- 
mine him carefully about his studies, and send 
out to his father cheering reports of his son's 

In due time John goes to Hayleybury College, 
which had been founded in 1800 for the train- 
ing of young men destined to enter the Com- 
pany's civil service. His kind guardian, who has 
not lately troubled him with much advice, partly 
because at his age "advice is not always welcome, 


JOHN d'oyley. 343 

r even when given with the kindest intentions," 
i- now writes to warn John against joining his 
yr fellow-students in acts of rebellion towards their 
. masters. "As you value your fature character 

- and success in life, my dear Johnny, shun all 

- such detestable cabals, and repel with firmness 
. every advance made to you to poison your mind 

with their corrupt principles." By beginning 
early to practise obedience, he would earn a claim 
to the obedience of others in their turn. Mr. 
Lendon, adds Hastings, " delighted me in one of 
his letters, by telling me that his boys looked up 
to you. Be looked up to where you now are, 
and wherever you are hereafter. Disdain to be 
the tool of any. one ; be not a follower even of 
the wisest and the best ; but do what is right 
from the impulse of your own judgment, not the 
example of others. In a word maintaiQ the cha- 
racter given of you by Mr. Lendon. Be looked 
up to^ and acquire that eminent distinction by 
example and conciliation."* 

In the fortunes of Johnny's father, Hastings 
took an interest which never flagged. "I thank 
God," he writes to Thompson, in 1808, "that 
the best part of me, my aflfections, remains unin 

* Gleig*s " Warren Hasting's,*' Vol. 3, Chap. xii. 


jured by wear ; nay, I sometimes think them 
stronger then they were." His constancy i 
friendship reaped the full harvest sown by his 
capacity for making friends. Those whom h 
had once attached to himself he never lost 
through any default on his {>art ; and the love 
they bore him seemed to be the natural reflection 
of that which burned so steadily in his ofii 
bosom. His letters show him continually doing 
and receiving those little kindnesses which hdp 
to keep old friendships alive. In the joys and 
sorrows of his friends he expresses an qiml 
sympathy, and the expression, however warm, u 
evidently siacere. There are some men whose 
tender yearnings seldom, if ever, blossom into 
words ; but Hastings contrived, with no loss of 
dignity, to utter forth the promptings of a warn 
and sensitive heart. 

The kindly grace with which he compliments 
Thompson on his eldest daughter, is surpassed 
by the tenderness of his efforts to console his 
friend a year later for that daughter's tmtimely 
death. ''AH that your best friends (and I rate 
myself high in that relation), can effect in this 
case, is to remind you that there are those who 
do sympathise with you. All other consolations 


must spring up from your own breast ; its re- 
cesses alone can attemper your grief. I would 
not wish, if I had the power, to cure it. Sorrow 
; for those we love is the link that extends and 
binds the affinities of this world to the next, and 
is the pledge of our reunion with the objects of 
it. This is not a doctrine of the moment ; it is 
the result of the meditations of many past years. 
I have often and intensely dwelt upon it — ^I have 
written upon it — I have devised objections to it 
and refuted them — and I have imprinted it upon 
my heart with a holy conviction which is blended 
with my hopes of eternal felicity."* 

And again, some three years later, in 1812, he 
is consoling the same friend for the loss of another 
daughter. To assuage his friend's grief must be 
the work of a ^'higher power,** from whom only 
consolation can come. " In my eyes," he adds, 
*' you are yet a happy man ; happy in the con- 
templation of the blessings which you still possess, 
and happy in that of the perfected virtues of her 
whom it has pleased God to remove from you 
for a few years of separation, to be followed by a 
certain reunion with her for ever." Nor has the 
bereaved father any cause of added bitterness, 

• Gleig'fl " Warren Hastings/' VoL 3, Chap. xii. 


■*iThtg zn, ihiciznDZ o£ his aim coodocty (x i 
"* «:ine iiiiitie in the character of the kmentei 
ofcjt^t:^" ot hi* love. — Toa are ccnscioasflf 
hiivin:! acr^oittei yourself of yoor duty ; and d 
hft±r T*:a caa iw. in die aentzment of die Dokeof 
^*rmi:iiii. choc voa woold not exchange your J 
piLmrti chili and l>*e yoirr sorroir imh it, tobe 
the A-ther, and to piDegess all the affectioDSot 
a tskdit^r. ot' iny odi!^ daughter out of jcor 
own famriy that coald be grren you in (XMnpen- 

Tliere w:l3 znneh. toow of mellow wisdixn i& 
the leuter which Ha»dngs wrote to Sir Job 
DCK-ley s elder sgiu Giarles^ at the time of his 
Tnnr TTri-TP in 1S03. After the usual coDorahilar 


Vjir^, he entreats him " for (jod's sake,'' to av(^ 
one Tfjck on which many young- fiunilies have 
been wrecked. " Avoid entertainments ; keep 
no table : and, that you may avoid the obligation 
of retuminor invitations, accept of none, but from 
persons so much your superiors in age and stand- 
ing as not to expect it." On all such points he 
was to take dispassionate counsel with his own 
reason, and make her answer his fixed law, from 
which no sneers, censures, or temptations should 
lead him to depart. " Be the slave of fashion," 


dds his Mentor, " in*indifferent matters ; but be 
^our own master and independent in all such as 
aay aflfect your moral character, or influence 
ither your own happiness, or (which indeed is 
^ours) the happiness of your family/'* 

If Hastings had been disappointed by the re- 
ults of his interview with the Prince of Wales, 
le was spared the further mortification of seeing 
ds arch-enemy. Sir Philip Francis, sent out to 
ndia as Governor- General in the room of Lord 
^ornwallis, who died in 1805, but a few months after 
lis second landing in India as successor to Lord 
fV^ellesley. As soon as Fox came into power in 
L806, Francis fancied that the prize for which he 
lad so long hungered was within his grasp. He 
ippealed to Lord Wellesley for help in gaining 
ihe support of Fox's Tory colleague,' Lord Gren- 
nUe. But the "glorious little man," whose 
Indian career had opened his eyes to the true 
ivorth of his famous predecessor, at once declined 
to say a word in favour of Hastings' bitterest 
reviler ; and Francis consoled himself with un- 
sparing abuse, not of the Marquis, nor of Lord 
Grenville, but of the great Whig leader in whose 
ranks he had always fought.f The prize for 

* Gleig's "Warren Hastings,'* Vol. 3, Chap. xii. 
t Brougham's " Statesmen of me Time of George III." 


which he had humbled himself in vain, was » 
served for Lord Minto, the Sir Gilbert Elot i\ 
a former page. 

It was natural that Hastings, who had beeni 
cruelly wronged by the brother of Alexani 
Elliot, should deplore the selection of such 
man for so important an office. He fe 
moreover, for the effect which Lord Minto's 
ings towards himself might work upon the 
tunes of his old friend, Sir John D'Oyley. 
forebodings on this point were not, perl 
wholly groundless, for Sir John did get ii 
trouble of some kind with the new Govei 
But his estimate of Lord Minto's fitness fori 
destined post proved on the whole as un< 
worthy as such forecasts, made under like coi 
tions, have often done. Sir George Barlow 
successor in the Government of India- 
George had provisionally succeeded Comwallis- 
soon learned to tread, so far as a statesman 
had the fear of Parliament and the India Hon 
before him might safely venture, in the steps* 
Warren Hastings and the Marquis Wellesley. 

To a mind so sensitive as that of Hastinjj 
few things could have been more welcome tl 
the marked change which time had ^vrought 
Lord Wellesley's feelings towards the victim 


^^Francis' rancour and Burke's delusions. Lord 
^tVTomington had gone out to India in 1797 pos- 
sessed with that strong belief in Easting's crimi- 
coality which had led him nine or ten years before 
zo offer himself as a Manager of the femous Im- 
oeachment. But his Indian experiences had 
saught him a very different lesson. The memory 
of the great Proconsul was still jfresh in India, 
-ind the conqueror of Tippu found himself as- 
sailed and hampered at every turn by the same 
;x>wers of slander, spite, ignorance, and distrust, 
:?rhich Hastings, with fewer means of resistance, 
Tiad to encounter. Hastings' whilom censurer 
v^ecome his warm admirer ; and when, in 1802, 
ohe Nawdb of Oudh offered to recompense his 
;Stther's friend for the losses incurred through his 
impeachment, by settling on him an annuity of 
:£2,000, Lord Wellesley made known the offer 
4ii one of the most flattering letters which Hast- 
4iigs had ever received.* 

]. This offer Hastings seems to have declined, 
even before he learned, in 1804, that the pension 
granted him by the Company would thenceforth 
fye paid in full. It had always been his wish 
py " owe his fortune'^ wholly to the bounty of his 

I * Marsliman's " History of India,'* VoL 2, Chap, xxvi* 


former masters ; and the enjoyment of tbt 
bounty once assured to him^ he would gladk 
avoi<l '* the weight of a foreign obligation 
Careless he miorht be about spending money, but 
gree<l y of money for the sake of spending it on 
himself he never was. 

In each step of Lord Wellesley's Indian career. 
Hastings saw the vindication and enlarged le* 
flection of his own. The fell of Seringapataa 
the treaty of Bassein, the victories of Lake anl 
Wellesley sealed the triumph of that policy fe 
which he had been so bitterly assailed, the plicy 
which aimed at making the British povff 
supreme throughout India. Nor does the re- 
semblance between the lives of the two great 
Governors stop here. Each had carried out te 
own policy in defiance of orders and rebub 
from Leadenhall Street. After his return home, 
in 1805, Lord Wellesley also became the mark 
of hostile proceedings in the House of Coffl' 
mons, especially with regard to his treatment o 
the Kawab of Oudh. But this time the Minl^ 
try stood between the accused and his assailants 
and Fox himself, whom experience had mad 
wiser, opposed the motion for his impeacl 
ment. The attacks in Parliament were signi 


failures ; but the Court of Proprietors, which 
had always befriended Hastings, combined with 
the Directors to pass on Lord Wellesley a 
vote of censure which was only rescinded after 
thirty years. 

Note. — It may have been about tbe time of his fruitless in- 
terview -with the Prince of Wales, that Warren Hastings wrote 
the following lines concerning Francis Pacheco, whose services 
in Portuguese India were requited by a long imprisonment 
nnder false charges afterwards set aside, and whose sad fate 
was sung by Camoens in Book 10 of his jLusiad : — 
" Yet think not, gallant Lusian, nor repine 
That man's eternal destiny is thine. 
Whoe'er it is the adventurous chief befriends. 
Fell malice on his parting steps attends. 
On Britain's candidates w fame await. 
As now on thee, the harsh decrees of fate : 
Thus are ambition's fondest hopes o'erreached ; 
One dies imprisoned and one lives impeached.'* 



It was in the year 1813, at the age of eigl 
that Hastings once more emerged from his lo 
retirement into the blaze of public notice. I 
many years past he had been leading the liie o 
quiet country gentleman, happy in the possess 
of health and worldly competencCy in the love 
his accomplished and gentle wife, in the fellc 
ship of many friends, in the following of 
favourite pursuits and the discharge of his cb 
duties, in the happiness which he conferred 
all who came within reach of his unfailing boui 
or his friendly services. These years, in sh( 
as Mr. Gleig remarks, were "devoted to the w 
being of his fellow-men in all ranks, ao-es, i 
conditions," from the wedded couples in wl 
quarrels he was asked to interpose, to the c 
dren and youths for whom distant friends claii 
his kindly offices, and the widows or orpl 

THE company's TRADE-RIGHTS. 353 

whose wants he charitably relieved. To his 
nearest relatives, the Woodmans, he had always 
proved a helpful brother, and his wife's children 
had been brought up and cherished as his own. 

In the spring of 1813 he was called up to 
London, to give evidence before both houses of 
f. Parliament on the affairs of a country which he 
had not seen for twenty-eight years past. The 
renewal of the Company's Charter was the ques- 
^ tion of Ihe hour with all who had any voice in 
^^ the management of our Indian Empire, or any 
^ interest in the growth of our Indian trade. 
^' Hitherto the great Company, if largely shorn of 
^ their political powers, had retained intact their 
^' chartered privileges in the matter of trade. But 
^' the charter of 1793 was now expiring, and the 
'^' Ministry of Lord Liverpool had no mind to renew 
-■ a monopoly which had already outgrown its 
'^ apparent purpose. To that monopoly we may 
^ have owed our eastern empire and all the advan- 
^ tages that flowed therefrom. But the time was 
^- come for getting rid of a mischievous anachronism, 
«^ which shut out the people of England from the 
'- free development of their commercial greatness. 
'* Napoleon's grand scheme for excluding English 
^ wares from the whole Continent of Europe had 



turned the eyes of our merchants to other and 
remoter fields of enterprise ; the cotton spinners 
of Lancashire clamoured fiercely for the right of 
free trade with an English dependency ; and the 
men of Bristol and Liverpool inveighed agamst 
the exclusive privileges enjoyed by London as 
the port of entry for Indian goods. The dooia 
of the Company had in fact been soimdeJ 
throughout England for several years before tic 
Session of 1813. 

The Ministers had agreed with some rdn* 
ance, that Parliament should hear the witnesstf 
brought forward by the Lidia House magnate! 
in their defence. Scores of old and present so^ 
vants of the Company were eager to display their 
loyalty to the masters in whose service they hi 
made their fortunes or their name. Conspicnoos 
in the one list stood the name of Warren Hast- 
ings, in the other, those of Malcolm and Munw 
On the 30th March, the white-haired master i 
Daylesford appeared at the bar of that House d 
Commons, where, twenty- seven years before, b 
had read his answer to the charges laid against 
him by Burke. But the passions of a bygone 
day were buried in the applause which now 
greeted him from every side ; applause such as 


t had seldom been heard within those walls. He 
Sc was at once invited to take a chair, and when, 
:: after a long examination, he was allowed to with- 
« draw, aU the members, he wrote to Charles 
r: D^Oyley, "by one simultaneous impulse rose 
with their heads uncovered, and stood in silence 
s till I passed the door of their chamber."* The 
V House at the time was unusually crowded, and it 
a may be, as Macaulay states, that one or two of 
those who had taken part in his impeachment 
, kept their seats. But the exceptions only served 
, to emphasize the homage rendered by the rest. 

His friend Thompson, who had heard the 
, applause from the Speaker's room, in writing to 
; Sir John D'Oyley, declares his perfect conviction 
that " there is not at this moment a man in 
England, the worth of whose private and public 
chajacter is more universally and indisputably 
admitted than his is." The warmth of Thomp- 
son's friendship hardly overcoloured the simple 
truth. Nor was Hastings received with less 
reverence, a few days later by the House of 
Lords. The Duke of Gloucester took him to 
the House in his own carriage, waited with him 
in the outer room, and conducted him into the 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xiv. 


hall where the Lords sat in full committee 
Durinj]^ his examhiation he enjoyed what seem 
to have been the rare honour of a seat, and th 
Lords also rose while he retired. "The mos 
marked attention" — says Mr. Thompson — "wa 
paid both to his person and his opinions.'* Thi 
same carriage which had brought hini thitha 
took him home ; and when the House broke ^ 
the Duke himself — says Hastings — "came to 
make his report of what had passed to Uri 
Hastuigs, ^vith the same kind of glee that you or 
your dear father would have expressed upon tk 
same occasion."* 

As the first of the witnesses called before Pa^ 
liamen, Hastmgs not only cleared the way for his 
successors ; he also helped to indicate new lines 
of inquiry to the examiners themselves. A^ 
had not yet greatly dimmed his memory, noi 
weakened his powers of copious statement. B 
evidence turned chiefly on the settlement a 
Europeans in India, on the extent of India'i 
demand for English goods, and the policy of en 
couraging Christian missions in a country rulef 
by men of Christian race. His opinions on thes 

* Letter to Charles D'Oyley— Gleig's ** Warren HastingSi' 
"Vol. 3, Chap. xiv. 


^ points, however opposed to the more liberal spirit 
; of our own day, or even to the views expressed 

by the leading statesmen of that time, were at 
^^ least in harmony with the fruits of his old Indian 

experiences, and the ideas that still swayed the 
~^ members of his old service. The free admission 
' of European settlers into India he regarded as a 

new danger to the peace of that country, and a 
"^ sure step towards the loss of our Indian posses- 
sions. He saw no advantage in opening to all 
^'* England a trade which had nearly reached its 
^ utmost limits under the fostering care of its best 

guardians, the East India Company. And he 
^' looked with evident dislike on all schemes for 
^ ' encouraging missionary enterprise among a people 
*^ noted for their attachment to their own ancestral 

^ Reminded of the opinions he had once ex- 
^ pressed against monopoly and in fevour of free 
'^ trade, Hastings could only answer that his 
[ opinions had undergone a change, and that he 
• did not come there to defend his own inconsis 
^ tencies. If we re^et the change in his case, we 
^ must allow for the force of old official traditions, 
^ and perhaps of gratitude, working on a man of 

his great age. And it must be remembered that 



he erred in good company. Among the wii 
nesses on the same side, was Sir John Shore, wh 
had lately become Lord Teignmouth.* Onec 
the foremost champions of monopoly in the Hous 
of Lords was the Marquis WeUesley, whose er 
couragement of " interlopers " and private trad 
with India had given sore offence, in the firs 
years of the century, to " the cheesemongers c 
Leadenhall Street." 

As for his views on the other questions at issue 
they were held in common by most statesmc 
and very nearly all the Company^s servants c 
his day. The mutiny of Vellor, in 1806, ha 
taught all but a few enthusiasts a lesson of can 
tion in dealing with the religious feelings an 
usages of the Indian people. The settlement ( 
white men in India was a bold experiment, whos 
success has hardly yet been placed beyond 
question. Few statesmen, indeed, of that da 
seem to have looked so far ahead as Lord Grei 
ville, whose speech on the Indian question in tl 
House of Lords foreshadowed the more sweepifl 
j reforms of 1833, when the last remnants of tl 

Company's trade-rights were swept away; an 
of 1853, when the first appointments to tl 

♦ The real author of the Perpetual Settlement in Bengal 



25^ THE CHARTER OF 1813. 359 

^ Indian Civil service were thrown open to public 

- competition. 

^ Hastings' evidence may have pleased his friends 
and encouraged the witnesses who came after 
him. But all the arguments and the eloquence 
of the Company's champions failed to avert the 
blow which a Ministry, strong in the support o 
an approving nation, was prepared to deal at their 
commercial privileges. Under the Charter Act 
of 1813, little was left of those privileges save 
the China trade ; Europeans became free to settle 
imder certain conditions in the Company's ter- 
ritories ; and in 1814, an Anglican bishop 
landed in Calcutta as the head of a Church 
establishment to be maintained at the Company's 

Soon after his return to Daylesford, Hastings 
learned that Oxford was about to confer upon 
him the tardy compliment of a degree. At his 
appearance in the noble theatre where he was to 
be installed a Doctor of Civil Law, the under- 
graduates rose to a man and greeted him with 
rounds of enthusiastic cheering. Dr. Phillimore 
presented him to the Vice-Chancellor in one of 
those elegant Latin speeches in which the 
University Orator is always supposed to excel. 




Tlie applause of a body of young men assembled 
at a time of yearly festival, to let off their sur- 
plus spirits in cheers, groans, or jokes, may not 
in itself be worth much. But it served as a 
test of the new comer's popularity, and at tiiis , 
;, time Hastings was certainly popular. The] 

I warmth of his reception inspired his inendj 

'• Elijah Impey, the student of Christchurch, to 

write a poetical address to Dr. Phillimore. 
Three copies of the poem were sent to Hastings, 
who declared himself unable to select passages 
from an effusion so admirable throughout 
" How much I was pleased with the poem," he 
I wrote, " I cannot tell you ; but I have a greataf 

1 pleasure in conveying to you the sentiments and 

words of my dear Mrs. Hastings. ' Tell him,* 
she said, ' that I am delighted with it. It is 
excellent, charming, and has nothing of sickness 
in the composition of it ; nor is it possible to be 
better.' '' 

At the moment when Hastings took his place 
among the Dons of Oxford, he saw himself 
standing on the brink of pauperism. The term 
for which his pension had been granted him had 
well-nigh run out ; and unless the Court of 
Dn*ectors came to his succour, beggary stared 


r: him in the face. The Court, however; were not 
1: unmmdful of their debt to the great man who 
r asked them as a favour for that which his past 
: services demanded as a right. They renewed 
r the pension for the term of his natural life. 
.^ But to all suggestions that the name of Mrs. 
J Hastings might be included in the grant to her 
-. husband, they turned a deaf ear. Hastings bore 
the disappointment with his wonted calmness, 
. thankful at any rate for the boon secured to him- 

Fresh honours awaited him in the foUowing 
year. In the May of that year the Prince 
Regent made him a member of his Privy 
Council. Hastings went through the ceremony 
of taking his seat, and returned home highly 
gratified with the long audience granted him by 
the most aflfable of princes. By that time all 
England was rejoicing over the downfal of the 
great Napoleon, whose defeat at Leipsic in the 
previous October had opened the way for the 
advance of the allied armies on the French 
capital. In April 1814 the spoilt child of 
Victory abdicated his throne and set out for the 
island of Elba. Early in June the allied sove- 
reigns entered London as guests of the Prince 



Regent. Their visit to Oxford in the same 
month added a rare lustre to the gay doings of 
that year's Commemoration. Among those who 
figured in that courtly gathering was Warren 
Hastings ; and once more the Sheldonian Theatre 
rang with the noisy honours paid by young 

6 Oxford to the most illustrious of her guests. 

On the 18th of June Hastings formed onerf 
the splendid company that sat down to the great 

* banquet given at Guildhall by the City of 

London to the Prince Regent and his august 
fiiends. On this occasion he was introduced by 

II the Prince himself to the Emperor Alexander 

and the King of Prussia, as the most deserving 
and one of the worst-used men in England. 

■' "But I have made a beginning" — added the 

Prince — "and shall certainly not stop there. 
He has been created a Privy Councillor, which 
he is to regard as nothing more than an earnest 
of the esteem in which I hold him ; he shall yet 
be honoured as he deserves." 

In a letter to his friend Anderson, Hastings 

'' refers to this pretty speech as uttered "in a 

manner too flattering to be written, and more 
audible than was merely necessary for the greal 
personages to whom it was addressed." * It was 

* Gleig'B " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Cliap. xiv. 





natural that he, like so many others, should be 

charmed by " the most gracious expressions of 

^ benevolence" on the part of one who had quite a 

- princely knack of making pretty speeches. It 
* was true enough, as Thackeray admits, that 
' George IV. was " good-natured — ^not imkindly," 

ready sometimes to help a friend in need, or to 

- save an old servant from disgrace. But selfish- 
■ ness, indolence and love of pleasure marked him 

- for their own, and his best intentions fell like 
seed by the wayside. If Hastings, in spite of 
past experience, dreamed of any solid advantage 
from the good things so publicly said and 
promised by his royal patron, he was soon to find 
himself once more undeceived. 

The excitement and the exertions he under- 
went at this time of general rejoicing told, at 
least for the moment, on his health. After the 
memorable Thanksgiving at St. Paul's, he had 
** a sharp but temporary fever." Rest and absti- 
nence, however, and the pleasure of seeing his 
wife " improved to a state of unmixed health and 
exuberant spirits," soon brought him round ; and 
on the 1 1th of July he was well enough to take 
the chair at a dinner given by "the Indian 
gentlemen" to the new-made Duke of Welling- 
ton, still fre^ from his crowning victory over 


Soult at Toulouse. His speech on this ' 
contained some graceful references to t 
■which Wellington had once played in es 
the IJritish jx^wer in India, "thus umtinj 
same time a brother's glory with his ow 
to the tniin of events by which the \ 
Assiiye had become the instrument of ret 
justice on the author of " the wanton a 
fidious aggression at Bayonne." His v( 
then so feeble, that only those who sat 
him could hear him plainly; but his 
accordhig to the newspapers, was " recei^ 
much satisfaction."* 

At a dinner given on the 16th July 
Duke of Wellington by the Court of Di 
the first health drunk was that of *' Mr. 1 
and the Governments of India." Then i 
" The ilarquis Wellesley, with thanks to 
his distinguished sendees in India." < 
occasion, Hastings himself does not seem 
been present ; but his departure trom 
was delayed by an invitation to attend t 
given by the Prince Kegent at Carlton H 

• Hastings, in a. letter to Anderson, denied (hat his 
weak, but I am incHned to think that in this ins 
reportera wore right. 



ic the 21st July. Two days afterwards, Hastings 

1- returned with his wife to Daylesford, not sorry 

e: to exchange the stir and glitter of the scenes in 

z which he had lately figured, for the quieter at- 

i tractions of his country home. 

: Before his departure, some of his friends had 

:: been trying to obtain for him the honour of 

: a statue in the India House. Nothing, however, 

, came of this project. When Hastings heard of it 

^ through his jfriend. Sir George Dallas, he refused 

r his assent to every attempt of the kind, "except 

: what should arise from the Court of Directors 

themselves, and from their own mere motion." 

Sir George assured him that nothing should be 

done in the matter that could hurt his feelings ; 

but Hastings insisted that the whole business 

should be " put an end to altogether."* 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xiv. 


1814— ISlg. 

Hasttxcs returned to Dsy^lesftird in good sprA 
and fair heslxh. Bat the aiiadow of ccmingfit 
ir^ alrteddy falling on his path. In 1813, Ii 
had suffered fix^n a numbness in his right ade 
During his stay in LondcMi in the following yefl 
he found himself more than once deprived foi 
few minutes of the power of speech, by a seizro 
which affected the muscles of his mouth ando 
one hand. These atacks, however, soon passe( 
by, leaving him apparently as w^ell as ever. Ii 
September, 1815, he described himself to Ander 
son, with whom he regularly corresponded, a 
much better than he had been for months past 
"happy in witnessing the good health, goa 
spirits, and good looks of Mrs. Hastings, still un 
abated,'' and his own, " of each kind, perfect ii 
all points, but memory of the past and presen 


He had now given up riding on horseback, 
but his strength was still equal to the old pur- 
suits of farming and gardening, and he enjoyed 
as keenly as ever the society of his fiiends and 
his books. Nor did he relax from his old in- 
terest in the political movements of the day. In 
a letter to David Anderson, written soon after 
Bonaparte's triumphant return from Elba, Hast- 
ings looks upon the late events ia France as 
fidsifying Solomon's adage that there is nothing 
new imder the sun, " for the imagination of man 
never conceived the invasion of a great empire 
by a mere adventurer at the head of six hun- 
dred men." Nor was he less amazed to contem- 
plate the likelihood — erelong to prove the fact — 
of a foreign confederacy forcing " upon a whole 
people against their declared choice, a sovereign 
ruler, and that ruler the untainted blood of their 
own hereditary monarchs."* Like Fox, and a few 
other liberal-minded Englishmen of that day, he 
had always owned to a certain admiration of the 
great Corsicaa upstart, whose lurid genius and 
mad ambition were about to land him, a hopeless 
exile, on the lonely, well-guarded rock of St. 
Helena. He admired him much as one might 

* Gleig*8 "Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xiv. 


admire a hurricane or a raging flood, or the fallen 
Arohaiijifcl in Paradise Lost. 

A few months later, we find his generoos 
si>irit vexed at "the miraculous transformatid 
of the beautiful island of St. Helena into a state 
prison of a deposed emperor." He was"som 
for its depredation, and more so to contemplate 
the British nation in the character of the jailor of 
Europe." It was, no doubt, a disagreeable duty 
which fell to England, but in his sympathy witk 
the famous prisoner Hastings seems to have OTe^ 
looked the circumstances which justified the 
jailor's conduct. If Napoleon had been less 
closely guarded, would not the peace of Europe 
have soon been once more disturbed ? The events 
that followed his return from Elba explain the 
sequel of his surrender to Captain Maitland. 

Hastings watched the course of events in India 
with an interest heightened by his friendly rela- 
tions with Lord Lloira, the new Governor- 
General, and by the memory of his own 
experiences in the same post. With pardonable 
pride, the old man compares the success of his 
own plans in 1781 for defeating the Rajah of 
Banaras, with the blunders that marked the first 
year's campaign in Nepal. Our reverses in 


1814 he ascribes, not to " the superior skill and 
courage of our enemies/' but to our ignorance of 
the country invaded, our neglect of the discipline 
which makes up for inferior numbers, and to the 
folly of sending three columns "by three unde- 
Jined lines, through an unknown labyrinth of 
thickets and rocks, with a plan for their converg- 
ing in the same point of attack." His fears that 
the war might end in a peace that would lower 
the credit of our arms, and proclaim our " aban- 
donment of the principle to which we owe all our 
present greatness in India," were happily falsified 
by the victories of Ochterlony and the treaty of 

Falsified also, perhaps for the best, were his 
expectations regarding the latter years of Lord 
Hastings' rule.* Looking at Lord Hastings as 
" a man of superior talents, steady of purpose, 
and determined," who had no wish to make new 
conquests, he reckoned that the Mardtha Princes 
would not care to provoke, at the hands of such 
a ruler, the punishment they would else receive. 
"These," he writes, in the winter of 1817, "are 
my reasons for believing that we shall have peace 

* Lord Moira was made Marquis of Hastdngs at the end of 
the Gurkha war. 


series of canijmi^is, which ended bj 
tlie sovereignty of the Peshwas, anc 
Coiiiiiniiy's power supreme in fac 
thruii<rliout India. Had Warren H 
Imt a tew nionths longer, he would 1 
glorious fulfilment of the dream he sixty years before. 

In July, 1816, we find him pleasa 
in restoring the ruinous old churc 
foiil, whieli stood upon his own la 
fretiucnted chiefly by his own tent 
members of his household. " I fee 
to Anderson in October, " a spice 
relating that "I began the demolitio 
fabric on the 8th of July, and co 
whole of the renewed building on 
September .... To this accou 
added ivindowa, pavements, and do- 
which I set the cove of a ceiling nea 



Un it on Sunday, the 6th of November, just four 

^.months from the dilapidation/'* 

:- About the same time he amused himself with 

- reprinting a little tract he had once written 

- *' upon the means of guarding houses from fires." 
r.His letters of this period contain some touching 
,. references to that decay which was slowly creep- 
ing over his powers of mind and body. One 
night, "by way of experiment,'' as he tells An- 

. derson, "I got by heart six lines of Walter Scott, 
on going to bed, and forgot them, without the 
power of recovering them, before I had composed 
myself." In another letter to the same friend, 
after telling of the "constant recreation, both of 
body and mind," which the rebuilding of the 
church had afforded him, he regrets his inability 
to walk so far as the village and give his orders 
to the workmen, as each occurs to him, on the 
spot. And to Elijah Impey, he writes in No- 
vember, 1816, "You suffer only from the tem- 
porary depression of those energies which you 
inherently possess ; and wait only the revolu- 
tionary change which every constitution, both of 
mind and body, possesses for their complete re- 
production. That mine have passed that period, 

• Gleig's " Warren Hastings," Vol. 3, Chap. xv. 


this laboured and scarce intelligible, if int( 
ble, attempt to convey my meaniug, too p 

Still there was plenty of life in the old 
whose eighty-fourth birthday was close at 
when he thus wrote. If his handwriting 
feeble, and his style prolix^ his letters still si 
a lively interest in the affairs of his friend 
the world at large. Elijah Impey's last p( 
new pamphlet by Robert Owen, the Conn 
dreamer of New Lanark, the riots cause 
the distresses consequent on war and bac 
vests, the rumoured resignation of Lord 
poors Ministr}'^, the fighting at Algiers a 
Ceylon — these and suchlike topics are tc 
off by the same pen that discourses of the \^ 
home pursuits, of the health and virtues oi 
Hastings ; that rejoices in the convalesce 
Mrs. Anderson, and conmients with kinc 
gret or pleasure on the news which the pc 
brinsrs him from distant friends. Once in 
he is roused to momentary anger by some 
of injustice to his oflScial merits The ref( 
the salt department in Bengal was a m< 
which he had devised and carried out entir« 
himself ; and it hurt the old man's pride 


. Jie credit of its conception claimed for some one 
'^^jrho had acted mider his orders. " I am angry,' 
~^e writes to Thompson, "but I shall cool before 

I get to town.''* 

^' This was written in February, 1817. In the 

^fcUowing month he went up to London for the 

^last time ; returning to Daylesford on the 8th of 

~^ liay. To pay his respects to the Prince Regent 

' was for him a pleasant duty ; and he also wrote 

"/^his name at the Dukes of York and Clarence, 

^ besides making a round of other visits, formal or 

'-■ friendly. But that which gave him the most 

^ pleasure was the welcome offered him on the 13th 

' of March, when he dined with thirty-nine old 

' Indians at the Camden HiU Club. His health 

' was " drunk with marks of the most expressive 

kindness." In such honours he read not only the 

= testimony of those who had shared his friendship 

or served under him in former days, but "the 

correaponding sentiments of many besides to 

whom I am personally unknown." 

The loss of blood from the extraction of a large 
tooth weakened him for a few days, and he 
returned home with a cold and cough which 
*^ troubled him all night." But a few days later 

♦ Gleig's " Warren Haatings," Vol. 1, Chap. xv. 

violent attack of the pleurby." E 
for liis [Kirt still enjoyed, perhaps moi 
the " kinj^'-sc-atcd visits" — as he call* 
his country neighbours ; whom he lo" 
he says, to tleem their coming an inti 
ever business he might have in hand. 

It was in the last days of 1817 
coui-sed to Anderson on the chai 
another Maratha war, in a letter ■^ 
snuill trace of senile decay. Even a 
foUomng April, when his sight and " 
of connected sentences " too often fa: 
could write to Klijah Impey about 
worth of contemporary history to th 
by men "who have written so Ion 
events which they relate, as to hi 
interest in them." He goes on to 11 
theory by a reference to certain 


which betrays a consciousness of failing powers. 
After repeating the well-known story about the 
interview between Dundas and Pitt, which trans- 
formed the latter from an opponent into a sup- 
porter of Hastings' impeachment, he adds — " But 
I must stop, for my mind forsakes me." * But 
for that brief confession, the letter might have 
been written thirty years before. 

The end indeed of a long, well-spent, and 
nearly blameless life, was drawing very near. In 
January, 1818, he had complained of "an infla- 
mation in the roof of my mouth, and an inability 
to eat solids.'' A fresh train of unpleasant 
symptoms comes out in his diary for May. 
"Confused and indistinct sensations, as of the 
sounds of distant multitudes .... resembling 
slow music," began to visit him for several days 
running. On the last day of the same month he 
went to church, and his airings in the carriage 
seem to have been continued till the 13th July. 
On his return from that day's drive he was 
"seized with staggering," and had to be bled. 
From that time he grew daily weaker, but still 
managed to jot his feelings down in his diary. 
One day, the 15th, he passed " unexpectedly and 

• Gleig's *' Warren HMtings," Vol. 3, Chap. X7. 


regretfully well." On the 20th he awoke with 
his throat "much swelled, and a diflBiculty of 
swallowing/' which continued throughout the 

From that date his diary remains a blank. 
The disease of his throat grew slowly worse, 
accompanied at times by fever. Lovmg friends, 
his wife. Sir Charles and Lady Imhoff, and his 
nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Woodman, 
ministered to the wants and comforts of the 
djdng statesman ; and Sir Henry Halford gave 
him the poor benefit of first-rate medical skill 
His sufierings, writes his beloved god-daughter, 
Mrs. Barton, were "very great indeed, borne 
with uncomplaining fortitude, the most touching 
meekness of temper, and pious resignation to the 
will of God." "Not one impatient expression," 
says Lady Imhofi^, "ever escaped him," although 
he knew himself slowly starving to death. He 
was living, in fact, as Sir H. Halford said, "upon 
his own substance," for he had now lost all power 
of swallowing, and his only relief from suffering 
was to keep a little cold water in his fevered 

Of death itself he had no fear. "At my age," 
he said, "it is time to go;" and his sufferiii<ys, 


— ''none of you know what I suffer/' he replied to 
those around him — ^made him welcome the uni- 
versal Peace-maker with a smile of contentment. 
But amidst his bodily ailments one anxiety still 
weighed upon his mind. What provision could 
he secure for the wife who would so soon be left 
a widow ? He had lived up to his yearly in- 
come, and his pension would cease with his life. 
Mrs. Hastings' private fortune was very small ; 
but the India House would surely take care of 
the widow for her husband's sake. On the 3rd 
August, Mrs. Hastings wrote from the dying 
man's dictation, to his old and faithfiil friend 
Toone, a letter which expressed in touching lan- 
guage his dread at leaving " the dearest object 
of all my mortal concerns, in a state of more than 
comparative indigence." Through her he had 
been enabled to maintain his masters' affairs for 
thirteen yeaxs" in vigour, strength, credit, and 
respect ;" and in one case especially, when she 
was at Patna, and he " in a seat of greater dan- 
ger, she proved the personal means of guarding 
one province of their Indian dominion from im- 
pending ruin by her own independent fortitude 
and presence of mind, varying with equal effect 
as every variation of event called upon her for 


fresh exertions of it." From his employers, to- 
wards whom he felt "the deepest gratitude," 
he asked only for " the continuance of that re- 
ward which they have thought proper equally to 
confer on my services and sujSerings." To the 
hands of his friend Toone he would commit, 
"without further expression/' the task of carry- 
ing his last appeal before the Court of Directors. 
" My latest prayers shall be offered for their ser- 
vice ; for the welfare of my beloved country; 
and for that also of the land whose interests were 
so long committed to my partial guardianship." 
When he had signed this letter, Hastings telt 
that he had done with worldly affairs. At that 
time and for some days later he could still swallow? 
a little food ; and he took the Sacrament in the 
midst of his sorrowing friends. But the inevitable 
hour was fast approaching ; and on the evening 
of the 22nd August "his pure and gentle spirit" 
— in the words of Mrs. Barton — "quitted its 
earthly abode without a struggle or even a sigh." 
Not a trace of pain or suffering was left, accord- 
ing to Lady Imhoff, upon " his beloved, benign 
countenance ; " nor did anyone know the exact 
moment of that peaceful ending. With character- 
istic delicacy he had drawn a handkerchief over 


his own face, and when, after a while, the 
watchers, alarmed by the stiUness beneath it, 
removed the covering, he was dead. 

A large number of the neighbouring gentry 
followed his body to its last resting-place behind 
the chancel of Daylesford Church.* It was not 
fated that the bones of one so great and so worthy 
of lasting honour should lie within St. Paul's or 
Westminster Abbey, " that temple of silence and 
reconciliation, where the enmities of twenty 
generations lie buried." But they rest fitly 
enough among the mouldering relics of those 
ancestral lords and squires of Daylesford, whose 
Une never produced a more illustrious scion than 
Warren Hastings. Within the church itself a 
plain tablet of white marble, set up by Mrs. 
Hastings in memory or her noble husband, tells 
where he lies, and speaks of the rebuilding of the 
church where the last rites were so soon to be 

* A new clmrcli was built in 1860 by the Lord of the Manor, 
Mr. Harman Grisewood, in the place of that rebuilt by Hastings 
in 1816. The new chancel partially covers the vault which holds 
his remains, so that his coffin which lay, when Mr. Gleig wrote, 
in the churchyard, now lies under the communion-table. Just 
outside the cnancel is a railed enclosure containing a square 
etone pedestal surmounted by an urn, on one side of which is 
inscribed simply the great name of Warren Hastings. — See Mr. 
J. Tickford's letter in " Notes and Queries," 4th Series, Vol. 6, 
1870, p. 192. 


performed over him, as the last public effort of 
his " eminently virtuous and lengthened life." 

In the same vault with the great proconsul lie 
the remains of his dearly-loved wife, who died in 
1837 at the great age of ninety years. There 
too in 1853 was laid the body of her son, Sir 
Charles ImhoflF, who died at the age of eighty- 
six. That the last years of Mrs. Hastings' life 
were not passed in " more than comparative indi- 
gence," was a mercy for which she had no cause 
to thank the Court of Directors. They gave 
no heed to the dying prayer of him whose genius 
had saved from ruin the empire founded by Clive, 
and whose achievements rendered possible the 
careers of AVellesley and Lord Hastings, the 
peaceful victories of Lord William Bentinck and 
the daring statesmanship of Dalhousie. 

That Hastings was deficient in '" the two great 
elements of all social virtue, in respect for the 
rights of others, and in sympathy for the suffer- 
ings of others ; " that " his principles were some- 
what lax," and " his heart was somewhat hard," 
are among the inferences which Macaulay drew 
from his reading of the great man's life-story. I 
venture to think that few readers of the fore- 
gomg pages will endorse on these points the ver- 


diet of the femous Essayist, whose party zeal 
sometimes overclouded his natural shrewdness 
and love of fairplay. Had Burke and Fox been 
Tories instead of Whigs, it is very probable that 
Macaulay would have done more justice to the 
moral worth of " the ablest of the able men who 
have given to Great Britain her Indian Empire."* 
Even he, however, calls upon us to admire "the 
amplitude and fertility" of Hastings' intellect, 
" his rare talents for command, for administra- 
tion, and for controversy, his dauntless courage, 
his honourable poverty, his fervent zeal for the 
interests of the state, his noble equanimity, 
tried by both extremes of fortune, and never dis- 
turbed by either." 

His public services may be summed up briefly 
in Macaulay's own words : " He had preserved 
and extended an empire. He had administered 
government and war with more than the capacity 
of Richelieu. He had patronised learning with 
the judicious liberality of Cosmo." His official 
industry has never, I think, been surpassed by 
the most painstaking of his successors ; and in 
official courage and strength of will he may be 
said to stand alone, because none of his suc- 

• Wilson's Note to Book V. Cliap. 8 of MiU's " History." 


ccssors had to encounter all the trials, dangers, 
and disiidvantages which fell to his lot. Few 
thinjrs in liistory are more admirable than the 
dauntless self-reliance, the patient energy, the 
unyielding grasp,— in a word, the marvellous 
pluck which enabled him, often single-handed, 
in spite of all hindrances, to carry out his 
plans for the public weal. A governor who held 
so high and arduous an office as Warren Hast- 
ings did for thirteen years, must in his time have 
made not a few mistakes. " Like other men' — 
says Horace AVilson — "he was occasionally 
ignorant or imperfectly informed ; he doubtd, 
he wavered, he changed his opinion, he was 
biassud by his feelings ; he judged erroneously, 
he acted wrongly. He was not however judo-ed 
like other men, by his acts, but every mistake or 
misconception, every hasty impression, every 
fluctuating purpose, every injudicious resolution, 
was hunted out, made public, and arraj'ed in 
evidence against him.'' Few statesmen indeed 
have paid so dearly for the faults of other men, 
have suffered such cruel injustice from the 
passions and the prejudices of their ot\ti ao-e. 
But time and calmer inquiry have akeady raised 
him above the mists of contemporary slander; 


and he begins to stand out clear in the light of 
honest criticism, as a Himalayan snow-peak stands 
out clear to the beholder from Masiiri or Naini- 
Tal, at the close of the rainy season under the 
cool November sun. 

Note. — Mrs. Hastings lived at Daylesford until her death in 
1837, at the age of ninety. The estate then passed into the 
liands of her son. Sir Charles Imhoff, who died in 1853, aged 
86. It was then bought by Mr. Harman Grisewood, who 
enlarged the house and rebuilt the church. His widow dving a 
few years ago, it has now become the seat of Mr. R. iJichoU 
Byass, J.P., the Lord of the Manor, under whose care the 
grounds and gardens retain all their former beauty. The house 
itself, as rebuilt by Hastings, stands on rising ^ound well- 
covered with trees and looking down upon a thickly-wooded 
elen. It is a handsome building, crownea by a light and airy 
dome. In the laying out of the gardens Mrs. Hastings' taste 
"WSLS called into prohtable play. The little village of Dayles- 
ford has now grown into a thriving town, easily reached from 
the Adlestrop station of the Great Western Railway. — Neale's 
*• Views of Seats," Vol. 5 ; and " Murray's " Handbook to 
Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire." 






In his "Early Records of British India, ** Mr. Talboys 
Wheeler gives the following picture of social life among the 
[English in Bengal, at the time when Hastings first landed in 

'' Social life, whether at Calcutta or at the factories up 
country, was much the same in character. The Company's 
servants lived together in the factory ; they hoarded together 
like members of one family or firm. This practice was fall- 
ing into disuse at Calcutta ; marriages with English women 
bad broken up the establishment into households. It was 
Btill kept up at the subordinate factories, where the English 
lived in greater isolation. The mornings were devoted to 
business. Then followed the mid-day dinner and the after- 
noon siesta. In the cool of the evening they took the air in 
palanquins or sailed on the river in budgerows. They angled 
for mango fish, or shot snipe and teal. The evening wound 
up with supper. There were quarrels, scandals and contro- 
versies. Possibly there were some excesses. There was always 
the show of religion and decorum which characterised the 
early half of the eighteenth century. The chaplain read 
prayers every morning, and preached on Sundays. There 


were intervals of excitement apart from the daily busin 
Ships broght news from Europe ; from the outer Presidem 
from the far-off settlements in China, Sumatra, Pega, 
other remote quarters. Above all, every ship that came f 
Madras brought tidings of the wars between the French 
English in Southern India — the victories of Clive and giai 
defeat of all the schemes of Dupleix." 


According to Grose (Voyage to the East Indies, Bool 
Chap, i.), Calcutta was a "very flourishing place." before 
capture by Sur«\j-ad-daula in 1766. The town was "It 
fair, and populous,'* being inhabited by *' many private Eng 
merchants, and several rich Indian traders, who supplied 
Company with the commodities of the country." Tbe 
was strong, built of ** brick and mortar called puckak, m 
of brickdust, lime, molasses, and hemp, which becomei 
hard and durable as stone.** The governors house in 
fort was •' a handsome regular structure." There were i 
** convenient lodgings for the factors, storehouses for the G 
pany*s goods, and magazines for their ammunition, j 
Company had also good gardens and fish-ponds; with 
hospital for the sick. On the other side of the river th 
were docks for repairing and careening the ships ; near wh 
the Armenians had a good garden . . • . About fifty ya 
from the fort was the English church, built by the contri 
tions of the merchants and seamen who came to trade thei 
The trade of Bengal at that time " supplied rich cargoes 
fifty or sixty ships yearly; besides what was carried in sma 
vessels to the adjacent countries; and the article of saltpf 
only was become of such great consequence to the Europ 


, that everything was attempted hy the French and 
to deprive the English of that advantage." 
modern Calcutta may he said to date from 1757, when 
/^illiam was hegun hy Glive, and the Maidan hetween 
Chowringhee was first cleared of jungle and native 
gs for the use of the European residents. New huildings 
merchants gradually arose on the site of the old fort ; 
e natives, who had fled at the approach of Surajad- 
speedily flocked hack to repair their ruined dwellings 
5w rich under the shelter of English rule. During the 
of 1770, some 76,000 of them are said to have perished 
Black Town. 

city of Calcutta, as it was in 1780, is descrihed hy Sir 
Mackintosh as ''that scattered and confjased chaos of 
, huts, sheds, streets, lanes, alleys, windings, gutters, 
and tanks, which jumhled into an undistinguished mass 
1 and corruption, equally offensive to human sense and 
, compose the capital of the English Company's Govem- 
n India." To jackals hy night, and vultures, kites, and 
hy day, it owed what little cleanliness it ever enjoyed, 
ears later, according to another witness, Grandpere, 
were no better. The only drains were " open canals," 
the filth and refuse of the town were left to putrefy ; 
ckaJs and birds of prey were the only scavengers. The 
I of flies and mosquitoes was intolerable. As a defence 
t the latter, people used to wear pasteboard about their 
hile they stayed indoors. . Lord Valentia, in 1803, had 
•etter to say of the Black Town, but he spoke of Chow- 
e as " an entire village of palaces," and he admired the 
lificent buildings" of which the new Government 
! was then become the centre. — Newman's " Handbook 

iv APVElfDlX. 


The following tribute to Hastings' memory appeared in the 
** Qent1eman*8 Magazine,** (Vol. 88, Part ii.), shortly affceiliiB 
death. It reads, if I may hazard a guess, like the work of 
Mr. Elijah Impev, who inherited his father's scholarly tastes, 
and had reason to appreciate the good qualities of his father's 
and his own good friend. 

*' In private life Mr. Hastings was one of the most amiable 
of human beings. He was the most tender and affectionatB 
husband, he was the kindest master, he was the sincerest 
friend, He had *' a tear for pity and a hand open as day£)r 
melting charity ; " his generosity was unbounded in desm 
and did not always calculate on his means of indulging it 
He had that true magnanimity which elevated him above aE 
selfish considerations, or personal resentments; his ofB 
private interest was always lost in his regard for the publie 
welfare, and to those who had been his most implacable 
enemies he was ever ready to be reconciled, and to forgiffc 
In his domestic intercourse, he was the most endearing part- 
ner, and in his social hours the most pleasing companion, 
instructive, afifable, cheerful, aud complaisant ; his natan 
was full of ** the milk of human kindness," without a tinctoie 
of gall in its composition. All who knew him loved him, 
and they who knew him most loved him best. This iei 
faint portrait of this great and good man ; but as far as it 
goes, it is a faithful one ; and it is drawn by one who knet 
him long and intimately, and who, if he had abilities equal to 
the design, would have given a more finished picture. 
** Ossa quieta, precor, tuta requiescite in urna ,* 
Et sit humus cineri non onerosa tuo.*' 

June, 1878. 

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A itf<«d fiMB tk* German of Heks Fba5z vok Lohee. Sc]*- 
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Z\}t jHisrrilanrous Cssags of Sr. ©otosturferr, 

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' •