Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honourable Warren Hastings, first Governor- Geoeral of Bengal. Compiled from Original Papers. By the Reverend G. R. Gleig. MA.. Chaplain to the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, &e. Author of the " Life of Sir Thomas Munro." In three volumes Bentley.
LIFE OF WARREN HASTINGS.
AMONG the remarkable men of the last century, WARREN HASTINGS was one of the most remarkable. Born in a state of abject poverty, and receiving the rudiments of education at a charity-school, he advanced himself not merely to a high station in life, but to the ab- solute rule of a large empire. Without family connexions, with no other friends than such as he had made or bought, he maintained himself in the office of Governor-General against the votes of the Directors, the wishes and intrigues of the Ministry, the recorded resolutions of the House of Commons, a majority in his own Coun- cil, whose leader was favoured by the King himself, and the odium of real political crimes and alleged personal atrocities. In despite of these obstacles, he consolidated, regulated; and ex- tended the empire which CLIVE had founded ; he established the British as an Indian power by connecting it in alliance with all the native states ; sustained, with disjointed councils and a fail- ing treasury, the burden of wars undertaken by the Governments of Madras and Bombay ; and was the first Indian ruler who in- stituted inquiries into the literature and laws of the people. He was the first, too, who clearly illustrated the practical mockery of "impeachment " as a means of attaining judicial justice ; and proved to the thinking, that a great state trial was an affair of power and party, not of guilt or innocence, though guilt might be punished or innocence might escape. WARREN HASTINGS was born in 1732, at Daylesford, or at Churchill, in Oxfordshire ; but such is the obscurity of his early years that it is not known which. An antiquarian of the family had fancifully traced their pedigree to HASTINGS the Dane.; and more credible records show that they were distinguished under the Plantagenets, both for rank and possessions. The branch from which WARREN HASTINGS descended was, however, nearly ruined by the civil wars; and iniprovidence, or that negligence in pecuniary matters which distinguished HASTINGS himself; completed their downfal. In 1715, Daylesford, the last remnant of their posses- sions, was sold by the great-grandfather of WARREN; and his grandfather was left with no other source of income than the scanty church-living of the parish his ancestors had owned. This was further diminished by a lawsuit about tithes : utterly ruined, he was compelled to resign the living, and accept the curacy of Churchill, when his grandson the future Governor-General was about two years old. The father of HASTINGS was a scamp, about whom his son would never converse willingly. All that is known respecting him is, that he married at fifteen, and, by means now utterly incomprehensible, contrived to support himself and his wife for two years ; when she died, a few days after giving birth to WARREN: and the widower soon after went to the West Indies, whence he never returned.
Abandoned to the care of his grandfather, WARREN was sent to a "foundation or charity-school, which still exista," in the village of Churchill; and he remained there till he was eight years old, when he was taken by his uncle HOWARD, his father's elder brother, who had got a situation in the Customs. Of his village career little has been preserved, except that, in the language of the village pa- triarchs, he "took his laming kindly," and indulged even at that early age in reminiscences of the foregone greatness of his family and in day-dreams for restoring it. "He began early to inquire both into the deeds of his forefathers, and into the causes which had producedhis own degradation ; and he would listen by the hour together to any one who would talk to him of the munificence of the former proprietors of Daylesford, and the respect in which people held them. There is a small stream or brook, which, skirting the hill along which Churchill is built, falls, after passing Cornwall, the seat of another branch of the Hastings family, into the Evenlode, and with its new parent is finally absorbed by the Isis, near Cotswold. To lie beside the margin of that stream and muse, was,' said Mr. Hastings to a friend who was frequently his guest, after the termination of his persecutions, 'one of my favourite recreations ; and there, one bright Summer's day, when I was scarcely seven years old, I well remember that I first formed the determination to purchase back Daylesford. I was then literally dependent upon those whose condition scarcely raised them above the pressure of abso- lute want ; yet, somehow or another, the child's dream, as it did not appear unreasonable at the moment, so in after years it never faded away. God knows, there were periods in my career, when to accomplish that, or any other object of honourabk ambition, seemed to be impossible : but I have lived to accomplish it." Removed to London by his uncle HOWARD, he was first sent to a school at Newington Butts.
"His master is said to have been a good one, but Hastings himself never
referred to the period of his sojourn in that school with any degree of pleasure. He complained that the boys were half-starved; and attributed the delicacy of his own constitution, and his stunted growth, in a great measure to the wretched feeding at this seminary. He did not remain there, however, more than two years ere he was transferred to Westminster ; to win the honours of which, and to be elected on the foundation, became immediately the object of his ambition. It chanced that there were among his contemporaries some of the cleverest lads of which Westminster had for many years been able to boast— such as Lord Shelburne, Sir Elijah Impey, Cowper the poet, and others ; the whole of whom, by the way, were his seniors in point of age, some of them 1:17 not less than two years. Yet, nothing daunted by his acquaintance with their powers, he became an intense student ; insomuch as well nigh to break down a frame delicate from the first, and now more than ever fragile. The result was, however, that when the season of trial came round, his triumph was com- plete. He was elected on the foundation, at the head of all his competitors, in the year 1747 ; and had, in consequence, his name engraved in golden characters
on the wall of the dormitory, where it may still be seen." * * *
" Hastings had been a King's scholar at Westminster three years, and the greatest expectations were formed of his success at the University, when an event befel which gave a totally novel turn to all his prospects. His kind uncle Howard died, bequeathing him to the care of a Mr. Chiswick, on whom be hail by relationship slender dahlia, and who does not seem to have overrated their importance. life seems to have done as much as most men would have done:] I believe that the connexion between them took its rise from the marriage of Mr. Hastings's great-grandfather with a lady of Mr. Chiswick's family ; but how far their blood fficl or did not flow from a common fountain, I do not know. It is certain, however, that Mr. Chiswick at once determined that Warren should not go on with his classical studies, and that Dr. Nichols, then head-master of the school, was informed of the determina- tion. What!' exclaimed the Doctor, when his favourite pupil announced to him his purpose of withdrawing from the school, 'lose Warren Hastings! lose the best scholar of his year ! That will never do at all. If the want of means to keep you here—ay, and at college too—be the only hindrance, we can easily remove that. You shall go on with your education at my charges. I cannot afford to lose the reputation which I am sure to obtain through you.' "The proposal, most delicately made, was alike honourable to the master and his pupil but it could not be acceded to. For a few months longer Hastings remained where he was; but his new guardian eventually withdrew him. Being in the direction of the East India Company, Mr. Chiswick deter- mined to send his ward in the capacity of a writer to Bengal ; and, to fit him for the situation, he placed him for a time under the tuition of Mr. Smith, the teacher of writing and accounts at Christ's Hospital. This was in 1749; on the 14th November, in which year he signed his petition for the proffered ap- pointment. It was acceded to immediately ; and in the month of January 1750, after fitting himself out as well as his slender finances would allow, Warren Hastings set sail on board the London East Indiaman for the place of his destination at Calcutta."
The routine duties of a "writer," or junior clerk of the Com- pany, when the Company was only a body of traders, do not admit of much variety ; and for the first five years of the Indian life of WARREN HASTINGS, neither tradition nor documents preserve any account, if any were worth preserving. In 1755 he was nominated to a seat in the Council of the Factory at Cossimbazar, a sub- ordinate commercial station ; and shortly afterwards came the out- break of the Nabob SURAJ-IID DOWLAH ; his capture of Calcutta ; the murders of the Black Hole ; the arrival of CLIVE with troops from Madras, together with the negotiations and intrigues which led to the battle of Plessey, the death of the Nabob, and the establishment of our territorial power. In these affairs HASTINGS bore a part, though a slender and subordinate one. Taken prisoner before the outrages at Calcutta, and sent to Moorsheda- bad, he was directed to furnish such information as he could collect : and to this correspondence, he says in a memorandum which has been preserved, "I owe my first consequence in the service." He was soon after engaged in a sort of negotiation about eatables with the Nabob ; which he managed with discretion, and with touches of that resolute independence of superiors that was afterwards his characteristic. After Cmvs's arrival, he bore apart in military matters, carrying a firelock as a volunteer; and, in con- junction with AMYAT, was employed by Clive in a larger negotia- tion than for a supply of provisions to a set of clerkly runaways. It was during this period of his life that his first marriage took place, with an officer's widow of the name of CAMPBELL. But the same obscurity hangs over this as over the other parts of his early life. It is only known that his first wife died early, having borne him two children, a son and a daughter. The daughter died within three weeks of its birth ; the son lived long enough to be sent to England for education, but died before his father's return,—an event which was deeply felt by HAerrsios, and is said to have de- pressed his powers for some time and his spirits for many years. On the final settlement of affairs in Bengal, HASTINGS was ap- pointed, through CLIVE, to the situation of Resident at Moorsheda- bad. Here, besides attention to the troublesome and delicate business of his post, be discovered that the title of the English to their territory was formally defective, being valid only for the life of MEER JAFTIER, the new Nabob, instead of for perpe- tuity; and this defect he was the means of getting supplied. On the departure of CLIVE, HASTINGS bore a part in the distrac- tions, violence, and revolutions which followed during that dark four years of Indian history, first as Resident, then as member of the Council : and during the whole time he appears to have conducted himself like a politician, amid the vulgar and mercenary adventurers by whom almost every post was filled ; sup- porting the Governor against a majority who opposed him from personal or factious motives, counselling moderate and decent courses as long as possible, but carrying out to the best of his power whatever line of action was finally resolved on. Whether his politics were not even then of an unscrupulous kind, may be questioned ; but to give up any thing which he could keep, was not a principle of action with WARREN HASTINGS.
In 1764, he resigned his seat as a member of the Council, and returned to England, comparatively a poor man. But he was liberal with what he had. He made his sister a present of 1,0001., and allowed an aunt an annuity of 2001.; though, before his second departure for India, he was obliged to borrow the money to pay it, as well as to provide his own outfit. It is conjectured that his narrow or embarrassed circumstances doomed him to seclusion during the time he remained in England. Some have asserted that in this interval of obscurity he cultivated literature as a pur- suit: those who deem this statement derogatory to a Governor- General, think they meet it by declaring, with the minuteness of an affidavit, "Mr. Hastings never printed or published any treatise, or poem, or essay, except at a pecuniary loss to himself." He did propose to establish a Professorship of Persian in a college to be founded by the East India Company, and to procure the Professors from India ; but not, as has been said, to fill it himself. During this period, too, he made the acquaintance of Dr. Joinssos ; with
whom he seems to have been on terms of some intimacy. His only recorded public appearance was to give evidence to the House of Commons on Indian affairs, in the inquiry of 1766. His views on this occasion are said to have attracted the attention of the Minis- ter and the Court of Directors, and to have facilitated his return
to the service. If it were so, they took a long time to consider the matter ; for it was not till March 1769 that WARREN HASTINGS left England with the appointment of second in the Council of
Madras. • It was during his second voyage to India that the acquaintance was formed with his second wife, under circumstances that gave some colour to BIIB.K.E'S phrase, " Mrs. Hastings and her para- mour." As the matter is one of delicacy, it will be better to pre- sent the reader with the most favourable version, interspersed with the reflections of a sound divine on divorce and the tender passion.
" Mr. Hastings found among his fellow-passengers in the Duke of Grafton, two individuals, with whom he soon entered into terms of familiar intercourse.
These were, Baron Adam Carl Imhoff, a native of Franconia, in Germany-..a man of good family, though reduced in his circumstances, who was going out to Madras for the purpose of following there the profession of a portrait-painter; and his lady—a person of singularly attractive manners, of a very engaging
figure, and a mind highly cultivated. It was not my good fortune to become acquainted with Mrs. Hastings till the last shadows of old age had fallen upois
her ; and we are seldom able to determine with accuracy, if we see them for the first time in so dim a light, how either men or women may have comported themselves when they were young. Yet I can testify, that even then she was no ordinary woman ; while they who knew her better, and had other and more extensive opportunities of judging, assure me, that long after she had passed the period of middle life, she was altogether fascinating. It so happened, that between this gifted young person and her husband there was no conformity
at all either of tastes or of disposition. On neither side, I believe, could any grievous faults be charged, and he, especially, in his own rude way, was kind to
her; but their union was one of those against which Nature vehemently pro- tests, and which are never contracted without entailing on the ill-fated pair long years of discomfort, if not of positive misery.. Let me not, however, linger over a subject, even to glance at which necessarily involves both the reader and the writer in difficulties. If persons circumstanced as were the Baron and Baroness Imhoff are permitted to pass through life without encountering those towards whom the deeper springs of their affections are instinctively attracted,
it is well for them. They may never know what happiness is, but, at least, they will escape its opposite. Should the contrary fate be theirs, then more than human strength is necessary to hinder them from yielding to an impulse which must of necessity render the cup of their domestic existence more bitter than ever. Strong principle and a just sense of religion will, indeed, save them from crime ; but wo to the heart into which the iron has fairly entered—there is no chance of rest or peace for it except in the grave..
" Between the Baroness Lnhoff, such as 1 have described her, the wife of one whom she had never loved, and Mr. Hastings, one of the most fascinating
as well as chivalrous men of his day, it would have been strange if a friendship
had failed to arise, which gradually, and to themselves perhaps unconsciously, took from day to day a deeper colouring; for she discovered in him all the qualities, the absence of which hindered her from giving her heart where she
had bestowed her hand, while he found in her more than the realization of the brightest dream which his imagination had ever ventured to form. Moreover,
as if it had been God's will to try the strength of their principles to the utmost,
Mr. Hastings was seized with a dangerous illness during the voyage ; through- out the whole of which she nursed him with a sister's care, watching by his-
bedside often when he knew it not, and administering to him all his medicines
with her own hand. I repeat, that I never heard so much as an insinuation hurtful to the honour of either party. They were both too high-minded to
inflict on a husband an injury which never can be repaired; but they were not
firm enough to hold out against the strong temptation which the laws of Pro- testant Germany, in reference to the marriage-contract, cast in their way. Mr.
and Mrs. Imhoff lived together with good repute a whole year in Madras. They acted upon the same wise and judicious plan after they followed Mr. Hastings to Bengal. Yet all this while a suit was going forward in the proper.
courts of Franconia for a divorce. The divorce was obtained, after mach de- lay; the Baroness Imhoff became Mrs. Hastings ; and the Baron returned to his native country, a richer man than he ever could have hoped to become by the mere exercise of his skill as a painter."
The public labours of WARREN HASTINGS at Madras were chiefly confined to an entire revision and reform of the mode of making the Company's trading investments ; which, however important in a financial point of view, as being the principal source of the Pro. prietors' dividends, would require a greater space to make intel- ligible than can be devoted to it in this notice. His conduct, how- ever, gave so much satisfaction to the Directors, that in 1771 he- was appointed as second in Council at Bengal, with a succession- to the Presidentship on the retirement of Mr. CARTIER, which very soon followed.
The results of WARREN HASTINGS' Indian administration, first as President and then as Governor-General of Bengal, together with- his subsequent impeachment, embrace so many extensive and com- plicated transactions, both public and personal, that nothing more than a slight outline can be attempted here. Even for this pur- pose, chronological arrangement must be thrown aside, and the subject considered under its broad divisions of-1. Civil and finan- cial government ; 2. Military exploits.; 3. Internal difficulties springing from his Council and the squabbles and contentions at home ; 4. The qUestions connected with the impeachment. 1. The mode of rule which CLIVE established left the nominal( power and all the administration in the hands of the natives as a screen to the Company both against Indian and European powers: and this principle seems not only to have been politic at that period, but has been since followed out in a modified form with re- gard to all new acquisitions. It was soon found, however, that great practical evils arose : the native fiscal agents oppressed the people, and defrauded the Company, who could not reach them directly : it soon became apparent that the real power was with the English, so that the authority of the native officers was in all cases diminished, and, where any one connected with the English was con- cerned, pretty well set at nought, as it was known no proceedings would be taken without their concurrence ; till at last there was
scarcely justice or security in their provinces. These evils, insepar- able perhaps from the "double government," were aggravated by the corruption and selfishness of the Company's servants. The mere misrule of the natives might have been a long time in reach- ing the Directors and exciting their attention ; but the pecuniary evil, the disappointment of their golden dreams, was immediately felt; and in 1771 the Company determined, in the words of their own despatch, to stand forth as " Dewan," and assume the govern- ment.
This *change, which, as Mrs, observes, was equivalent to a revo- lution, they imposed upon HASTINGS: and in a comparatively short time he established two distinct departnients, or rather institu- tions—one for the collection of the revenue, one for the adminis- tration of justice. His system of finance did not fully answer expectation as regards profit, and was subsequently modified; but both plans were so consonant to the customs of the country and the genius of the people, that Mr. Wilson states they are still the basis of the fiscal and judicial administration. Great credit is also awarded him by his admirers for his administration of the finances ; which he found in embarrassment and left in order, besides sus- taining the heavy drain of wars undertaken by the Governments of Madras and Bombay. This praise, however, is somewhat exagge- rated: when he succeeded to the government, in 1772, there was a surplus revenue of 668,0001.; when he left it, in 1785, the surplus had increased to 1,002,0001., including the territorial additions. On the other hand, the debt had swollen from 14,700,000/. in 1772, to 27,148,0001. in 1785; the interest on which more than balanced the surplus. The wars in which he was involved may fairly account for this ; but it must not be forgotten that he raised money by means far more questionable than borrowing. Connected with the civil administration, are his inquiries into the productions of the country, and the language, laws, and insti- tutions of the people. Before his time, the majority of the Com- pany's servants were narrowminded and avaricious, looking at the country and all that was in it only as a means of•making money. The few who might have had a more liberal curiosity were in- volved in the vortex of revolutions, and remained too short a time to study the mysteries around them. By the patronage of WAR- REN HASTINGS, several valuable translations of Hindoo letters were made ; the first race of Hindoo scholars were formed by his en- couragement; nor did he confine his attention to his own territory, but when an accidental opportunity offered, he despatched a mission to the Grand Lama of Thibet, ostensibly as an embassy of compliment, but in reality to survey the country. 2. In the conduct of his own government, he kept the military, so far as he could, in proper subordination to the civil power ; and it seems to have been his policy to avoid direct wars himself, as much as might be ; urging them in conjunction with or under the name of his allies, whom he furnished with troops and saddled with the greater part of the expenses. In danger,—for instance, during the outbreak consequent upon Carat. SING'S arrest,—he not only displayed personal courage, but retained the possession of his men- tal powers as completely as in a position of perfect safety. Nor was he deficient in large and bold views of strategy,—as when he marched an army across India through lukewarm or hostile pro- vinces to the assistance of the Bombay Government ; a thing sup- posed by the natives to be impossible, and which impressed them with a deeper awe of the British power than any mere battle. His energy and promptness were almost Napoleonic,.—as when he despatched COOTS to Madras to repel HYDEB Au from the Carnatic.
3. Some preliminary remark is necessary to understand the dis- putes in which he was involved with his Council. The violence, revolutions, and extortions which followed the departure of CLIVE from India, and perhaps the envy with which the aristocracy at home regarded the dazzling display of newly-acquired wealth by mere adventurers—" the importation of Nabobs," as BURGOYNE expressed it—gave rise to various Parliamentary inquiries. These ended in the passing of an act, in 1773, which created the Presi- dent of Bengal Governor-General, vested the government in him and a Council, and extended their power to the other Presi- dencies, hitherto independent. Under this act, WARREN HASTINGS was nominated for five years, only removable by the Crown on the address of the East India Company ; and three Councillors— General CLAVERING, Colonel MONSON, and the celebrated PUMP FRANCIS, a candidate for the authorship of the Letters of Junius, were appointed with him. It is said in the volumes before us, which evidently represent the opinions of HASTINGS and his friends, that the object of the Minister was to embroil the affairs of India, and reduce them to the brink of ruin, in order to have an excuse for depriving the Company of their territorial power and vesting the patronage in the Crown; and that the Councillors *ere appointed for this purpose, with an understanding that they were to thwart HASTINGS in every way, if not with instructions to that effect. Be this as it may, they had no sooner arrived at Cal- cutta, than they began, the second day of their meeting, by a reso- lution blaming the Robilla war ; they wrote home to the Directors Official censures on the Governor's proceedings, and criminatory accusations against him; they displaced his confidential agents, and substituted creatures of their own; they held levees where the ene- mies of the Governor-General were welcomed and caressed ; and they greedily received, if they did not solicit, charges against him. In the Council, they opposed every measure be brought forward— and effectively, as be had only one old colleague to vote with him. The Directors at home supported the views of the majority of the Council; the Ministry favoured their proceedings by intrigues; the King was publicly known to be partial to General CLAVERING; and a Parliamentary party was opposed to HASTINGS. Some thoughts of abandoning the Government to CLAYERING, and thus risking, as he said, the loss of India, occasionally flitted through his mind ; but this feeling was temporary. He carried on the administration of affairs as well as he could; refusing to resign— and he could- not be displaced, for though the Directors carried a resolution for his removal by one, he had a majority of 106 in the Court of Proprietors. At last, after several years of this anxious and harassing warfare, CLAVERING and Morison died, and FaAncis returning to Europe, WARREN HASTINGS again became supreme in the Government.
Connected with this schism is a matter of personal charge against HASTINGS, of which the secret history is unfolded in the biography before us. Whilst the contest was going on at home to deprive him of the Government, his agent, a Colonel MACLEANE, appeared before the Directors, and stated that he was authorized by Mr. HASTINGS to tender his resignation ; but as the letter contained private matters, he did not wish to produce it to the whole Court. A de- putation of three was accordingly appointed to examine the docu- ment; when one of them doubted whether it gave MACLEANE suffi- cient authority, but the two Chairs clutched at the offer—. de- spatches were sent out, and a successor appointed. In the interim, however, Colonel MONSON had died, and HASTINGS, having re- covered the ascendancy in the Council by means of his own casting- vote, refused to vacate the government ; and, according to MILL, a civil war might have been the result, but that CLAVERING and FRANCIS found the Anglo-Indian influence of HASTINGS too strong for them, and succumbed. This is the historical version of the matter : in the volumes before us we have the original letters ; froin which it appears that HASTINGS wrote a second letter revoking his authority to resign, and that the whole affair, which looks publicly a piece of naked folly or misconception, was a long-negotiated matter by MACLEANE and the friends of NAsTINGs on one side and the Ministry and Directors on the other. The letters of MACLEANB to HASTINGS, minutely narrating every step of the affair, form one of the most curious parts of the work. Such a scene of trafficking and corruption! Not a pretence of public principle throughout : not even a trace of party purpose : but the interest of private persons alone stipulated for, and at last reduced to five heads, with all the formality of a public treaty, with a more than diplo- matic formality in the "double seals." "1. That such servants of the Company as had been displaced for attach- ment to Mr. Hastings be restored ; but, as it is not intended to lay any diffi- culty on Administration, the specific offices will not be insisted on, only ade- quate offices.
"(John Stewart, Playdell, Nat. Middleton, and Fred. Stuart, were named under this bead.) "2. That some mark of favour from Government be conferred on such Black servants as have been dismissed for the same cause, that they may not appear disgraced in the eyes of the natives. " (Rajals-Bullub, Cumaul o'Din, Deleel Roy, and Gongs Govind-Sing, were specified by name.) "3. That Mr. Hastings's friends shall on all occasions receive promotion and favour adequate to their rank in the service and merit ; and this to be a point of honour binding on the majority.
"4. That all retrospect and prosecution prior to the late act of Parliament appointing the Supreme Council cease and determine ; and in case any in- former infringe this article, Administration shall give their aid to quash and de- feat it.
"5. That Mr. Hastings shall be well received on his return, vote of thanks promoted if moved for, and nobody to be displaced.
"Mr. Robinson (Lord North's Secretary) observed the necessity of keep- ing these articles secret, lest Opposition should get hold of them, and attack Lord North in Parliament for collusion, and for stipulations which he could not come to legally. For this reason, he said, it would be necessary to put os- tensible answers opposite each head, and then the paper might be sealed up under both our seals. What he meant should make no difference in the es- sence; for he pledged himself that the entire secret aid and influence of Govern-. meat should be honourably exerted to fulfil the letter and spirit of the agree- ment.' I agreed to this, there being a witness present, without hesitation. The paper 1 will transmit to you if it takes place; but as I have heard nothing of it since, and as the Parliament has been met some time without the men- tion of Indian affairs, and with a stronger majority to support Lord North than he has had since he was a Minister, I imagine they do not think this comment necessary. The proposed alteration on the margin was that where I said, Government shall support,' they said, 'if the Directors do this, Govern- ment will not oppose,' and other similar alterations, or rather terms of assent.
"Matters being thus settled, secrecy was enjoined in the strongest terms. I stipulated for leave to inform Mr. Sykes and Mr. Sumner, that the gentlemen from India might know the care that bad been taken to free them and their friends from vexation. The secret has been wonderfully kept, and Opposition are in despair that they can find no plausible ground or handle for attacking what has been done."—Madeanes Letter, 10th November 1776.
In consequence of all this, MACLEAN& presented himself to the seemingly unconscious Directors with the offer of resignation ; but as soon as it was gotten, Ministers broke faith with the HASTINGS party, by giving General CLAvsainG the Order 9f the Bath. Two despatches were therefore immediately sent out to HASTINGS by his two managers ; of which we quote the shortest.
•• Portsmouth, 13th November MS.
"My dear Sir—Although the letter you receive in Stewart's hand contains our joint sentiments relative to General Clavering's riband, yet I cannot be contented without once more stating our sense of this matter, in concise terms, with precision. I therefore entreat, 'that you deliver no opinion upon what has been done here till you bear from me again ; for I look upon the honour conferred on General Clavering as so direct a breach of the spirit of the com- promise, that unless an adequate honour is conferred on you, you ought not to resign. And it is further my opinion, that your taking this step will be so far from reflecting dishonour either on you or me, that it is the only measure which can save us both from appearing in the light of dupes.' I am, my dear Sir, with unalterable affection, your most devoted and faithful humble servant, "S. MACLEANE.
"I approve most heartily, and think it necessary for your complete satisfac- tion, as his reputation is as much connected with every part of this business as
your own. "J. S."
Such is the way in which some men look at the affairs of nations "a riband" outweighing England and India ! It should be said in justice to HASTINGS, that such miserable objects do not appear to have influenced his conduct.
4. But the most conspicuous if not the most important part of the Indian administration as well as of the life of Mimeos, is the matter which led to his impeachment, or rather the impeach- ment itself. It is of course impossible in a weekly journal to give any thing like a narrative of this remarkable trial, which, commencing in February 1788, continued till April 1795, and forms one of the most august ceremonials and oratorical and legal displays that the world has ever seen. But we will endeavour to possess
the reader with the pith of the case. The charges of the Commons were many, and some of them vague, some trivial ; but the gist of the accusation may be included under five heads,—first, the spoliation of the Mogul ; second, the Rohilla war ; third, the deposition of the Rajah of Benares ; fourth, the robbery of the Begums, with the torture of their officers ; fifth, pecuniary corrup- tion.
The spoliation of the Mogul. (1773.) By the treaty of Allahabad, Crave restored to the Mogul from the wrecks of his empire the provinces of Allahabad and Corah. He also charged our newly-
acquired territories with an annual pension of twenty-six lacs of rupees in return for a formal investiture ; which, though not of much real value as regarded power, was deemed highly important in opinion and law. Crave, however, declined marching to Delhi to restore the Emperor to his capital ; and each succeeding Government down to that of HASTINGS was equally uncomplying. Foiled in his strongest wish, the Mogul negotiated with the Mahrattas ; who certainly carried him to Delhi, but when they got there, treated him as a state-puppet. So clearly was this understood, that when the Mo- gul issued an order directing Corah and Allahabad to be deli- vered over to the Mahrattas, his own officers refused compliance, and placed the provinces under the protection of the English. The frontiers, however, were distant, and difficult and expensive to defend : so HASTINGS sold the territories to his old friend the Nabob of Oude, for fifty lacs, and applied the sponge to the Mogul's pension, announcing in terms that it should be paid no longer.
The Rohilla war. (1773-4.) The Rohillas were originally a band of Afghan adventurer; who had established themselves as a dominant race in the district of Rohilcund, adjacent to the territory of our ally the Nabob of Oude. Upon this district the Nabob had long cast a wishful eye ; but as the Rohillas were brave and warlike, he was too weak to dispossess them himself. He therefore bargained with HASTINGS to pay the Company forty lacs of rupees — about 400,000/.—for the assistance of an army, which he was also to maintain ; and with which he destroyed or expelled the Rohillas. For this war the British had not a shadow of plea: the only pretence was that the Rohillas were unable to protect the country against the Mahrattas—which is more than questionable : the only ground the Nabob could allege was, that the Rohillas refused to pay him money promised on the condition that he expelled the Mahrattas- which condition he had not fulfilled. The war was conducted with great severity and cruelty by the Vizier's troops : against which the British commander in vain protested ; and when he applied to the Governor, HASTINGS refused to interfere fur- ther than by remonstrance' on the ground of the Nabob's inde- pendence as a sovereign. Had money instead of humanity been at stake, WARREN HASTINGS would not have displayed so much punctilio. The deposition of he Rajah of Benares. (1781.) This person- age, according to the opponents of HASTINGS, was a sovereign prince ; the Governor-General asserted that he was only a zemindar or great tax-collector. He was, at all events, an hereditary ruler; the amount of whose tribute had been fixed by treaty, which had also stipulated that it should never be exceeded. But the Indian Govern- ment was involved in wars with an empty treasury ; the Rajah was reputed to be immensely rich ; he was also suspected of the enor- mous offence, in the eyes of HASTINGS, of having sent an agent to his rivals in the government. He therefore determined to mulct the Rajah, Coen SING. Under the plea that a vassal was bound to assist his superior, he called upon the Rajah for an increased contribution in money—which was paid; and then for a heavier in the shape of a military force. CHEIT SING offered part of the number demanded; but pleading poverty, endeavoured by diplo- matic arts to get the remainder remitted. This delay HASTINGS treated as evidence of disaffection, and as a high offence. Rejecting the proposals of the terrified Rajah, he yet received from him a pri- vate present of 20,0001.; which he advanced or applied to the public service, (for the mode was so equivocal that it might be represented either way as the future might require,) and then set out for Benares determined to spoil its ruler. Owing to accidental circum- stances, which it were long to relate distinctly, an outbreak of the mob took place ; the Rajah fled, or rather escaped from his capital : the life of the Governor-General was in great jeopardy ; from which be was only saved by the disorganization of the rabble, and his own firmness. Turning this accident into a planned rebellion, he waged war against the Rajah, and deposed him ; attacked the re- fuge of his female relations, under the plea that it contained the Rajah's treasures; but when the place was surrendered, the soldiery, officers as well as men, on the strength of a phrase in a letter of HASTINGS, set discipline at defiance and plundered the place ; so that, after all, he lost the great object of his journey. The robbery of the Begums. (1781-2.) These Princesses were the mother and grandmother of the young Nabob of Oude,
whose father was the purchaser of Corah and Allahabad and the instigator of the Rohilla war. Contrary to the distribution of the Mahometan law, the Princesses had retained the old Nabob's trea-
sures after his death, on the authority of a will, which was said to be forged. However, they had the right of possession ; and to one
of them the public faith of the English had been pledged to uphold her against the young Nabob's attempts upon her property. But the necessities of the Government and the disappointment at Benares turned the thoughts of HASTINGS towards this source of supply. In an interview held between the Governor-General and the Nabob, it was agreed that the Begums should be despoiled of their treasures ; with which the Nabob should pay his debts to the Company, whilst he should also resume certain jaghires or dis- trict revenues held by the Begums; the after-pretence for these
actions being, that the old ladies confined to the harem, had in- cited and assisted the Rajah of? Benares in his designs against the British. As it was supposed that the Begums would not willingly part with their money, whilst it would be too great an outrage to public opinion to offer personal violence to women of
their standing, the town only where they resided was entered by force, and their confidential servants, two eunuchs of high rank
and advanced age, were seized upon, in hopes to extort from the
compassion of the Princesses the ransom of their officers. At first they were merely arrested ; but when this was found unavailing,
they were imprisoned, ironed, beaten, starved, and, it is said, tor- tured in secret—at all events, an officer of the Nabob was ad- mitted in secret ; till at last their " obstinacy " gave way, and the money was extorted. And this was by the express directions of
HASTINGS; for his orders overrode the compassion of the Indian and English authorities on the spot, from the Nabob and the Re-
sident down to the Sepoy. Such is the outline of the facts : if any one wish for a commentary, he may refer to the volume before us ; where he will find, inter alia, this justification of the matter- " Neither by threats nor by entreaties could these men [tbe eunuchs] be prevailed upon to write such a letter as should insure the surrender of the coveted treasure. They were therefore subjected, according to Eastern
to torture—that is to say, food was refused to them, and they were loaded with irons. Now it would be vain to deny that such a proceeding was both harsh in itself and at variance with all our notions of humanity and of law.
To compel men by the fear of starvation to disgorge their wealth, even if it be needed for the uses of the state, is indeed a refinement in seventy, of which we
know nothing : yet the practice was then as common in India as arrest for debt used to be among ourselves, and in cases similar to that of the Begums' Ministers it was to the full as rational. For if a man be unable to satisfy his
creditors while at large, he is surely not in a better plight for doing BO after he
shall have been shut up in prison ; whereas, the prospect of a lingering death by hunger can hardly fail of subduing the firmness of the most obstinate, in- asmuch as wealth becomes worthless, even in the miser's eyes, if such be the sole condition on which he is permitted to retain it. Accordingly, the eunuchs had not suffered long ere thew resolution gave way ; the necessary order for a
payment was issued ; and within a day or two of the application of this disci- pline, [the secret torture,] Mr. Middleton was put in possession of treasure sufficient to cover the arrears that were due from the Vizier to the Company up to the close of the year 1780."
Pecuniary corruption. The more candid friends of HASTINGS admit, in effect if not in terms, that he employed the public money
in a profuse expenditure to extend his influence, or in plain English to buy supporters. The defence set up for this is, that HASTINGS was without rank or connexions, and was opposed by a powerful party in India, in the Directory, in Parliament, and for a time at Court ; that the age in which he lived was very corrupt, and that the system of Indian expenditure was lavish in the highest degree. The scale on which he proceeded may be judged of by a single instance, though no doubt an extreme one. The son of Mr. SUL- LIVAN, the Chairman of the Directors, was holding a plurality of offices under HASTINGS; and to this young man the Governor- General gave a contract, which he could not from his official situation execute himself, nor was it ever intended that he should.
?he terms of this contract were, however, so liberal, that he sold it for 40,0001,; the purchaser did not or could not undertake it, and resold it for 60,000/.; and after all, the individual who executed the contract admitted that he reaped a handsome profit.
The personal corruption of HASTINGS has not been distinctly proved, but there are strong grounds for suspicion upon this point.
We have seen the secret receipt of 20,000/. from the Rajah of Benares, carried to the public service in such a way that he might either claim it as his own money advanced upon loan, or avow the
real transaction : there are other analogous cases and neither a clear account' nor an explanation was ever rendered of his private means, whilst it is pretty generally admitted that Mrs. Manaus received large sums from suitors. The subject, however' has been involved in mystery, whether deserved or not, and a deep stain cast upon the memory of HASTINGS in consequence of the execution of NuNcosten—ostensibly for felony, but it is alleged by the opponents of HASTINGS, in order to remove a witness against his corruption. The facts are these. Nur:comes was a native of high rank, of great abilities, but of bad character ; and was employed or discountenanced by the Government as it suited their purposes. When the majority of the Council, with CLAVERING at their head, were receiving accusations against HASTINGS, NUNCOMAR came forward with specific charges of corruption. The charges were probably false, though the Council voted them proved, as indeed they were upon the evidence; and NUNCOMAS was busied in collecting more, when he was arrested, tried for forgery, found guilty, and hanged. With the accusation HASTINGS most probably had nothing to do, because it was of some standing; but he might have urged it forward at that particular time. On the trial, there was much conflicting evidence ; but 011 the trial no charge can be founded, for it took place in open court,
and the Jury pronounced a verdict of "guilty." It is the execu- tion which stamps Sir ELIJAH Ismer, the friend and instrument if not the tool of HASTINGS, as guilty of a judicial murder. Neither by the Hindoo nor the Mahometan law was forgery punishable with death ; the forgery was committed, if committed at all, before the act passed which established our criminal law in Calcutta ; and it was only by a forced construction that the law making forgery death was extended to India, or Noncoms'', rendered amenable to any of our laws. Yet, in despite of his ignorance of the penalty of his offence, in despite of the doubt of the power of
the Court to execute him, and though the law itself was clearly ex post facto, he was executed without delay. The guilt of this
crime cannot be brought home to HASTINGS • no agency, in the legal phrase, was ever traced to him—perhaps ;he management was too cautious for it ever to exist in a tangible shape ; but he reaped the profit of the deed, by the removal of his accuser and the silencing of all other accusations. The perpetration of the judicial murder is chargeable upon Sir ELIJAH IMPEY—he pronounced sen- tence, and he alone could have respited it : upon him must rest the infamy of the act ; except so far as WILLIAM Prrr is entitled to share it as his protector, for he it was who saved the iniquitous judge from impeachment by the Commons.
On all these charges, HASTINGS, we think, was guilty. The cha- racter of his offences will differ according as he is judged by the
unalterable principles of justice, or by the laws which regulate the conduct of politicians, and the opinion which the people, who suffer by their crimes, form of their conduct. In any point of view, it may be questioned whether he was greatly censurable for his sale of Corah and Allahabad, or his retention of the pen- sion. The Mogul was clearly a puppet : to have given up the pro- vinces or the money to him, were to have given them to the Mah- rattas, who had no more right to them than had the British or the Nabob, and who would most likely have used them to our injury. The Rohilla war was a great crime in its conception ; carried into effect under circumstances of great cruelty and atrocity, which HASTINGS could have prevented had he chosen, and which he would not interfere to stop when his own commander appealed to him in horror and disgust. Whatever be the proper punishment of unjust war cruelly waged, that punishment was deserved by WARREN HASTINGS. Abstractedly, however, it would be very difficult to get a ruling power with hands clean enough to have tried him ; and practically, it may be a question whether the nation was not an accessory after the fact. The East India Company, though censuring the injustice of the war, pocketed its suits : the Commons, five years after the transaction, thrice con- firmed HASTINGS in his office, by three successive acts of Parlia- ment; and, though they passed resolutions against him in 1782, took no steps to punish or remove him by impeachment, till after lie had voluntarily resigned. On the deposition of CHEIT SING and the robbery of the Begums, the verdict of the Lords, it appears to
ms, should have been "guilty." Personal corruption was scarcely proved: the corrupt application of the public money to advance his .own influence is too common an offence for one man to be singled
out, with any justice, to be punished for it. In many cases this corruption was for general objects,—as when he coaxed COOTE to be practicable, by granting him an allowance of 18,0001. a year, or bribed IMPEY, by an office of 8,000/. per annum, to refrain from distracting the native population and risking a civil contention through enforcing the rigid formalities of English law. The failure of the impeachment may be attributed to many causes. Political feelings, party and courtly influence, as well as the leaning of the Peers in favour of upholding authority, would have great weight. The lenity with which all mankind regard state offences, was sure to be experienced in an increased degree
by a body like the Lords' whilst men in their station could not
avoid feeling, that when the Government at home had lost Ame- rica, united the whole of Europe against England, and reduced the country to the brink of ruin, WARREN ILtarnsGs had upheld her interests, and her success at all events, in the East. One cause of failure may be -assigned to the intemperate zeal and unskil- fulness of the managers of the impeachment in overlaying their case. The minute and sometimes frivolous charges gave a vexa- tious air to the proceedings, and seemed to warrant the technical arts of legal chicanery to which the counsel of the accused resorted, and to which the House of Lords willingly lent themselves. An- other cause is to be found in the rhetorical exaggerations of the managers, and in the fervid and sometimes almost frenzied denun- ciations of BURKE ; for though the public indignation was roused at first, yet when the matter was brought to the proof, and the in- carnate dremon of crime and cruelty sunk into a bold, ambitious, and unscrupulous ruler, a corresponding lassitude, if not a revulsion, followed. Lastly, the constitution and practice of the court had no small influence in enabling HASTINGS to escape : a numerous tri- bunal, fluctuating by deaths, new creations, and successions, which spins out a trial to nine years, by brief sittings of only two or three hours a day, by frequent adjournments, and by long sessional inter- vals, is greatly favourable to the accused.
Here are reasons enough for escape without implying innocence : yet the friends of HASTINGS not only boast of his acquittal, but picture those who aided in impeaching him as guilty persons,—as if no one should be accused unless his legal conviction is matter of assurance. But to the prosecutors of HASTINGS, whatever were their motives, humanity is deeply indebted. His trial read a lesson to colonial rulers, which has not been barren of effect. The lofty morality and burning eloquence of the great managers of the im- peachment have not merely checked delinquency, but have formed
a public opinion, an ethical standard as to the treatment of de- pendent peoples and inferior races, which operates instinctively upon all Englishmen who are brought in contact with them. For the conduct of HASTINGS his friends have alleged the necessities of his position. The overwhelming force of necessity must be admitted when it exists ; but before this- excuse can be allowed, the necessity must be clear, and not of our own creation. When CLIVE arrived in Bengal, he acted under a real necessity.
A war had raged ; the English prisoners had been murdered in the
Black Hole ; it was clear that we must establish ourselves in force, or quit the country : here was a necessity, not produced by him- self, but by the tyrant whom he overthrew. Again, belligerents in war may be compelled by necessity to violate the territory of a neutraL But HASTINGS had none of these necessities. He succeeded to a government whose difficulty was financial, or rather a want of
money to transmit to Europe for the dividends on India Stock,—a case which can scarcely be deemed of overwhelming necessity ; and even if it were, the necessity had been created by the rapacity and mismanagement of men under whom and with whom HASTINGS had served, and with all which he was acquainted long before he took office. But even if a necessity existed, what was that to the Rohillas ? They did not cause it, any more than CUBIT SING and the Begums produced the more real necessities arising from the Mahratta and Carnatic wars. Nor does it appear that the Go- vernor-General even tried to lessen his necessities by cultivating the arts of peace, or reducing a profuse expenditure. The truth is, that HASTINGS was a man of boundless ambition ; and to gratify that ambition, he was ready to perpetrate any crime either of force or fraud. Trained in the old school of Indian poli- tics, when rapacious and unscrupulous adventurers were suddenly raised to administer affairs, he was not even restrained by those technical rules of public conduct which, like the professional usages of the law, sometimes save men from crimes who would be inaccessible to moral or conscientious motives : nor through- out the whole of his career does he seem to have had any other test of an action than what could be gained by it. The "calm firmness" of his nature prevented him from committing the tyran- nies of folly, fear, or caprice ; and he might not be naturally cruel. But his disposition was grasping, jealous, revengeful, and obdurate in no common degree : to oppose HASTINGS, was suffi- cient to make an enemy, whom neither time nor intercourse could soften ; and perhaps his severe treatment of Cum SING was in a measure owing to the Rajah's suspected court to CLAVERING and FRANCIS, as the deadly persecution of NUNCOMAR was not mollified by the remembrance of their ancient quarrel about the collection of a district, when CLIVE upheld the Hindoo against the forward claims of young HASTINGS. The character of his acts cannot be changed by the circumstances of his career or the difficulties of his position, because a truly great man rises above both circumstances and difficulties, or withdraws from a post which can only be main- tained by crime. Both his age and his position may furnish some palliation for his misdeeds ; but the true excuse of WARREN
HASTINGS will be found in the laxity with which the world regards political crimes, when they are perpetrated on a scale of sufficient magnitude, and not for the personal advantage of the individual. Nor in estimating his character should the scrutiny to which it was exposed be forgotten.
"No man, probably," says MILL, in a general summary, which some- what differs from his judgment of specific acts, "who ever had a great
share in the government of the world, had his public conduct Bo com-
pletely explored and laid open to view. The mode of transacting the business of the Company, almost wholly by writing—first, by written consultations in the Council ; secondly, by written commands on the part of the Directors, and written statements of every thing done on the part of their servants in India—afforded a body of evidence such as
under no other government ever did or could exist. This evidence was brought forward with a completeness never before exemplified, first, by the con- tentions of a powerful party in the Council in India; next, by the inquiries of two searching Committees of the House of Commons; in the third place, by the production of almost every paper which could be supposed to throw light upon his conduct during the discussions upon the proceedings relative to his impeachment in the House of Commons; lastly, by the production of papers upon his trial. And all this was elucidated and commented upon by the keen- est spirits of the age ; and for a long time without an interposition of power to
screen his offences from detection. It is my firm conviction, that if we had the same advantage with respect to other men who have been as much engaged in the conduct of public affairs, and could view their conduct as completely naked and stripped of all its disguises, few of them would be found whose cha- racter would present a higher claim to indulgence than his."
A favourite argument with the friends of HASTINGS, in defence of his pecuniary purity, is the want of money, from which he ap- pears always to have suffered when out of office. But the " alieni
appetens, sui profusus," is the characteristic of thousands in every generation. Of his pecuniary circumstances, not much is told dis- tinctly in the work before us, though enough is exhibited to show the carelessness with which he squandered money and the con- fidence with which he asked for it. His biographer says that the expenses of his impeachment swallowed up all the fortune he had brought from India ; and his acquittal in 1795 threw hint pennyless upon the world. Soon afterwards, the East India Company lent him
50,000/. without interest, and settled an annuity upon him of 4,000/. for twenty-eight years and a half; of which 40,000/. was paid in advance. The expenses of his trial were less than 100,0001.; so that those expenses were really paid by the Company. Yet in little more than three years, he addressed the Court of Directors, under " a sense of duty superior to every consideration of what may be termed delicacy," requiring them not to stop the 2,0001.-a year out of the annuity, (for though advancing the 40,0004 the an- nuity was still paid,) but to invest it in India Bonds to give himthe
benefit of the accumulation. In 1804, he again appealed to them in general terms ; stated that he had been compelled to mortgage his estate at Day lesford, (which, by the by, he had pledged to them as a security); and the Company agreed to pay the 4,000/. an- nuity in full, and gave him a year in advance to redeem the mort- gage. When the annuity expired, he again appeared as a suitor for 5,000/. a year for his own life and that of his wife : the Com- pany renewed the original allowance of 4,0001., but refused to in- crease it, or to include Mrs. Hasrmas. In 1818, from his death- bed, the preserver of their empire again applied, beseeching them to continue the annuity to his wife : but the application was again refused. The Directors might feel that they had done enough already ; or the equivocal circumstances of the marriage might in- fluence their determination. But it is perhaps a matter of surprise, that a body so liberal as the Company should have rejected such a request, under such circumstances, from such a man,—for they could have voted him a sum of money if they had not thought it decorous to pension his wife.
with the termination of the impeachment the public life of WARREN HASTINGS may be said to have closed. Except on occa- sions of ceremony, his only appearance in public was before the Commons in 1813, to give evidence on Indian affairs; when the House shouted at the mention of his name, and rose uncovered when he retired. Nor, in fact, was greater publicity desirable. At his acquittal his age was sixty-four,—a time of life too late for an old Indian to fall into the habits of English public business ; and with means such as we have described, a Peerage would have been an incumbrance. Yet upon the bauble of a coronet he had set his heart : the want of it seems to have annoyed him through the remainder of his life; and a very little while before his death, he complained of the Regent's making him a civil speech in presence of the Allied Sovereigns, without following it up by realizing his own interpretation of it, the promise of a title. During the quarter of a century which elapsed between his ac- quittal and his death, life appears to have glided quietly away, in social, domestic, and rural enjoyments, without any other troubles than his pecuniary embarrassments and the disappointment of his vain wishes. His correspondence, as may be supposed, was exten- sive; and the love of literature, which was not extinguished in the busy days of the Governor-General, revived in the breast of the resident at Daylesford. He wrote verses, which he read to his friends : he praised VIRGIL, SHARSPERE, and MILTON; but he quoted Lucian and YOUNG. He predicted that the National Debt would eventually bring the British Government to a stand, and the difficulty of procuring a genteel subsistence place every family in the hands of the Ministry ; and, of all persons in the world, he censured the corruption of HENRY DUNDAS and the shamelessness of his defenders ! The author of the Rohilla war also denounced the partition of Poland, NAPOLEON'S invasion of Spain, and the interference with the wishes of a people in the second restoration of the Bourbons ; whilst the dethroner of the Rajah of Benares felt shocked at the imprisonment of BONAPARTE at St. Helena! When he approached and passed his eightieth year, he began to feel the infirmities of our nature. His hearing was uncertain ; he sometimes lost his voice ; his memory failed him in a curious way; and he wrote with difficulty,—feeling, he says, "a per- petual call upon the attention to preserve every word in its place, and to prevent even syllables and letters from encroaching on each other. In 1818, he felt the first attack of his mortal dis- ease—if disease be needed at eighty-six. His complaint was pe- culiar, a nervousness and fever, attended with great pain, which wasted his body but left his mind untouched. It was accompanied at first with a difficulty and at last with an incapacity of swallow- ing; so that, according to Sir HENRY HALPORD, "he lived on his own substance." The only refreshment he took was water from a particular spring, which he held in his mouth till the beat of the fever deprived it of its coldness. In his death he exhibited the equanimity of his whole career' mingled with something of a Roman dignity : after taking farewell of his family, he drew, with visible effort, a handkerchief over his face, and when it was removed he was a corpse.
In private life, WARREN HASTINGS was an amiable man, with greater tenderness of heart than might have been expected from his public acts. Not devoid of the sensitiveness of a novas holm, (for though well-born, he was exposed to more than the grating circumstances of a mere mushroom,) he disregarded idle display, and had none of the vulgar vanity of the generality of Nabobs. He delighted in fine horses, and piqued himself on his own riding and his power of managing unruly steeds : his Westminster schoolboy love of swimming stuck by him to old age. "He took the cold bath daily, the warm bath twice or thrice a week ; and as often as opportunity came in his way, be indulged freely his predilection for swimming.' He rose early; devoted the morning hours to study ; and breakfasted by himself, on tea and bread and butter only. His habits were temperate, and he was a great water-drinker ; being so particular in the quality of the article as when in London to send to the spring near the Barracks at Kensington Gore. To his health he seems to have paid great attention : by which alone, indeed, he was able to extend a delicate constitution and feeble frame to eighty- six years, in despite of climate, labours, and excessive anxiety. His most intelligible rules were POPE'S recommendations, temper- ance and_exercise ; but he attached particular value to a principle he " only acquired late, namely, to avoid the cold air when the body is heated with exercise, or more especially with the sun ; and to avoid equally the warm air, and warm nourishment, under the Opposite extreme of cold." ile carried into private life the in-
dustry, Method, and decision, which characterized him at the head of India : every letter which he wrote (and his correspondence was very extensive) he regularly entered ; and he kept a diary, in which he minutely chronicled occurrences. It may be mentioned as an instance of the manner in which the old post-rates operated upon a mind not careful of money or accustomed to measure expense, that postage was a great consideration with him : in his correspondence he delays or hastens his letter for "a frank" ; he promises to send some printed curiosity or written supplement—if he can get a frank; and more than once apologizes for the "double postage" of a long letter when he has something particular to communicate.
In India, his labours with the pen must have been incessant. In the words of Mr. WILSON, "he may almost be said to have meditated upon paper" ; and during his retirement he seems to have been constantly composing something. But copiousness rather than choice was the result of such constant practice. Though clear, his style is flat and unattractive, from its diffusion and ver- boseness; a defect which arises not merely from the accumula- tion of unessential particulars, but from the use of several words to express the sense of one. Here and there passages of interest may be found, where the fulness of the matter or the strength of the thought gives weight to the diction ; and the more domestic letters have a personal and autobiographical interest. But a collection of his writings would be dull and tedious,—deficient in the caustic and cogent sense of WELLINGTON; in WELLESLEY'S historical ele- vation of view and stately amplitude of style; or in the terseness, strength, and raciness of Crays.
The titlepage of these Memoirs of Warren Hastings assigns the "compilation from original papers" to the Reverend Mr. GLEIG. A letter appeared in the newspapers a short time since, claiming the authorship for the late Mr. IMPEY,—a nephew, we believe, of Sir ELIJAH IMPEY,—as he left all the papers ready behind him, and Mr. GLEIG had only the task of arranging them. The old Commissioner of Bankrupts did, we understand, employ himself in the task; but whether he was capable of writing a life of HASTINGS may be doubted. From the case before us, we incline to think that the collection of the correspondence is the entire work of Mr. IMPEY ; but that in the text Mr. GLEIG has translated the meaning of the original in many places, in others rather strengthened the style, and sometimes left the original twaddle as he found it. No divine, for example, could have written the silly and impudently unprincipled defence of the Rohilla war.
But the authorship of these Memoirs is not a matter to contend about, unless it be in the way of repudiation. A more worthless work, as regards literary merit, has rarely been given to the public. The great event of the European life of HASTINGS his trial, is altogether omitted ; so partial is the compiler, that the facts which render the legal right to execute NIINCOMAR doubtful are sup- pressed ; so negligent, that even chronological order is continually violated in the domestic letters—the reader who wishes for a sample may turn to the 434th page of the third volume, for the beginning of a business whose conclusion had been previously printed at page 389. The correspondence, though much of it has no biogra- phical character, and is uninteresting from the want of selection, possesses the reality and character of original documents ; and the letters from the London agents of HASTINGS to him throw a light upon the character and secret history of the age. The personal par- ticulars of HASTINGS towards the beginning and end of the work are curious and biographical. Some good information upon Indian matters is scattered through the volume • but those who have read Minis British India will have met with its substance, and occa- sionally something very like the form. All the rest is little better than twaddle in point of composition, and something much worse in point of morality.