Home >> Cyclopedia Of India, Volume 2 >> Number to Or New Guinea >> Warren Iiastings

Warren Iiastings

council, india, indian and court

IIASTINGS, WARREN, the first Governor General of India. He was born in 1732, and came to India as a writer in 1749. He returned to England in 1763 ; but in 1769 he was appointed to be 2d Member of Council at Madras, in 1772 President of Council, Bengal, and in 1773 Gover nor-General, and on the 1st February 1785 be made over the keys of the fort to the next senior Member of Council, and left India on the 6th of the same month. He carried with him a modest fortune of 80,000. On his arrival in England in 1785, he was well received by the King, Queen, and Court of Directors, and was about to be made a peer, when Mr. Pitt opposed this, and, seven after his arrival, he was impeached by Messrs. Burke, Fox, and Sheridan, accused of acts of oppression. His trial commenced on the 13th or 15th February 1788, in the presence of the King and Queen. It proceeded for seven years, and at length, after an honourable defence, on the 23d April 1795 Hast ings was acquitted ; the verdict of an impartial posterity has long since affirmed the award (Marshman, i. p. 427). He passed out at the gate of Westminster Hall ignorant whence the funds were to come by which the weekly bills of his household were to be discharged ; but the Court of Directors paid his costs, and granted him an annuity. From all parts of the empire, from men

of various creeds and colours, from officers of renown, from Hindus and Mahomedans alike, poured in addresses of congratulation. The Prince Regent made him a Privy Councillor, and hinted at higher honours. Happy in his family life, blest with the healthy old age which is the appropriate reward of a pure and temperate man hood, farming and writing little poems, studying Malthus, and following with delight the rising genius of Walter Scott, the great proconsul glided by an easy road into euthanasia and immortality. He died on the 22d August 1818, in his 86th year ; in which year also Sir Philip Francis, his opponent, died. He was the administrative organ izer, as Clive had been the territorial founder, of the British Indian Empire. He rested his claims as an Indian ruler on his administrative work. Ho re-organized the Indian service, reformed every branch of the revenue collections, created courts of justice, and some semblance of a police. In 1781 he founded the Madras.sa for Mahomedan teaching, and he extended his patronage alike to Hindu pandits and to European Ga.:. iv.