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FOREIGN LITERATURE, SCIENCE. AND ART.
on the faults of this book, we attempt to give, in a From the Edinburg Review. way necessarily hasty and imperfect, our own view
of the life and character of Mr. Hastings. Our feelMemoirs of the Life of Warren Hastings, first Gover- ing towards him is not exactly that of the House of
nor-General of Bengal. Compiled from Origi- Commons which impeached him in 1787 : neither is nal Papers, by the Rev. G. R. Gleig, M. A. 3 it that of the House of Commons which uncovered yols. 8vo. London: 1841.
and stood up to receive him in 1813. He had great
qualities, and he rendered great services to the state. This book seems to have been manufactured in But to represent him as a man of stainless virtue, is pursuance of a contract, by which the representatives to make him ridiculous; and from regard for his meof Warren Hastings, on the one part, bound them- mory, if from no other feeling, his friends would selves to furnish papers, and Mr. Gleig, on the other have done well to lend no countenance to such puepart, bound himself to furnish praise. It is but just rile adulation. We believe that, if he were now to say that the covenants on both sides have been living, he would have sufficient judgment and suffimost faithfully kept; and the result is before us in cient greatness of mind to wish to be shown as he the form of three big bad volumes, full of undigest- was. He must have known that there were dark ed correspondence and undiscerning panegyric. spots on his fame. He might also have felt with
If it were worth while to examine this perform- pride, that the splendour of his fame would bear ance in detail, we could easily make a long article many spots. He would have preferred, we are conby merely pointing out inaccurate statements, inele- fident, even the severity of Mr. Mill to the puffing gant expressions, and immoral doctrines. But it of Mr. Gleig. He would have wished posterity to would be idle to waste criticism on a bookmaker; have a likeness of him, though an unfavourable likeand, whatever credit Mr. Gleig may have justly ness, rather than a daub at once insipid and unnatuearned by former works, it is as a bookmaker, and ral, resembling neither him nor any body else. nothing more, that he now comes before us. More Paint me as I am,' said Oliver Cromwell, while eminent men than Mr. Gleig have written nearly as sitting to young Lely. • If you leave out the scars ill as he, when they have stooped to similar drudge- and wrinkles, I will not pay you a shilling. Even fy. It would be unjust to estimate Goldsmith by in such a trifle, the great Protector showed both his the Vicar of Wakefield, or Scott by the Life of Na- good sense and his magnanimity. He did not wish poleon. Mr. Gleig is neither a Goldsmith nor a all that was characteristic in his countenance to be Seott; but it wouid be unjust to deny that he is ca- lost, in the vain attempt to give him the regular feapable of something better than these Memoirs. It tures and smooth blooming cheeks of the curl-pated would also, we hope and believe, be unjust to charge ininions of James the First. He was content that any Christian minister with the guilt of deliberately his face should go forth marked with all the blemishes maintaining some propositions which we find in this which had been put on it by time, by war, by book. It is not too much to say, that Mr. Gleig sleepless nights, by anxiety, perhaps by remorse; has written several passages, which bear the same but with valour, policy, authority, and public care, relation to the Prince' of 'Machiavelli that the written in all its princely lines. If men truly great • Prince' of Machiavelli bears to the Whole Duty knew their own interest, it is thus that they would of Man,' and which would excite amazement in a wish their minds to be portrayed. den of robbers, or on board of a schooner of pirates. Warren Hastings sprang from an ancient and ilBut we are willing to attribute these offences to lustrious race. It has been affirmed that his pedihaste, to thoughtlessness, and to that disease of the gree can be traced back to the great Danish seaunderstanding which may be called the Furor Bio- king, whose sails were long the terror of both graphicus, and which is to writers of lives what the coasts of the British channel; and who, after goitre is to an Alpine shepherd, or dirt-eating to a ne many fierce and doubtful struggles, yielded at last to gro slave.
the valour and genius of Alfred. But the undoubted We are inclined to think that we shall best meet splendour of the line of Hastings, needs no illustrathe wishes of our readers, if, instead of dwelling tion from fable. One branch of that line wore, in JANUARY, 1842,--Museum.
the fourteenth century, the coronet of Pembroke. ruled fifty millions of Asiatics, his hopes, amidst all
The lords of the manor of Daylesford, in Wor- liberal education. The boy went up to London, and cestershire, claimed to be considered as the heads was sent to a school at Newington, where he was of this distinguished family. The main stock, in- well taught but ill fed. He always attributed the deed, prospered less than some of the younger shoots. smallness of his stature to the hard and scanty fare But the Daylesford family, though not ennobled, was of this serinary. At ten he was removed to Westwealthy and highly considered, till, about two hun- minster school, then flourishing under the care of Dr. dred years ago, it was overwhelmed in the great ruin Nichols. Vinny Bourne, as his pupils affectionately of the civil war. The Hastings of that time was a called him, was one of the masters. Churchill, zealous cavalier. He raised money on his lands, Colman, Lloyd, Cumberland, Cowper, were among sent his plate to the mint at Oxford, joined the royal the students. With Cowper, Hastings formed a army, and, after spending half his property in the friendship which neither the lapse of time, nor a cause of King Charles, was glad to ransom himself wide dissimilarity of opinions and pursuits, could by making over most of thie remaining half to Speak- wholly dissolve. It does not appear that they ever er Lenthal. The old seat at Daylesford still remain- met after they had grown to manhood. But many ed in the family; but it could no longer be kept up; years later, when the voices of a crowd of great and in the following generation it was sold to a mer orators were crying for vengeance on the oppressor chant of London.
of India, the shy and secluded poet could image to Before the transfer took place, the last Hastings himself Hastings the Governor-Ġeneral, only as the of Daylesford had presented his second son to the Hastings with whom he had rowed on the 'Thames rectory of the parish in which the ancient residence and played in the cloister; and refused to believe of the family stood. The living was of little value;that so good-tempered a fellow could have done any and the situation of the poor clergyman, after the thing very wrong. His own life had been spent in sale of the estate, was deplorable. He was constant- praying, musing, and rhyming among the water-lilies ly engaged in lawsuits about his tithes with the new of the Ouse. He had preserved in no common lord of the manor, and was at length utterly ruined. measure the innocence of childhood. His spirit had His eldest son, Howard, a well conducted young indeed been severely tried, but not by temptations man, obtained a place in the Customs. The second which impelled him to any gross violation of the son, Pynaston, an idle, worthless boy, married before rules of social morality. He had never been attacked he was sixteen, lost his wife in two years, and went by combinations of powerful and deadly enemies. to the West Indies, where he died, leaving to the care He had never been compelled to make a choice of his unfortunate father, a little orphan, destined to between innocence and greatness, between crime and strange and memorable vicissitudes of fortune. ruin. Firmly as he held in theory the doctrine of
Warren, the son of Pynaston, was born on the 6th human depravity, his habits were such, that he was of December, 1732. His mother died a few days unable to conceive how far from the path of right, later, and he was left dependent on his distressed even kind and noble natures may be hurried by the grandfather. The child was early sent to the village rage of conflict and the lust of dominion. school, where he learned his letters on the same Hastings had another associate at Westminster, of bench with the sons of the peasantry. Nor did any whom we shall have occasion to make frequent menthing in his garb or fare indicate that life was to tion-Elijah Impey. We know little about their take a widely different course from that of the young school days. But we think we may safely venture rustics with whom he studied and played. But no to guess that whenever Hastings wished to play any cloud could overcast the dawn of so much genius trick more than usually naughty, he hired Impey and so much ambition. The very plouglımen ob- with a tart or a ball to act as fag in the worst pari of served, and long remembered, how kindly little the prank. Warren took to his book. The daily sight of the Warren was distinguished among his comrades as lands which his ancestors had possessed, and which an excellent swimmer, boatman, and scholar. Ai had passed into the hands of strangers, filled his fourteen he was first in the examination for the founyoung brain with wild fancies and projects. He dation. His name in gilded letters on the walls of loved to hear stories of the wealth and greainess of the dormitory, still attests his victory over many
older his progenitors—of their splendid housekeeping, their competitors. He stayed two years longer at the loyalty, and their valour. On one bright summer school, and was looking forward to a studentship at day, the boy, then just seven years old, lay on the Christ Church, when an event happened which bank of the rivulet which fows through the old changed the whole course of his life. Howard Hasdomain of his house to join the Isis. There, as tings died, bequeathing his nephew to the care of a three-score and ten years later he told the tale, rose friend and distant relation, named Chiswick. This in his mind a scheme which, through all the turns of gentleman, though he did not absolutely refuse the his eventful career, was
never abandoned. He charge, was desirous to rid himself of it as soon as would recover the estate which had belonged to his possible. Dr. Nichols made strong remonstrances fathers. He would be Hastings of Daylesford. This against the cruelty of interrupting the st: dies of a purpose, formed in infancy and poverty, grew stronger youth who seemed likely to be one of the first as his intellect expanded and as his fortune rose. scholars of the age. He even offered to bear the He pursued his plan with that calm but indomitable expense of sending his favourite pupil to Oxford. force of will, which was the most striking peculiarity But Mr. Chiswick was inflexible. He thought the of his character. When, under a tropical surt, helyears whieh had already been wasted on hexameters
and pentameters quite safficient. He had it in his design; and Hastings, who was now in extreme power to obtain for the lad a writership in the service peril, fled to Fulda. of the East India Company. Whether the young
Soon after his arrival at Fulda, the expedition from adventurer, when once shipped off, made a fortune, Madras, commanded by Clive, appeared in the ar died of a liver complaint, he equally ceased to be Hoogly. Warren, young, intrepid, and excited proa burden to any body. Warren was accordingly bably by the example of the Commander of the removed from Westminster school, and placed for a Forces, who, having like himself been a mercantile few months at a commercial academy, to study arith- agent of the Company, had been turned by public metic and book-keeping. In January, 1750, a few calamities into a soldier, determined to serve in the days after he had completed his seventeenth year, he ranks. During the early operations of the war he sailed for Bengal, and arrived at his destination in the carried a musket. But the quick eye of Clive soon October following.
perceived that the head of the young volunteer He was immediately placed at a desk in the Secre- would be more useful than his arm. When, after zry's office at Calcutta, and laboured there during the battle of Plassey, Meer Jaffier was proclaimed two years. Fort William was then a purely com- Nabob of Bengal, Hastings was appointed to reside mercial settlement. In the south of India the en- at the court of the new prince as agent for the Comcroaching policy of Dupleix had transformed the pany. servants of the English company, against their will, He remained at Moorshedabad till the year 1761, into diplomatists and generals. The war of the when he became a member of Council, and was consuccession was raging in the Carnatic; and the tide sequently forced to reside at Calcutta. This was had been suddenly turned against the French by the during the interval between Clive's first and second genius of young Robert Clive. But in Bengal, the administration-an interval which has left on the European settlers, at peace with the natives and with fame of the East India Company a stain, not wholly each other, were wholly occupied with Ledgers and effaced by many years of just and humane governBills of Lading.
ment. Mr. Vansittart, the Governor, was at the After two years passed in keeping accounts at head of a new and anomalous empire. On the one Calcutta, Hastings was sent up the country to Cos- side was a band of English functionaries, daring, insimbazar, a town which lies on the Hooyly, about a telligent, eager to be rich. On the other side was a mile from Moorshedabad, and which then bore to great native population, helpless, timid, accustomed Moorshedabad a relation, if we may compare small to crouch under oppression. To keep the stronger things with great, such as the city of London bears race from preying on the weaker, was an undertakto Westminster. Moorshedabad was the abode of ing which tasked to the utmost the talents and enerthe prince who, by an authority ostensibly derived gy of Clive. Vansittart, with fair intentions, was a from the Mogul, but really independent, ruled the feeble and inefficient ruler. The master caste, as three great provinces of Bengal, Orissa, and Bahar. was natural, broke loose from all restraint; and then At Moorshedabad were the court, the harem, and the was seen what we believe to be the most frightful public offices. Cossimbazar was a port and a place of all spectacles, the strength of civilization without of trade, renowned for the quantity and excellence its mercy. To all other despotism there is a check ; of the silks which were sold in its marts, and con- imperfect indeed, and liable to gross abuse, but still Stantly receiving and sending forth fleets of richly sufficient to preserve society from the last extreme laden barges. At this important point, the Company of misery, A time comes when the evils of submishad established a small factory subordinate to that sion are obviously greater than those of resistance; of Fort William. Here, during several years, Has- when fear itself begets a sort of courage; when a tings was employed in making bargains for stuffs convulsive burst of popular rage and despair warns with native brokers. While he was thus engaged, tyrants not to presume too far on the patience of Surajah Dowlah succeeded to the government, and mankind. But against misgovernment such as then declared war against the English. The defenceless afflicted Bengal, it was impossible to struggle. The settlement of Cossimbazar, lying close to the tyrant's superior intelligence and energy of the dominant capital, was instantly seized. Hastings was sent a class made their power irresistible. A war of Benprisoner to Moorshedabad; but, in consequence of galees against Englishmen, was like a war of sheep the humane intervention of the servants of the Dutch against wolves, of men against demons. The only Company, was treated with indulgence. Meanwhile protection which the conquered could find was in the Nabob marched on Calcutta; the governor and the moderation, the clemency, the enlarged policy the commandant fled; the town and citadel were of the conquerors. That protection, at a later period, taken, and most of the English prisoners perished in they found. But at first, English power came among the Black-hole.
them unaccompanied by English morality. There In these events originated the greatness of Warren was an interval between the time at which they beHastings. The fugitive governor and his compa- came our subjects, and the time at which we began nion had taken refuge on the dreary islet of Fulda, to reflect that we were bound to discharge towards near the mouth of the Hoogly. They were naturally them the duties of rulers. During that interval, the desirous to obtain full information respecting the pro- business of a servant of the Company was simply to opedings of the Nabob; and no person seemed so wring out of the natives a hundred or two hundred likely to furnish it as Hastings, who was a prisoner thousand pounds as speedily as possible, that he at large in the immediate neighbourhood of the court. might return home before his constitution had sufHe thus became a diplomatic agent, and soon esta- fered from the heat, to marry a peer's daughter, to blished a high character for ability and resolution. buy rotten boroughs in Cornwall, and to give balls The treason which at a later period was fatal to Su- in St. James's Square. Of the conduct of Hastings rajah Dowlah, was already in progress : and Has- at this time, little is known; but the little that is tings was admitted to the deliberations of the con- known, and the circumstance that little is known, spirators. But the time for striking had not arrived. must be considered as honourable to him. He could It was necessary to postpone the execution of the not protect the natives: all that he could do was, to
abstain from plundering and oppressing them; and pression of the talents and attainments of his visiter. this he appears to have done." It is certain that at Long after, when Hastings was ruling the immense this time he continued poor; and it is equally cer- population of British India, the old philosopher tain, that by cruelty and dishonesty he might easily wrote to him, and referred in the most courtly terms, have become rich. It is certain that he was never though with great dignity, to their short but agreeacharged with having borne a share in the abuses ble intercourse. which then prevailed; and it is almost equally cer Hastings soon began again to look towards India. tain that, if he had borne a share in those abuses, He had little to attach him to England ; and his pethe able and bitter enemies who afterwards perse- cuniary embarrassinents were great. He solicited cuted him, would not have failed to discover and to his old masters, the Directors, for employment. They proclaim his guilt. The koen, severe, and even acceded to his request, with high compliments both malevolent scrutiny to which his whole public life to his abilities and to his integrity, and appointed was subjected—a scrutiny unparalleled, as we be him a member of Council at Madras. It would be lieve, in the history of mankind is in one respect, unjust not to mention, that though forced to borrow advantageous to his reputation. It brought many money for his outfit, he did not withdraw any portion lamentable blemishes to light; but it entitles him to of the sum which he had appropriated to the relief be considered pure from every blemish which has of his distressed relations. In the spring of 1769 he not been brought to light.
embarked on board of the Duke of Grafton,' and The truth is that the temptations to which so many commenced a voyage distinguished by incidents English functionaries yielded in the time of Mr. which might furnish matter for a novel. Vansittart, were not temptations addressed to the Among the passengers in the Duke of Grafton? ruling passions of Warren Hastings. He was not was a German of the name of Imhoff. He called squeamish in pecuniary transactions; but he was himself a baron, but he was in distressed circumneither sordid nor rapacious. He was far too en- stances; and was going out to Madras as a portrait lightened a man to look on a great empire merely as painter, in the hope of picking up some of the pagoa bucanier would look on a galleon. Had his heart das which were then lightly got and as lightly spent been much worse than it was, his understanding by the English in India. The baron was accompawould have preserved him from that extremity of nied by his wife, a native, we have somevhere read, baseness. He was an unscrupulous, perhaps an un- of Archangel. This young woman, who, born under principled statesman; but still he was a statesman, the Arctic circle, was destined to play the part of a and not a freebooter.
Queen under the tropic of Cancer, had an agreeable In 1764, Hastings returned to England. He had person, a cultivated mind, and manners in the highest realized only a very moderate fortune; and that mo- degree engaging. She despised her husband heartiderate fortune was soon reduced to nothing, partly by ly, and, as the story which we have to tell sufficienthis praiseworthy liberality, and partly by his mis- ly praves, not without reason. She was interested management. Towards his relations he appears to by the conversation, and flattered by the attentions have acted very generously. The greater part of his of Hastings. The situation was indeed periious. savings he left in Bengal, hoping probably to obtain No place is so propitious to the formation either of the high usury of India. But high usury and bad close friendships, or of deadly enmities, as an Indiasecurity generally go together; and Hastings lost man. There are very few people who do not find a both interest and principal.
voyage which lasts several months insupportably He remained four years in England. Of his life dull. Any thing is welcome which may break that at this time very little is known. But it has been long monotony—a sail, a shark, an albatross, a man asserted, and is highly probable, that liberal studies, overboard. Most passengers find some resource in and the society of men of letters occupied a great eating twice as many meals as on land. But the part of his time. It is to be remembered to his
ho- great devices for killing the time are, quarrelling, and nour, that in days when the languages of the East flirting. The facilities for both these exciting purwere regarded by other s'rvants of the Company suits are great. The inmates of the ship are thrown merely as the means of com nunicating with weavers together far more than in any country-seat or boardand money-changers, his enlarged and accomplished ing house. None can escape from the rest except mind sought in Asiatic learning for new forms of in- by imprisoning himself in a cell in which he can tellectual enjoyment, and for new views of govern- hardly turn. All food, all exercise, is taken in comment and society. Perhaps, like most persons who pany. Ceremony is to a great extent banished. It have paid much attention to departments of know- is every day in the power of a mischievous person to ledge which lie out of the common track, he was in- inflict innumerable annoyances; it is every day in clined to overrate the value of his favourite studies. the power of an amiable person to confer lítile serHe conceived that the cultivation of Persian litera- vices. It not seldom happens that serious distress ture might with advantage be made a part of the and danger call forth in genuine beauty and deforliberal education of an English gentleman; and he mity heroic virtues and abject vices, which, in the drew up a plan with that view. It is said that the ordinary intercourse of good society, might remain University of Oxford, to which Oriental learning had during many years unknown even to intimate assonever, since the revival of letters, been wholly ne- ciates.
Under such circumstances met Warren glected, was to be the seat of the institution which Hastings and the Baroness Imhoff; two persons he contemplated. An endowment was expected whose accomplishments would have attracted notice from the munificence of the Company; and profes- in any court of Europe. The gentleman had no dosors thoroughly competent to interpret Hafiz and mestic ties. The lady was tied to a husband for Ferdusi were to be engaged in the East. Hastings whom she had no regard, and who had no regard for called on Johnson, with the hope, as it should seem, his own honour. An attachment sprang up, which of interesting in his project a man who enjoyed the was soon strengthened by, events such as could highest literary reputation, and who was particularly hardly have occurred on land. Hastings fell ill. connected with Oxford. The interview appears to 'The baroness nursed him with womanly tenderness, have left on Johnson's mind a most favourable im- I gave him his medicines with her own hand, and ever