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SUMMARY OF LEADING DATES.
1732. Birth of Hastings.
1774. Rohilla war ends.
ABSTRACT OF ESSAY. Pages 1-3. Introductory.
3-9. Ancestry, birth and education of Hastings.
94-99. Hyder Ali.
Memoirs of the Life of Warren Hastings, first Gover
nor-General of Bengal. Compiled from Original Papers, by the Rev, G. R. GLEIG, M.A. 3 vols. 8vo. London: 1841.
We are inclined to think that we shall best meet the wishes of our readers, if, instead of minutely examining this book,' we attempt to give, in a way necessarily hasty and imperfect, our own view of the life and character of Mr. Hastings. Our feeling towards him 5 is not exactly that of the House of Commons which impeached him in 1787 ; neither is it that of the House of Commons which uncovered and stood up to receive him in 1813. He had great qualities, and he rendered great services to the state. But to re- 10 present him as a man of stainless virtue is to make him ridiculous; and from regard for his memory, if
1 This Book. --The Life of Warren Hastings, by Rev. G. R. Gleig, the publication of which in 1841 gave Macaulay the opportunity of writing this essay.
from no other feeling, his friends would have done well to lend no countenance to such adulation. We believe that, if he were now living, he would have
sufficient judgment and greatness of mind to wish to be 5 shown as he was. He must have known that there were dark spots on his fame. He might also have felt with pride that the splendour of his fame would bear many spots. He would have wished posterity to have a
likeness of him, though an unfavourable likeness, 10 rather than a daub at once insipid and unnatural,
resembling neither him nor anybody else. “ Paint me as I am,” said Oliver Cromwell," while sitting to young Lely.
“If you leave out the scars and wrinkles, I will not pay you a shilling." Even in 15 such a trifle, the great Protector showed both his
good sense and his magnanimity. He did not wish all that was characteristic in his countenance to be lost, in the vain attempt to give him the regular
features and smooth blooming cheeks of the curl20 pated minions of James the First. He was content
that his face should go forth marked with all the blemishes which had been put on it by time, by war,
1 Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658).-Lord Protector from 1653 till 1658. “His countenance was swollen and reddish."
2 Lely, Sir Peter (1618-1680).—A native of Holland who settled in London and became a famous portrait-painter. He was employed by Charles I., Cromwell, and Charles II. A large collection of his portraits may still be seen in Hampton Court.
3 Curl-pated minions. The fashionable courtiers of the Stuarts wore their hair in long curls. The Cromwellian party wore their hair cropped short, hence their name-Roundheads.
by sleepless nights, by anxiety, perhaps by remorse; but with valour, policy, authority, and public care written in all its princely lines. If men truly great knew their own interest, it is thus that they would wish their minds to be portrayed.
5 Warren Hastings sprang from an ancient and illustrious race. It has been affirmed that his pedigree can be traced back to the great Danish sea-king, whose sails were long the terror of both coasts of the British Channel, and who, after many fierce and 10 doubtful struggles, yielded at last to the valour and genius of Alfred. But the undoubted splendour of the line of Hastings needs no illustration from fable. One branch of that line wore, in the fourteenth century, the coronet of Pembroke.? From another 15 branch sprang the renowned Chamberlain, the faithful adherent of the White Rose, whose fate has furnished so striking a theme both to poets and to historians. His family received from the Tudors the earldom of Huntingdon, which, after long dispossession, was 20
1 Sea-King:-Hastings, a sea-rover of the ninth century, who pillaged the shores of Britain and France till defeated by King Alfred, in 894. His exploits are only in part historical.
2 Coronet of Pembroke ; i.e., became Earls of Pembroke.
3 Chamberlain.-Lord William Hastings, a follower of the House of York (White Rose); he was especially favoured by Edward IV. and became Lord High Chamberlain. His fate was to be beheaded in 1483 at the instance of Richard III.
4 Earldom of Huntingdon.-In 1819 a Captain Hastings succeeded to this title which had been dormant for thirty years. The romance lay in the fact that the claim was not pushed by Captain Hastings himself but by his legal adviser, who was so sure of his case that he took the whole responsibility and expense upon himself.