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WARREN HASTINGS:

A BIOGRAPHY.

BY

CAPTAIN LIONEL JAMES TROTTER,

BENGAL HALF PAY.

Author of a " History of India," Studies in Biography, &c.

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LONDON:

Wm. H. ALLEN & CO., 13, WATERLOO PLACE.

PALL MALL, S.W.

1878.

PREFACE.

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

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Of late years

men too busy or too careless to ascertain the truth. Mr. Gleig's well-meant and well-founded vindication of the great Proconsul gave Macaulay an

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

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In forming an estimate of Hastings' character, we should be very careful to distinguish between matters of opinion and matters of fact. Nearly all the injustice done to his memory by grave historians and popular essayists may be traced to an imperfect knowledge or a reckless disregard of the facts.

Opinions may fairly differ un this or that point of moral significance, and writers who have to work upon a limited store of data may have some excuse for drawing wrong conclusions therefrom. But there is small excuse for those who twist facts into agreement with their own theories, or persistently colour them with the hues of personal or party prejudice. In this respect Mill has sinned yet more egregiously than Macaulay, because of his greater-seeming pretensions to the character of an impartial judge. The extent of his shortcomings may be measured by the number and drift of Wilson's corrective notes. Macaulay on the whole has dealt more generously with Hastings; but in so doing he has surpassed his predecessors in the astounding unfairness of his attacks on Chief Justice Impey. The

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