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Hastings, Warrenlocked

  • P. J. Marshall

Warren Hastings (1732–1818)

by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1766–8

Hastings, Warren (1732–1818), governor-general of Bengal, was born at the rectory at Churchill in Oxfordshire on 6 December 1732. Hastings proudly traced his descent from a family that had been settled at Daylesford in Worcestershire since the twelfth century. By the eighteenth century, however, the family was in reduced circumstances. The Daylesford lands had been sold, although Hastings's grandfather, Penyston Hastings (d. 1752), and his father, also called Penyston (d. 1743), both in holy orders, continued to live nearby. Hastings's mother, Hester, née Warren (1705–1732), died shortly after giving birth to him. He and his elder sister, Anne, were left as virtual orphans when, within nine months of Warren's birth, their father abandoned them, remarried, and moved to Barbados, where he lived out the rest of his life. Hastings was brought up first in the Cotswolds by his grandfather and then by his uncle Howard Hastings, who took him to London in 1740.

Schooling and first years in India

Howard Hastings sent his nephew to school at Newington Butts and then in 1743 to Westminster School, where he became king's scholar and captain of the school in 1747, leaving prematurely on his uncle's death in 1749, to the dismay of the headmaster, John Nicoll. In later life Hastings was inclined to portray himself as a person who had been cut off from formal education at an early age and thus been forced to equip himself for the great responsibilities that came to him by native wit and practical experience. His time at Westminster seems, however, to have been a good preparation. It left him with a capacity to write cogently and elegantly, with a facility to learn languages, with a cultivated taste for literature, and above all with a quick, inquiring intelligence that absorbed new knowledge very readily.

With the death of his uncle Hastings had to fend for himself. His new guardian, Joseph Creswicke, used his influence to get him an appointment as a writer in the East India Company's Bengal service. After the obligatory brief course in merchant's accounts he sailed for India in January 1750, arriving at Calcutta in September.

Calcutta in 1750 was already a rich commercial city. It was the centre for the huge trade conducted by the East India Company in what had become a virtually autonomous province under the rule of governors, or nawabs, who owed only a nominal allegiance to the Mughal emperor at Delhi. From Calcutta and a series of subordinate commercial ‘factories’ in other parts of Bengal the East India Company procured its cargoes for London, consisting largely of cotton cloth and silk. The employees of the company, private British merchants, and many Indian ones who worked with the British also traded on a large scale. Commercial expansion was, however, creating political tensions. On the south-east or Coromandel coast Anglo-French rivalry had already led to open warfare in which Indian contenders for power participated. In 1750 the Bengal nawabs were still able to maintain control, but within a few years Bengal too was to be thrown into turmoil and a political revolution was to ensue that would transform Hastings's career.

In 1750 Hastings's prospects were those of company servants of previous generations. He had to learn how to order textiles and check their quality. Were he to survive the high mortality from disease, he could expect to rise in the service and would try to accumulate a fortune from his personal trade. Hastings's first appointment was at Cossimbazar, a major centre for procuring silk, near the nawab's capital at Murshidabad. He was at Cossimbazar in 1756 when relations between a new nawab, called Siraj ud-Daula, and the East India Company broke down catastrophically. The nawab was provoked to attack and storm Calcutta, rounding up the British at Cossimbazar in the process. Hastings's release was secured by Dutch merchants and he went to Falta, where refugees from Calcutta had gathered. At Falta in 1756 he married Mary, née Elliott, widow of Captain John Buchanan, who had been killed at Calcutta. Neither the first Mrs Hastings nor the two children that she bore her husband were to live long. Her daughter, Elizabeth, was dead within a month of her birth. Mary Hastings died on 11 July 1759. The son, George, was sent to England in 1761, where he too died in 1764. Rumours that Elizabeth, daughter of Philadelphia Hancock, born in December 1761 and cousin of the novelist Jane Austen, was in fact Hastings's child rather than that of his business partner, Tysoe Saul Hancock, cannot be substantiated.

The ‘Plassey revolution’, 1757–1765

Hastings's brief first marriage spanned the years of what contemporaries came to call the ‘Plassey revolution’. In 1757 an expedition from Madras under Robert Clive, with which Hastings served as a volunteer, forced the nawab out of Calcutta and recovered it for the company. Clive's army then became the force that brought about the overthrow of Siraj ud-Daula at the battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757 and his replacement by a new nawab. In theory, the new nawab, Mir Jafar, was the independent ally of the company. In practice, the company maintained a large army that assumed the responsibility for the defence of Bengal and insisted on payments from the nawab for its services, thus quickly eroding his autonomy. The appointment of a British resident at Murshidabad to exert pressure on the nawab was a clear sign of his altered status. From 1758 Hastings served as resident. He was still at Murshidabad in 1760, when a coup engineered by the British brought down Mir Jafar and replaced him with another nawab, Mir Kasim.

Shortly afterwards Hastings went to Calcutta and succeeded to the council that managed the company's affairs under a new governor, Henry Vansittart. Hastings formed a close friendship with Vansittart, who was a man of intellectual tastes similar to his own. He allied with the governor in disputes that split the council. Contention raged around the extent to which the nawab should be permitted to regulate the private trade of British merchants. Mir Kasim tried to impose controls, which Vansittart and Hastings, although they themselves traded on a large scale, accepted that he had a right to do. On two missions to the nawab in 1762–3, once on his own and once with Vansittart, Hastings attempted to reach agreements with him. The treaty drawn up during the second mission was, however, rejected by a majority on the council, in spite of a spirited defence of it by Hastings. Tensions then erupted into armed conflict. Mir Kasim was driven out of Bengal and he and his allies were defeated in 1764 at the battle of Buxar. The violence with which Mir Kasim took revenge on the British whom he captured and on Indians who had allied with them seemed wholly to discredit Vansittart's and Hastings's policy of conciliation. Vansittart resigned his governorship and returned to Britain. In January 1765 Hastings followed him.

Early assessments and return to England, 1765–1769

Hastings's first fifteen years in India had ended in failure. His family had been wiped out. He had vainly sought to achieve a settlement with Mir Kasim and had created many enemies in doing so. One of them wrote of him, 'never was a worse Politician, credulous and to the highest degree; alarm'd by every idle report, wholly diffident in himself' (J. Carnac to R. Clive, 2 Nov 1760, BL OIOC, MS Eur. G 37/28, fol. 120). He had by no means made his fortune. Vansittart had accepted large presents from Mir Kasim, and it was strongly rumoured that Hastings had also taken money. These rumours were never substantiated and, if it is likely that money was promised, nothing significant seems to have been handed over. He had traded extensively, but he had not realized his assets, and his friends warned him that little could be recovered.

Nevertheless, Hastings lived in some style in Britain, where he sought to influence future Indian policy and to secure his return with a prestigious position. A striking portrait depicting him holding documents in Persian script, which he commissioned from Joshua Reynolds, seems to be a clear statement of his ambitions. He drew up a proposal for a 'Professorship of the Persian Language' at Oxford, which he sent to Samuel Johnson, among others. In the proposal he used arguments that he was to develop in the future. Knowledge of Asian languages was not simply a tool for ruling in Asia; it created awareness of rich cultures of which British people were ignorant and inclined to be contemptuous. Such awareness would be, he was later to write, the means of a 'reconciliation' of 'the people of England to the natives of Hindostan' (Marshall, Hastings as patron and scholar, 256). On 31 March 1767 he gave evidence to the first parliamentary inquiry into Indian affairs. Neither the Mughal emperor nor the nawabs of Bengal, he told the committee, now had any effective authority. 'Possession of the country is in the English' and 'we have it in our power to make Bengal the most beneficial spot to this country' (BL, Add. MS 18469, fols. 20–30). In 1768 he was given the chance to go back to India when he was appointed second in the council of the settlement at Fort St George, Madras.

Return to India, 1769–1772

Hastings sailed for Madras on 26 March 1769. Also on the ship was the person who eventually became his second wife. She was Anna Maria Apollonia Chapuset, always Marian to Hastings [see Hastings, Marian (1747-1837)], born at Nuremberg of a Huguenot family. Then aged twenty-two, she was married to Baron Carl von Imhoff, who was going to India as a cadet in the Madras army and also to paint miniatures. Hastings evidently fell in love with Anna Maria during the voyage. When Imhoff moved on from Madras to Bengal, she apparently lived in Hastings's house before she followed her husband. The Imhoffs continued to live together in Calcutta when Hastings arrived there in 1772, but in February 1773 the baron went back to Europe leaving his wife in India. Imhoff applied for a divorce in a German court on grounds of desertion. This was granted in 1776. A year later, on 8 August 1777, when news of the divorce had reached India, Hastings and Marian were married. They had no children, but Hastings seems to have become attached to his wife's two sons by her former marriage, Charles and Julius Imhoff. The marriage was a source of great happiness to him for the rest of his life.

Hastings spent two successful years at Madras. His management of the company's commercial concerns was particularly commended. In 1771 the directors of the East India Company, looking for a new governor of Bengal, where recent administration was regarded as seriously flawed, chose Hastings. He returned to Calcutta on 17 February 1772.

Governor: Bengal in 1772

In his evidence to the House of Commons in 1767 Hastings had stated bluntly that Bengal was now effectively a British province. By 1772 this proposition was irrefutable. Mughal authority in Bengal was extinct, while British interference and a series of coups had left the nawabs powerless. In 1765 by the treaty of Allahabad the diwani—that is, the right to collect a territorial revenue, usually assessed at the equivalent of around £2 million—had been surrendered to the East India Company. What remained to the nawabs was responsibility for the defence of the province, the maintenance of law and order, and the enforcement of criminal justice. Inroads had, however, been made here too. The nawabs' army had been disbanded, and they had no power to implement any decision that was not acceptable to the company.

Hastings saw himself in 1772 as governor of what was now fully part of the British empire. He dismissed as harmful fictions formal acknowledgements of Mughal authority. Since 1765 the company had delegated a great part of its new responsibilities to what was styled a deputy nawab, called Muhammad Reza Khan. Hastings had orders to dismiss the khan and to assert the company's direct authority. He complied with alacrity and expressed the hope that no similar appointment would ever be made. He had no qualms about making further incursions into areas of government allocated to the nawabs. He believed that sovereignty, a concept that he frequently invoked, was vested in the 'British nation' (Jones, 191) and that there must be no equivocation about that. The East India Company might for the present be the duly constituted agent of the British nation, but it must be guided by national purposes, and in due time he anticipated that the company would surrender its powers over Indian government to the state, a prospect that he welcomed.

Hastings's view of his task

From the outset of his government Hastings saw himself as bound to impress on British opinion the importance of what Britain had acquired in Bengal. Its 'extent … and its possible resources, are equal to those of most states in Europe' (Gleig, 1.368). Its population was usually estimated at some 20 million people, its public revenue amounted to about one quarter of that of Britain itself, it maintained a British army of approximately 25,000 men, it had its own foreign policy with other Indian states, and the value of its exports to Britain was rising towards £1 million a year. Hastings pointed out that the management of the complex affairs of this great possession was a task of the highest responsibility. In the past he had been accused of timidity and self-mistrust, but now he had no inhibitions in proclaiming his ambition to discharge these responsibilities with éclat. 'I have catched the desire for applause in public life' (ibid., 1.375). 'I own I possess a more than ordinary degree of ambition to act in an elevated sphere under the auspices of my sovereign' (ibid., 1.472). Previous governors of Bengal had, he believed, regarded their tenure of office as an opportunity to round off their careers by adding to their fortunes before making a quick retreat to Europe. He would serve for a long period and honourable recognition would be his chief reward. He was in fact to stay in Bengal for thirteen years.

Hastings shared the view, universal among contemporary Europeans, that Bengal was a naturally rich province with a highly productive agriculture and skilled manufacturers that had suffered from misgovernment under its later Indian rulers and during the British takeover. It had been afflicted in 1770 by a very severe famine. The new regime's task was to enable recovery to take place. In the years after 1772 Hastings developed a distinctive point of view on how this should be done. He believed that Bengal must be governed in ways to which its people were presumed to be accustomed. Indian methods of government and Indian law must be preserved. The British should aim 'to rule this people with ease and moderation according to their own ideas, manners, and prejudices' (Gleig, 1.404). He considered that Hinduism and Hindu and Islamic law were in certain respects admirable in themselves as well as being suited to the needs of the population who had come under British rule. He encouraged British officials to learn languages, make studies, and translate texts. While he believed that there could be no limitations on the company's sovereignty and that no Indian authority could be allowed to compete with it, he felt that the exercise of the powers of government under British direction should for the most part be left in Indian hands. He had no high opinion of the capacity or the disinterestedness of the great bulk of the company's British servants.

The revenue issue

Revenue was the central issue of early British government in India. The huge sums levied in taxation made Indian provinces colonial possessions of unique value. Hastings always felt himself to be under irresistible pressures to maximize the revenue yield on which the company's army, its capacity to make war, and the volume of its trade depended. On the other hand, he also believed that moderate rather than rapacious management of the revenue would generate long-term prosperity that would ultimately enrich Bengal and therefore make it an even more valuable asset for Britain. Attempts to devise policies that would meet these potentially contradictory aims were gravely handicapped by ignorance. The British were uncertain both as to how much they could extract from the province without inflicting damage on it and from whom they should receive their revenue. The revenue originated in a tax that was in theory a proportion of the value of the crops grown by millions of cultivators. It was extracted from them by a complex system of intermediaries who paid a quota assessed by the government. The commonest term for these intermediaries was zamindar, literally landholder. The status of a Bengal zamindar was the subject of much debate. To some British people, they were the equivalent of European landlords, who owned the land from which they collected revenue from a mass of tenants. To Hastings, they were government-appointed tax collectors who had acquired a hereditary right to their offices.

In 1772 Hastings decided that the best way of finding out what Bengal could afford to pay was to invite competition for the right to collect revenue for a period of five years. Where the zamindars did not make adequate offers, higher bids would be accepted. This so-called ‘farming’ system was adjudged even by Hastings to have been a failure. Bids for lands were often unrealistically high and the farmers failed to pay their quotas, in spite, it was often alleged, of oppressively rigorous exactions from the cultivators. In 1776 Hastings ordered an inquiry into local revenue accounts in order to give the government some indications of what had been collected in the past. This failed to provide an effective basis for an assessment, and for the rest of Hastings's administration the company negotiated revenue assessments year by year, usually with the zamindars.

The role that Europeans should play in the management of the revenue was also contentious. Hastings inherited a system in which British company servants had been appointed to districts to supervise the assessment and the collection. He had no liking for this. He thought that most of the British ‘collectors’ were ignorant and corrupt, and he had much more confidence in experienced Indian revenue administrators. In 1781 he withdrew nearly all Europeans from the districts.

By the time he left India in 1785, Hastings's revenue administration was generally regarded as a failure. There seemed to be no evidence of improvement or growing prosperity in the countryside; the yield of Bengal's revenue to the company, in spite of higher assessments, had hardly increased and Hastings had been forced to augment the company's finances by indirect taxes, such as the monopolies created over the sale of salt and opium. British opinion began to turn against what seemed to be a policy of experiments in favour of certainty. Zamindars were declared to have property rights to their lands, the level of tax they paid was fixed for ever, and British collectors were reappointed to manage districts. In old age Hastings may have derived some satisfaction from knowing that it was becoming clear that these measures, embodied in the so-called ‘permanent settlement’ of 1793, were not proving markedly more successful in stimulating rural prosperity.

The administration of justice

As diwans of Bengal after 1765 the company acquired responsibility for administering civil justice, cases of property and inheritance being closely involved with the payment of revenue. Criminal justice was the concern of the nawab's courts, which enforced the Islamic criminal law. Europeans had a hearty contempt for Bengal courts, dismissing them as incurably corrupt, but no effective intervention was attempted before Hastings's governorship. He believed that the British must intervene to restore a decayed system of indigenous justice. He created new hierarchies of courts, both civil and criminal. Local civil courts were to be supervised by British revenue officials. There were to be new criminal courts, which would remain under the nawab's law officers until the appointment of British magistrates in 1781. Appeals were to be heard by new British appeal courts in Calcutta. The law administered by the courts was to be the law of Hindus and Muslims. Hastings set about obtaining translations that would make the law accessible to those Europeans who had to administer it. He launched projects for the translation of commentaries on Muslim law and of a code of Hindu law done for him in Sanskrit by a group of pandit scholars. The extent to which Hastings was able by these means to bring about the restoration of indigenous justice that he intended is highly debatable. It was impossible for European judges, with their preconceptions, such as a commitment to equality before the law, to behave like Indian judges. The translations made under Hastings's patronage were remarkable works of scholarship, but translations of classical texts were a somewhat unreal guide to current usage in evolving legal traditions. Rather than guaranteeing legal continuity, as he intended, Hastings's judicial reforms began the process, accelerated by subsequent reforms and new codifications, of producing the hybrid Anglo-Indian law that survives in contemporary India.

Diplomacy in India

As governor of Bengal, Hastings not only had to direct the internal administration of a huge province, but he had to conduct a complex diplomacy with Indian states and on occasions with other European powers trading in India. By the 1770s it was impossible for the British in Bengal or indeed in their other settlements at Madras and Bombay to isolate themselves from the new order of states that was replacing the Mughal empire. Bengal was relatively invulnerable to attack, except on its western frontier. Along the Ganges valley the British province of Bihar bordered on the territory of the wazir of Oudh. Since 1765 the wazirs had been linked in a close alliance with the British and had British troops stationed with them for their defence. On the south-western frontier of Bengal were the lands of one of the chieftains of the Maratha confederacy that extended to the west coast, where the Marathas hemmed in Bombay. In the late eighteenth century the Marathas were pressing northwards. They had raided into Bengal in the past and for most of the period the Mughal emperor at Delhi was under their patronage. In the south the British at Madras had turned the neighbouring Carnatic territory into their satellite. This brought them into close contact with two powerful rulers, the nizam of Hyderabad and Haidar Ali, who had seized control of Mysore.

The armies which the British had deployed in the wars of the mid-eighteenth century had made them a formidable force in India, but they certainly could not as yet aspire to supremacy. Indian rulers were imitating European methods of equipping and training troops. Wars would not necessarily produce decisive results and would be certain to cost a great deal. Attempts to expand British territory by conquest were therefore almost universally rejected as an option for the company: great gains had come through war, but these must now be consolidated in peace. Debate focused on the extent to which the British should seek influence beyond their boundaries. Some argued for policies of strict non-intervention. Hastings had no ambition to make new conquests, but he was strongly in favour of seeking influence by alliances. In his most elaborate statement of his aims he wrote of

a general system … to extend the influence of the British nation to every part of India not too remote from their possessions, without enlarging the circle of their defence or involving them in hazardous or indefinite engagements and to accept the allegiance of such of our neighbours as shall sue to be enlisted among the friends and allies of the King of Great Britain.

British agents were to be posted as residents at Indian courts, Indian rulers should sign treaties, preferably directly with the British crown, and they should accept garrisons of British troops, for which they would pay subsidies (Weitzman, 87–8).

Hastings's ideal of peaceful influence over allies bore little relation to the way events unfolded. Alliances tended quickly to become subordination, as the pattern played out in Bengal after 1757 repeated itself elsewhere and rulers who entered into connections with the British faced escalating demands on their resources. Moreover, the company was to be repeatedly drawn into war, as events very early in Hastings's administration demonstrated. In order to strengthen the company's major ally in northern India, the wazir of Oudh, Hastings was willing to sanction his ambitions to absorb the territory dominated by the Rohilla people of Afghan origin. Company troops would be used against the Rohillas and be paid for their services, while the wazir would gain a secure boundary against Maratha incursions. The Rohillas were duly expelled in a short campaign in 1774. This was the first of many wars that were to mark Hastings's governorship and to prove extremely damaging to his reputation.

The business of administration

The company's government was one of record. Business was transacted in consultations on which councillors entered minutes. Dispatches were sent to the directors, and men in power in India kept their friends at home well briefed. In minutes and letters Hastings was extremely adept at presenting persuasive rationalizations for his policies and in outlining ambitious future plans. To one friendly critic, he was rather too fluent on paper. 'I like Hastings's private Character exceedingly', wrote a Scottish company servant. 'I also think he would make a damnd good Governor if he was not so clever, that is, he has too much Sail and no Ballast. He deceives people by his writings and he is a great Schemer' (C. Alexander to D. Anderson, 13 Nov 1784, BL, Add. MS 45424, fol. 144).

Hastings's minutes and dispatches were often little more than a façade. Much of the essential business of government was transacted not on paper but in face-to-face contact between the governor and a group of Europeans and Indians upon whom he relied. When he was not actually quarrelling with his fellow councillors, he was still ill at ease with them and had no taste for collective government or shared responsibility. He dealt instead with younger company servants, often well-educated Scots, such as David Anderson, George Bogle, and Alexander Elliot, brother of the future governor-general, the earl of Minto. Such men were sent as envoys to Indian rulers or given key posts in the revenue administration. He saw them as his own appointments, personally giving them their orders and receiving their reports rather than using official channels.

Hastings also dealt directly with Indians in a way that would have been inconceivable for his successors. He seems to have been a good linguist. The sketch for a painting by Johan Zoffany in 1784 shows him speaking, presumably in Urdu, to a Mughal prince without an interpreter. He could also conduct diplomatic and revenue negotiations in Urdu on his own. Indian rulers and great Bengal zamindars had to maintain personal relations with him. They corresponded directly with him and appointed Calcutta agents who paid court to him. Hastings made it abundantly clear that he expected their loyalty to be to him personally as well as to the company. He was unforgiving to those whom he supposed to be cultivating his opponents. Hastings considered that few Europeans had as yet mastered revenue and judicial administration to any great depth. The company had, in his view, to depend on learned pandits to expound the law, like Radhakanta Tarkavagisa, on Muslims brought up in the Mughal tradition of state service, and on revenue administrators, like Ganga Govind Singh, described as Hastings's 'prime minister' and as 'looked upon by the natives as the second person in the government, if not the first'. Finally, like all prominent Europeans, Hastings had a banian, or personal agent, to manage his household and private business affairs, in this case the redoubtable Krishna Kanta Nandy (Cantoo Babu), who was a highly successful businessman in his own right and held lucrative revenue contracts.

The confident programmes of reform which he sent back to Britain did not necessarily bear much relation to the intractable realities facing Hastings: a limited direct British engagement with the great mass of their new subjects and relations with other Indian states upon which it was beyond his capacity to impose his will. Even with a high level of Indian assistance, the British could not form an accurate assessment of the revenue resources of Bengal. Nor could they re-create and apply authentic Indian jurisprudence in their courts, which in any case had a very restricted jurisdiction outside certain towns. Hastings certainly could not slot the states of post-Mughal India into a system of dependent alliances. Indian rulers could be as adept at manipulating the British for their own purposes as the British were at manipulating them. Even if he had enjoyed uncontested authority over the government of Bengal and had been able to avoid major wars, Hastings's governorship would still have been a struggle from one expedient to another. In the event, Hastings was to enjoy neither uncontested authority nor peace for most of his administration.

Structure of government and disputed authority

From his arrival in Bengal in 1772 Hastings had complained about the form of government that he had to operate, inherited from the practice of a trading company and, in his view, unsuited to ruling a great political concern. As governor, he was merely one of a large council chosen by seniority and subject to orders from directors elected by a body of shareholders in Britain. In 1773 the national government intervened to impose reforms on the company. By what was called the East India Regulating Act of that year authority in Bengal was concentrated in a governor-general and a new supreme council of five. A supreme court, staffed by royal judges, was to be established in Calcutta. The members of the supreme council were named in the act and were thus the nominees of the national government. Hastings was chosen as the first governor-general, apparently without serious opposition, evidence of the good reputation he had won for his work in Bengal since 1772. Three men were sent out to join the council from Britain, General John Clavering, George Monson, and Philip Francis, to whom Richard Barwell, who was already in India, was added.

Whatever expectations Hastings may have had from the honour done to him and from the powers added to his office were quickly dashed by the unremitting opposition to all his policies shown by the three new councillors from Britain immediately after their arrival in Calcutta on 19 October 1774. Acting together, they constituted a majority against him and Barwell. The motives for the virulence of their opposition have been much debated. They quickly professed to find corruption behind every policy of the old government and to believe that, far from having begun the regeneration of a great national asset, Hastings was allowing the resources of Bengal to be plundered and wasted. They were fed inflammatory material by British company servants and Indians who were disaffected to Hastings, and there is no reason to doubt, particularly in the case of the soldiers, Clavering and Monson, that they believed what they heard and that their sense of outrage was genuine. Francis was a more complex case. An intellectual of a calibre to match Hastings, he had held minor government offices and was well versed in political intrigue, which he practised unremittingly in India. Within a few years the main aim of his life came to be to force Hastings out and to succeed him. Yet Francis too was an idealist who believed much of what he wrote. He too was appalled by what he interpreted as corruption and, from material largely supplied to him from the dismissed deputy nawab, Muhammad Reza Khan, he formulated a version of an idealized Mughal constitution which he accused Hastings of violating.

The new councillors began by denouncing the war against the Rohillas and demanding an investigation into the motives behind it. Hastings's revenue policy was also denounced as destructive of the province by displacing its natural gentry in favour of extortionate adventurers. Within a few months accusations of personal corruption were levelled against Hastings himself.

Accusations of corruption

The accusations were brought in March 1775 by Nandakumar, a man who had been active in the administration of the nawabs and who, like others in his position, had sought to secure a role for himself in the new order of the East India Company. In the faction-ridden company government of the 1760s this had meant allying with certain Europeans against others. Hastings had been his enemy in the past and, although there had been a limited reconciliation since 1772, Nandakumar evidently calculated that he stood to gain ample rewards were the new councillors to displace Hastings. To help them bring Hastings down, he accused him of having accepted presents from the court of the nawabs worth some £40,000, and other allegations were added. Hastings refused to answer these charges at the time. Much later he admitted that over £15,000 had been paid to him as the customary allowances given to the governor visiting the nawab. If the rest of Nandakumar's charges cannot be substantiated and his crude allegations of selling offices are most implausible, Hastings probably had accepted other customary emoluments. He frequently declared his lack of interest in making money, but he considered that the governor should live in a manner appropriate to his office and he was determined to send money home which would enable him to rebuild the shattered fortunes of his family. His personal accounts reveal that he sent more than £120,000 to Britain in the first four years of his government, a sum which comfortably exceeded all his official emoluments. Hastings was therefore vulnerable, if not in his own eyes, to such accusations.

Those who brought accusations against the governor-general were even more vulnerable, as Nandakumar was soon to discover. Charges of forgery were brought against him in the new supreme court. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed on 5 August 1775. 'With the life of Nundcomar has ended the prevalent spirit of informants and of the litigious; the Blacks know not which way to look' (Marshall, Impeachment, 141), wrote an exultant British observer. The case of Nandakumar has attracted much controversy. Critics of Hastings from his own time onwards have drawn the not unreasonable inference that he promoted the prosecution and may have influenced the verdict. He stoutly denied such accusations and he has found a succession of defenders who have tried to substantiate his denials. The independence of the judges, whatever the merits of their verdict, seems in retrospect to be beyond question. It seems also clear that the prosecution against Nandakumar was promoted by his Indian enemies. There are no indications that they communicated directly with Hastings, but evidence has come to light to show that one of his closest friends was well aware of what they were doing and encouraged them.

In sentencing Nandakumar and refusing a reprieve or stay of execution, Sir Elijah Impey, the chief justice of the supreme court, an old friend of Hastings since school, and the other royal judges had acted in a way that was highly advantageous to Hastings. In other respects, however, the court proved to be another unwelcome consequence for him of the 1773 Regulating Act. Its jurisdiction was ill defined, and its attempts to extend this, and with it the use of English law in conflict with the Indian courts set up by the company, provoked bitter disputes, which required a further act of parliament of 1781 to resolve.

Even if he had no direct hand in it, the destruction of Nandakumar was an important success for Hastings in halting the flow of accusations. Whether he survived the onslaught of his opponents now largely depended on the reactions of the authorities at home, both in the company and in the national government, to the material from the rivals in Bengal with which they were being bombarded. The government tried to dismiss Hastings in 1776, but the company rejected this. Even so, Hastings's friends in Britain thought it wise to negotiate an honourable resignation on his behalf. Before this could take effect, events in India went his way. One of his opponents, Monson, died in September 1776, and by use of the governor-general's casting vote in council Hastings regained control of the government. When news of his resignation reached India, Hastings repudiated it and defeated an attempt by Clavering to assume the governor-generalship in June 1777. Two months later Clavering died. Francis alone remained to carry on the opposition against Hastings, which he did until a truce was patched up in 1780. It broke down over conflicting interpretations of its terms. Hastings accused Francis of being 'void of truth and honour' in his public and private conduct. Francis called him out, and in a duel on 17 August Francis was slightly wounded. Francis left India in December 1780. By then the national government had become reconciled to keeping Hastings in India as the least bad alternative in difficult times.

Wars: saving the empire in India?

War was the main source of difficulty. From early in Hastings's administration the British at Bombay had been involved in the politics of the Maratha states seeking small territorial gains on the west coast. In 1778 fresh opportunities for intervention presented themselves when a claimant to the authority of the peshwa, or titular leader of the Marathas, sought Bombay's support. Hastings backed intervention, believing that it would enable the British to establish a dominant influence over the Marathas. Bengal troops were assembled to cross northern India in support of Bombay's efforts. Questions of influence over Indian states seemed to Hastings to become urgent with the entry of France into the American War of Independence in 1778. French diplomats were believed to be already active, and in January 1781 the first French expeditionary force arrived in India.

Unhappily for Hastings, projects for limited operations to assert British influence were engulfed in a series of wars that threatened the stability of British India. Bombay's intervention in Maratha affairs ended in the defeat of their army. In spite of Hastings's efforts to win over some of the Maratha powers, they combined against the British and in 1780 extended the alliance to include other states normally hostile to one another, Hyderabad and Mysore. Mysore was by far the most dangerous enemy. In 1780 its troops routed British armies outside Madras and the French were able to land forces to co-operate with Mysore.

Hastings took some credit for the diplomacy that broke up the formidable Indian coalition opposing him, for directing operations by the Bengal army that forced the Maratha states into a peace concluded in 1783, and for sending money, supplies, and troops on a very large scale from Bengal to Madras, thus enabling the Mysore forces to be pushed back and the French to be contained. With some justification, Hastings saw himself as the saviour of the British empire in India, in sharp contrast with those who had lost an empire in America.

Nevertheless, the scale of the wars did Hastings great damage. Massive military exertions put a huge strain on the resources of Bengal. Its government went heavily into deficit. Virtually no funds were available for trade for some years, while some Indian costs were passed back to Britain, causing an acute financial crisis for the East India Company, which eventually had to call for aid from the state. Instead of being an asset for Britain, India was becoming a liability. Hastings was blamed for this. He was accused of being a warmonger with a lust for conquest. While he certainly had no ambitions for conquest, he was vulnerable to accusations that his intervention in Maratha affairs had been reckless and provocative.

Benares and Oudh, 1781

The needs of the war affected Hastings's dealings with the company's dependants and allies in northern India. These too damaged his reputation. During the eighteenth century the rulers of Benares had carved out a domain for themselves which came under British authority in 1775 by an arrangement carried by Hastings's opponents against him. Chet Singh, the raja of Benares, was required to pay a subsidy which, in line with the company's increasing needs, Hastings forced him to augment. On the pretext that he was evading legitimate demands, Hastings proposed to exact a large fine from him on a personal visit in 1781. The raja's retainers resisted the demand and forced Hastings to flee from the city. With considerable coolness he organized military measures to crush the uprising and eventually imposed a settlement that fully incorporated Benares into British territory. The episode left, however, a strong impression that Hastings had acted tyrannically as well as subjecting himself to needless risks.

At Benares in 1781 Hastings also tried to settle the company's relations with Oudh, its major ally in northern India. Since 1765 the wazirs of Oudh had been obliged to maintain British troops in their territory and to pay subsidies for them. The number of troops increased, as did the size of the subsidy required from Oudh. The wazir proved to be extremely adept at preventing the British from getting access to his resources and thus fell heavily into arrears with his subsidy. In 1781 Hastings tried to clear off these arrears, which were urgently needed for the war effort, by forcing the wazir to resume alienations of land revenue and by confiscating a large hoard of treasure in the possession of his mother and grandmother, the begums of Oudh. British troops stormed the begums' palaces in a largely ineffectual search for treasure. Again, Hastings appeared to have acted with a ruthless high-handedness.

Hastings in private life and as a patron

As governor-general, Hastings lived either in a house to which his offices were attached, rented for him in Calcutta, or in the ‘garden house’ that he had built for himself at Alipore, just outside the city. Those who visited the Alipore house described it as 'most superbly fitted up with all that unbounded affluence can display' (Grier, 30). If he and his wife spent lavishly, he had little taste for public display. A slight figure, 5 feet 6 inches high and weighing 8 stone 10 pounds in his fifties, he dressed without ostentation and was abstemious in food and drink. He seemed shy and reserved in public. 'I neither drink, game, nor give my vacant hours to music, and but a small portion of them to other relaxations of society', Hastings wrote towards the end of his governorship. He then went on to describe his main relaxations as literary, encouraging accomplished British linguists to make translations from Indian texts (letter to J. Scott, 24 Nov 1784, BL, Add. MS 29129, fol. 270). Hastings rightly regarded the translation of the Bhagavad Gita by Charles Wilkins, for which he wrote a memorable preface (Letter to Nathaniel Smith, The Bhagvat-geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon, 1785), as the crowning achievement of his patronage. In spite of his disclaimer, Hastings was also a patron of Indian music. He employed Indian musicians and was said himself to sing what were called ‘Hindostannie airs’ 'perfectly well' (Woodfield, 196). He collected Indian paintings and was extremely generous to European painters: William Hodges travelled in India under his patronage and Zoffany received several rich commissions from him. He sent young employees of the East India Company on missions to territories largely unknown to Europeans, such as Bhutan, Tibet, or Vietnam, not only in search of commercial opportunities, but to gather and disseminate information about their peoples. Hastings's role as patron of the arts and learning, which laid the foundations for the Asiatic Society of Bengal of 1784, is evidence not only of the sophistication of his taste but also of his sense of what was appropriate to the holder of what he regarded as now one of the most important offices in the British empire.

Resignation, 1785

By 1785 Hastings had seen war give way to peace for all parts of British India. His standing at home had, however, deteriorated. He was widely held to be responsible for the extent of the wars. Since 1781 Philip Francis had been doing his utmost to discredit him and to propagate alternative views about the governance of India. Francis gained success with politicians who were in opposition to the government that had been giving Hastings support for the last few years. Most portentously for the future, Francis's arguments about what had been happening in Bengal and what should be done in future made a favourable impression on Edmund Burke, who was giving increasing attention to India. Committees of the House of Commons, dominated by Burke and by Henry Dundas, another formidable politician who was beginning to take a serious interest in India, produced reports generally hostile to Hastings. Burke frequently denounced Hastings in extravagant terms in parliamentary speeches. When the old government fell in 1782, it was common ground for the administrations that succeeded it that there was a crisis in the government of India. Peace, reform, and retrenchment must be imposed on the company, and Hastings must be removed. Hastings's support in the company meant that he could defy orders for his recall, but his willingness to continue serving was evaporating. In January 1784 illness had forced his wife to leave India, a separation that he found very taxing. A year later, in failing health and convinced that he had little to hope for from the new administration of William Pitt the younger, he resigned and sailed from Bengal on 7 February 1785.


Hastings landed at Plymouth on 13 June 1785, after an absence from Britain of over sixteen years. He immediately set about trying to realize the objective that he had long set himself, the recovery of the Daylesford estate for the Hastings family. After three years of negotiations he was successful, acquiring 550 acres and a ruined house. He commissioned a new house, designed for him by Samuel Pepys Cockerell, and he laid out gardens and pleasure grounds. On 29 June 1791 he moved into his new house. By then, however, he had spent some £60,000. This was greatly in excess of what he could realistically afford. He had made a considerable fortune in India, sending more than £220,000 to Britain during the period of his governorship, most of it probably acquired by perquisites of office and by private trade in the first years of his return to Bengal. Even before he reached Britain, he had, however, with characteristic generosity and lack of financial prudence permitted most of this to be spent on gifts to his family and others, and in payments to his agents, who were trying to frustrate efforts to remove him. Even in favourable circumstances, it is hard to see how he could afford to live in Daylesford.

It soon became apparent that circumstances would be far from favourable. Hastings had not unreasonable expectations of acclaim and honours on his return. He was in fact to meet attacks which culminated with his being put on trial. The trial began in 1788 and lasted until he was acquitted in 1795.

Impeachment and trial, 1787–1795

Unfortunately for Hastings, Edmund Burke, whose passionate concern for what he saw as gross misgovernment in British India had focused on Hastings, was not prepared to let him go. Burke believed that the East India Company was laying India waste by rapacious policies within its own provinces, by the exploitation of its allies, and by its wars. He held Hastings to be responsible for all this. Whatever may be thought about his judgement, there can be no question of Burke's sincerity or of his lack of ulterior motive. He stood to gain neither personally nor politically by what seemed to be a forlorn attempt to make an example of the former governor-general. Burke was now in opposition to the Pitt ministry, and Indian policies for which he had previously been responsible were held to have done much to ensure Pitt's victory. So forlorn did Burke's attempt seem that Hastings appears seriously to have underestimated the danger that he was in when in 1786 Burke produced charges for an impeachment to be voted by the House of Commons and then to be heard by the House of Lords. On 1 and 2 May Hastings delivered a hastily compiled defence. Characteristically, he refused to admit that there was a case to answer or to plead his great services in mitigation of any faults. The first charge, which related to the Rohilla War, was thrown out by the Commons, but the second, on Hastings's dealings with the raja of Benares, was passed, as were others introduced in the 1787 session of parliament. On 10 May 1787 Hastings was formally impeached.

Burke's wholly unexpected success seems to have been largely due to the attitude towards Hastings of Pitt and most members of his administration. Although Hastings had some fervent admirers, notably George III, ministers did not wish to be identified with him, and they waited for expressions of opinion by ordinary members of parliament. In 1786 and 1787 the House of Commons and a wider public was very inclined to take a high line on moral issues such as the evils of the slave trade. Burke was able to present Hastings's record in India as such an issue. Uncommitted members together with Pitt and his colleagues clearly thought that there was a case to answer and voted for the impeachment.

The case was presented in Westminster Hall in orations taking several days by Burke himself, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and by Charles Fox and other opposition politicians. The orations were followed by the examination of witnesses and documentary evidence. Huge crowds attended the early sessions of the trial, which was regarded as a great public spectacle. For Hastings, who could never concede that he deserved other than the gratitude of his country, the ordeal must have been unendurable. He cultivated a resigned stoicism, seeing himself, as he had so often done in the past, as a heroic lone individual battling against malignant adversity. 'You may rest assured', he told one of his friends in India, 'that the worst shall affect me no more than the spray of the wave, or the Beating of the Tempest, can injure the Plumage of an Albatross in the wide Ocean' (letter to G. Thompson, 10 April 1788, BL OIOC, MS Eur. D 1083).

By 30 May 1791, when the prosecution closed their case, only four articles of charge had been heard, that relating to the raja of Benares, a charge of oppressive treatment of the begums of Oudh, allegations of personal corruption in accepting presents, and of political corruption in distributing contracts to perform services for the company on prodigal terms to favoured individuals. By the time the prosecution case ended, few could doubt that the tide was running in Hastings's favour. His lawyers effectively emasculated allegations about presents by objections to the most important evidence. Effective press campaigns were mounted in his favour, extolling his virtues and ridiculing the prosecution. In the new climate of opinion of a more assertive nationalism in reaction to the French Revolution, empire came increasingly to be seen as part of Britain's greatness rather than as a cause of shame. Hastings's claims to have been the saviour of empire were therefore viewed increasingly sympathetically. In 1791 Hastings delivered a relatively brief statement on his own behalf, and his counsel then took two more years to reply to the prosecution's case. The 1794 session of the trial was taken up by more prosecution speeches, including a nine-day concluding speech by Burke. In 1795 the Lords gave judgment. Twenty-nine peers delivered verdicts. In every case a large majority voted ‘not guilty’, the largest number voting against him on any count being six.

Assessment of Hastings's career

The stark legal alternatives of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ are an inappropriate basis for any assessment of a career as complex as Hastings's. It is impossible to endorse Burke's extravagantly vituperative depiction of him in terms such as 'the captain-general of iniquity'. Few would now believe that he deserved impeachment, let alone being found guilty. Those likely to be hostile to him because of their dislike of British imperialism in India still find it difficult to see how he could be convicted on a prosecution that assumed the continuation of empire; for them he is being made a scapegoat for a rotten system. On the other hand, equally unsustainable is the tendency in much writing until quite recently which identifies Hastings's cause with the cause of empire in India against its liberal and later against its Indian nationalist critics and denies that he had any significant case to answer, beyond some minor blemishes committed in a good cause. Strictly within the terms argued out in the impeachment, Hastings was vulnerable to accusations of high-handedness in Benares and Oudh, he had accumulated a fortune by methods that the new official morality of the late eighteenth century did not sanction, and he had undoubtedly used contracts as a form of patronage.

Any assessment of him in terms that go beyond those of the impeachment must recognize Hastings's exceptional qualities of mind. He brought a creative intelligence of a very high order to Indian government. He also showed an appreciation of Indian culture and a regard for individual Indian people most unusual in any British official in high office at any time. This closeness to Indians had its harsh as well as its benevolent sides, epitomized in his dealings with the city of Benares, whose raja he drove out in 1781 but the greatest of whose Hindu temples he endowed with a ‘music-house’. Partly in reaction to him, British administration in India would be more closely bound by rules and more distant from Indians.

Hastings's government can in general be seen as a mixture of benevolence and harshness writ large. He professed his desire 'to rule this people with ease and moderation' (Gleig, 1.404), but he fully recognized the difficulty of reconciling his government's 'primary exigencies with those which in all States ought to take place of every other concern, the interests of the people who are subjected to its authority' (ibid., 2.149). His primary exigency was to raise money, through revenue assessments, duties on monopolized commodities, and subsidies paid by the company's allies. In reality he lacked the knowledge and the means to extract as much as he felt that British needs required, but the pressure to extract what he could left its mark on his administration, especially in its later years, when he faced the demands of ever more expensive wars.

After the acquittal

The impeachment left Hastings with bills of over £70,000, which he had no means of paying unless he sold Daylesford. The East India Company gave him an annuity backdated to 1785—that is, to when he had left India—and an interest-free loan. This did not clear his accumulated debts, nor provide him with what he regarded as an adequate income. He continued to live beyond his means and to contract new debts, in spite of further help from the East India Company, for the rest of his life.

After his acquittal in 1795 Hastings lived for another twenty-three years. Most of that time was spent at Daylesford, where he lived the life of a country gentleman, engaged in local affairs and farming that part of the estate that he kept in his own hands. He continued to read extensively and, as he had done for much of his life, to write verse. Visits were made to London and to the houses of friends, nearly always connections from India. Friends were received at Daylesford in return. Hastings frequently confessed to being content with domesticity and with rural life. No doubt he was, but frustration sometimes broke through. He then confessed that he found his life 'inconceivably dull' and that, were a return to public life possible, he would not 'cast a reflective thought on my wheat, turnips or sheep' (letters to D. Anderson, 6, 8 June 1800, BL, Add. MS 45418, fols. 98, 100).

Public employment never came again, but at least in the last years of his life Hastings received some public recognition. In 1813 he was asked to give evidence to the House of Commons on the renewal of the East India Company's charter. When he finished, 'all the members by one simultaneous impulse rose with their heads uncovered, and stood in silence, till I passed the door of their chamber' (Gleig, 3.460). He received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University and was made a privy councillor. Had he known, he would no doubt have derived further comfort from the apprehension of those preparing for publication the impeachment speeches of the long-dead Edmund Burke that public opinion had swung strongly to Hastings's side. In the summer of 1818 Hastings complained of swelling in his throat, which eventually prevented him from swallowing anything except water. Emaciated and in much pain, he died in the evening of 22 August in his eighty-sixth year. He was buried in Daylesford churchyard, probably on 9 September. A monument to him was placed inside the church. His wife inherited Daylesford. Showing, as she had always done, much greater financial acumen than her late husband, she continued to live there until her own death in 1837.


  • G. R. Gleig, Memoirs of the Rt. Hon Warren Hastings, 3 vols. (1841)
  • K. Feiling, Warren Hastings (1954)
  • P. J. Marshall, The impeachment of Warren Hastings (1965)
  • P. J. Marshall, ‘The personal fortune of Warren Hastings’, Trade and conquest: studies on the rise of British dominance in India (1993)
  • P. J. Marshall, ‘The personal fortune of Warren Hastings: Hastings in retirement’, Trade and conquest: studies on the rise of British dominance in India (1993)
  • P. J. Marshall, ‘Warren Hastings as patron and scholar’, Statesmen, scholars and merchants: essays in eighteenth-century history presented to Dame Lucy Sutherland, ed. A. Whiteman and others (1973)
  • The letters of Warren Hastings to his wife, ed. S. C. Grier [H. C. Gregg] (1905)
  • M. E. M. Jones, Warren Hastings in Bengal, 1772–4 (1918)
  • P. Moon, Warren Hastings and British India (1947)
  • L. S. Sutherland, The East India Company in eighteenth century politics (1952)
  • S. Weitzman, Warren Hastings and Philip Francis (1929)
  • I. Woodfield, ‘“The Hindostannie air”: English attempts to understand Indian music in the late eighteenth century’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 119 (1994), 189–211
  • G. Larken, ‘The unknown cousin: Warren Hastings and Barbara Gardiner’, Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, 72–3 (1977–8), 107–18
  • P. J. Marshall, The British discovery of Hinduism in the eighteenth century (1970)
  • P. J. Marshall, Bengal—the British bridgehead: eastern India, 1740–1828 (1987), 2/2 of The new Cambridge history of India, ed. G. Johnson and others
  • R. B. Barnett, North India between empires: Awadh, the Mughals and the British, 1720–1801 (1980)
  • M. Archer, India and British portraiture, 1770–1825 (1979)
  • A. M. Khan, The transition in Bengal, 1756–1775: a study of Saiyid Muhammad Reza Khan (1969)
  • BL, Warren Hastings MSS, Add. MSS 28973–29236, 39871, 41606–41611
  • BL, David Anderson MSS, Add. MSS 45417–45440
  • BL OIOC, George N. Thompson MSS, MS Eur. D 1083
  • BL, Add. MS 18469, fols. 20–30


  • BL, corresp. and MSS relating to trial, Add. MSS 17061–17062, 16261–16267
  • BL, corresp. and papers, Add. MSS 28973–29236, 39871–39904
  • BL, corresp., Add. MSS 63090, 63104
  • BL, estate, family, literary corresp. and MSS, Add. MSS 41606–41611, 39073, 39076, 39873
  • BL OIOC, corresp. and papers, home misc. series
  • BL OIOC, papers, Eur MS D 1190
  • Glos. RO, letters and MSS relating to estates
  • Lincoln's Inn, London, MSS on trial
  • NAM, MSS
  • National Archives of India, New Delhi, official papers
  • NL Scot., journal of tour of Scotland
  • Parl. Arch., shorthand notebooks of his trial; additional shorthand notebook for his trial
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, James Ford Bell Library, solicitor's briefs for trial
  • BL, corresp. with David Anderson, Add. MSS 45417–45420, 45433
  • BL, corresp. with earls of Liverpool, loan 72
  • BL, letters to Lord North, Add. MS 61685
  • BL, letters to Laurence Sulivan, Stephen Sulivan, and Lord North, RP 360 [copies]
  • BL, letters to George Vansittart, Add. MS 48370
  • BL OIOC, corresp. with George Bogle, Eur MS E 226
  • BL OIOC, letters to William Harwood, Eur MS D 566
  • BL OIOC, corresp. with Randolph Marriott and Elizabeth Marriott, Eur MS C 133
  • Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Lord Macartney
  • Bodl. Oxf., corresp. with Laurence Sulivan
  • Bodl. Oxf., his wife's legal MSS
  • CKS, letters to William Pitt
  • Hunt. L., letters to Sir Charles Hastings
  • JRL, corresp. with Richard Johnson
  • Mitchell L., Glas., corresp. with George Bogle
  • Mount Stuart Trust Archives, Isle of Bute, letters to Lord Hastings
  • priv. coll., letters to Lord Lansdowne
  • Yale U., Farmington, Lewis Walpole Library, account book of R. Shawe, solicitor for the defence in his trial


  • J. Reynolds, oils, 1766–8, NPG [see illus.]
  • T. Kettle, oils, 1772, Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
  • T. Kettle, oils, 1774–5, Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta
  • T. Kettle, oils, 1774–5, NPG
  • gouache, 1782, BL
  • J. Seton, mezzotint, 1784, BL OIOC
  • J. Seton, oils, 1784, Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
  • J. Zoffany, oils, 1784 (with Prince Jawon Bakht), Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
  • A. Devis, oils, 1784–5, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi
  • attrib. A. W. Devis, oils, 1784–1785, Government House, Calcutta
  • J. Zoffany, oils, 1784–7 (with Mrs Hastings), Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta; see illus. in Hastings, Marian (1747–1837)
  • T. Lawrence, pastel drawing, 1786, NPG
  • R. Cosway, ivory miniature, 1787, NPG
  • O. Humphry, ivory miniature, 1789, V&A
  • T. Banks, bust, 1790, BL OIOC
  • G. Stubbs, oils, 1791, Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta
  • G. Romney, oils, 1795, BL OIOC
  • L. F. Abbott, oils, 1796, NPG
  • W. Beechey, oils, 1806
  • J. J. Masquerier, oils, 1806, Oriental Club, London
  • P. Rouw, wax medallion, 1806, NPG
  • T. Lawrence, oils, exh. RA 1811, NPG
  • J. Flaxman, marble statue, 1823, India Office, London
  • J. Bacon jun., marble bust, Westminster Abbey, London
  • group portrait, oils (with the nawab of Murshidabad), Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta

Wealth at Death

none; technically insolvent: Marshall, ‘Personal fortunes’

mortgaged Daylesford estate for £24,000 to wife; had other debts; lived on annuity from the East India Company that ended on death

British Library, Oriental and India Office Collections