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WARREN HASTINGS. 37

his friends in the Council, mounted the scaffold with firmness, and
gave the signal to the executioner. The moment that the drop
fell, a howl of sorrow and despair rose from the innumerable
spectators. , Hundreds turned away their faces from the polluting
sight, fled with loud wailings towards the Hoogley, and plunged
into its holy waters, as if to purify themselves from the guilt of
having looked on such a crime. These feelings were not confined
to Calcutta. The whole province was greatly excited; and the
population of Dacca, in particular, gave strong signs of grief and
dismay.

Of Impey’s conduct it is impossible to speak too severely. We
have already said that, in our opinion, he acted unjustly in refusing
to respite Nuncomar. No rational man can doubt that he took
this course in order to gratify the Governor-General. If we had
ever had any doubts on that point, they would have been dispelled
by a letter which Mr. Gleig has published. Hastings, three or
four years later, described Impey as the man “to whose support
he was at one time indebted for the safety of his fortune, honour,
and reputation.” These strong words can refer only to the case
of N uncomar; and they must mean that Impey hanged Nuncomar
in order to support Hastings. It is, therefore, our deliberate
opinion that Impey, sitting as a judge, put a man unjustly to
death in order to serve a political purpose.

But we look on the conduct of Hastings in a somewhat diflerent
light. He was struggling for fortune, honour, liberty, all that
makes life valuable. He was beset. by rancorous and unprincipled
enemies. From his colleagues he could expect no justice. He
cannot be blamed for wishing to crush his accusers. He was
indeed bound to use only legitimate means for that end. But it
was not strange that he should have thought any means legitimate
which were pronounced legitimate by the sages of the law, by
men whose peculiar duty it was to deal justly between adversaries,
and whose education might be supposed to have peculiarly qualified
them for the discharge of that duty. Nobody demands from a
party the unbending equity of a judge. The reason that judges
are appointed is, that even a good man cannot be trusted to decide
a cause in which he is himself concerned. Not a day passes on
which an honest prosecutor does not ask for what none but a
dishonest tribunal would grant. It is too much to expect that

any man, when his dearest interests are at stake, and his strongest
r 3

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