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WARREN HASTINGS. 4]

that all the letters relating to it should run in his name. He began
at the same time, to revolve vast plans of conquest and dominion’,
plans which he lived to see realised, though not by himself. His
project was to form subsidiary alliances with the native princes,
particularly with those of Oude and Berar, and thus to make Britain
the paramount power in India. While he was meditating these
great designs, arrived the intelligence that he had ceased to be
Governor-General, that his resignation had been accepted, that
Wheler was coming out immediately, and that, till Wheler arrived,
the chair was to be filled by Clavering.

Had Hastings still been in a minority, he would probably have
retired without a struggle; but he was now the real master of
British India, and he was not disposed to quit his high place. He
asserted that he had never given any instructionslwhich could
warrant the steps taken at home. What his instructions had been,
he owned he had forgotten. If he had kept a copy of them he
had mislaid it. But he was certain that he had repeatedly de-
clared to the Directors that he would not resign. He could not
see how the court, possessed of that declaration from himself, could
receive his resignation from the doubtful hands of an agent. If
the resignation were invalid, all the proceedings which were
founded on that resignation were null, and Hastings was still
Governor-General.

He afterwards aflirmed that, though his agents had not acted in
conformity with his instructions, he would nevertheless have held
himself bound by their acts, if Clavering had not attempted to
seize the supreme power by violence. Whether this assertion were
or were not true, it cannot be doubted that the imprudence of
Clavering gave Hastings an advantage. The General sent for the
keys of the fort and of the treasury, took possession of the records,
and held a council at which Francis attended. Hastings took the
chair in another apartment, and Barwell sat with him. Each of
the two parties had a plausible show of right. There was no
authority entitled to their obedience within fifteen thousand miles.
It seemed that there remained no way of settling the dispute except
an appeal to arms; and from such an appeal Hastings, confident of
his influence over his countrymen in India, was not inclined to
shrink. He directed the ofiicers of the garrison at Fort William and
of all the neighbouring stations to obey no orders but his. At the
same time, with admirable judgment, he offered to submit the case

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