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50 WARREN HASTINGS.

served with writs, calling on them to appear before the King’s
justices, and to answer for their public acts. This was too much.
Hastings, with just scorn, refused to obey the call, set at liberty

the persons wrongfully detained by the Court, and took measures

for resisting the outrageous proceedings of the sheriffs’ ofiicers,
if necessary, by the sword. But he had in view another device
which might prevent the necessity of an appeal to arms. He
was seldom at a loss for an expedient; and he knew Impey well.
The expedient, in this case, was a very simple one, neither more
nor less than a bribe. Impey was, by act of parliament, a judge,
independent of the government of Bengal, and entitled to a salary

of eight thousand a.-year. Hastings proposed to make him also a-

judge in the Company’s service, removable at the pleasure of the
government of Bengal; and to give him, in that capacity, about
eight thousand a-year more. It was understood that, in con-
sideration of this new salary, Impey would desist from urging the
high pretensions of his court. If he did urge these pretensions,
the government could, at a moment’s notice, eject him from the
new place which had been created for him. The bargain was
struck; Bengal was saved; an appeal to force was averted; and
the Chief Justice was rich, quiet, and infamous.

Of Impey’s conduct it is unnecessary to speak. It was of a piece
with almost every part of his conduct that comes under the notice
of history. No other such judge has dishonoured the English
ermine, since J etferies drank himself to death in the Tower. But
we cannot agree with those who have blamed Hastings for this
transaction. The case stood thus. The negligent. manner in
which the Regulating Act had been framed put it in the power of
the Chief Justice to throw a great country into the most dreadful
confusion. He was determined to use his power to the utmost,
unless he was paid to be still; and Hastings consented to pay him.
The necessity was to be deplored. It is also to be deplored that
pirates should be able to exact ransom, by threatening to make
their captives walk the plank. But. to ransom a captive from
pirates has always been held a humane and Christian act ; and it
would be absurd to charge the payer of the ransom with cor-
rupting the virtue of the corsair. This, we seriously think, is a
not unfair illustration of the relative position of Impey, Hastings,
and the people of India. Whether it was right in Impey to
demand or to accept a price for powers which, if they really

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