Warren Hastings (1732-1818) by Richard Westmacott. Marble. The two figures on either side of Hastings are part of the piece. They represent, on the left, a Muslim reading a book, and on the right, a Brahman holding a palm manuscript. The group was originally located in the south portico of the Town Hall, Calcutta. Today it is located in the West Quadrangle of the Victoria Memorial. The statue of Hastings was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828, while the other figures were exhibited in 1829.

Photograph by Robert Freidus and Simon stock. Text by Freidus and George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]

Here is Thomas babbington Macaulay on Hastings:

Not only had the poor orphan retrieved the fallen fortunes of his line--not only had he repurchased the old lands, and rebuilt the old dwelling--he had preserved and extended an empire. He had founded a polity. He had administered government and war with more than the capacity of Richelieu. He had patronised learning with the judicious liberality of Cosmo. He had been attacked by the most formidable combination of enemies that ever sought the destruction of a single victim; and over that combination, after a struggle of ten years, he had triumphed. He had at length gone down to his grave in the fulness of age, in peace, after so many troubles, in honour, after so much obloquy.

Those who look on his character without favour or malevolence will pronounce that, in the two great elements of all social virtue, in respect for the rights of others, and in sympathy for the sufferings of others, he was deficient. His principles were somewhat lax. His heart was somewhat hard. But though we cannot with truth describe him either as a righteous or as a merciful ruler, we cannot regard without admiration the amplitude and fertility of his intellect, his rare talents for command, for administration, and for controversy, his dauntless courage, his honourable poverty, his fervent zeal for the interests of the State, his noble equanimity, tried by both extremes of fortune, and never disturbed by either.

Bibliography

Macaulay, Thomas Babbington. “Warren Hastings.” Originally published in the October 1841 Edinburgh Review. Project Gutenberg text.

Steggles, Mary Ann. Statues of the Raj. Putney, London: BACSA [British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia], 2000.


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Last modified 12 May 2011