Hastings, W. A narrative of the insurrection which happened in the Zemeedary of Banaris in the month of august 1781 , and of the transactions of the Governor-General in that district, with an appendix of authentic papers and affidavits. Printed by order of the Governor General.
Calcutta, Charles Wilkins Superintendant, 1782.3lvs, 70 (i), 213 pp. Large 4to. broad margins, half-title not included. spine reinforced by paper, contemporary boards.
A fine copy of this important document, in which Hastings set out to justify his actions against Chait SIngh, raja of Benares, and , the wazir of Oudh. Both princes had fallen in arrears with their payment to the British chest, and besides that, the raja had shown signs of disloyalty. In 1781 Hastings embarked upon an expedition to Benares to set things right. When confronted with Hastings'demans, the raja rose in insurrection. The British troops were routed, and Hastings barely escaped with his life. It took several expeditions to suppress the ensuing riots. The wazir proved less of an obstacle. He compiled fully with the Governor - General's demands. In order to obtain payment, however, Hastings had to put great pressure on the begum, the wazir's mother, who administrated her son's finances. She was accused of having part in the risings, and was made to pay a fine of over a million sterling. In anticipating of the disapproval, with which - he felt - his actions would be judged, Hastings compiled the Narrative. In it he provided factual evidence which proved the raja's disloyalty and clarified the course of events. When, in 1782 , his superiors called him to account, he did indeed find them in a severly reproving mood. In the course of the following process he was able - both by means of his personal defence and by the important documentary evidence of the Narrative- to reverse his adverse vein. In the end he was lent an extra-judicial sanction, and even gained praise for his actions. The value of the Narrative- apart from its importance as a historical document, leading up to the trials of the 1790's- is enhanced by the fact that it may be considered to be the first major historical publication, printed at the Honourable Company Press, Calcutta. Previous publications consisted in calendars, almanacs, administrative regulations, a religious treatise, a translation of a short Sanskrit text, and a Persian reader. Not in Diehl, Lowndes, The Bibliographer's manaul of English literature p. 883; Check- List of works know to have been printed in Calcutta 1777 - 99 no. 13. ( In G. Shaw, printing in Calcutta to 1800, Lodnon 1981). Shaw's description shows some discrepancies concerning the imprint and the size of the work, which is definitely 4to. though a large format, and not folio, as stated. (cf Lowndes). Very scarce.
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