Calcutta, the first city of British India, 16th Aug, 1780. The first governor General, Warren Hastings, returned early to his residence at No. 7, Hastings Street. He set down at his large Secretariat Table, his slight frame bent in thought. He was in a pensile mood and was perhaps recollecting his difficult orphaned childhood and his happier school days at Westminster School where he made the acquaintance, amongst other contemporaries, of Sir Elijah Impey, the future Chief Justice of Bengal. On this particular hot and humid night, he recalled the emotions which he felt on a cold January morning, 30 years ago, when at the age of 18, as a “writer of the East India Company”, he stood on the deck of the Indiaman, and watched the shores of England recede.
Nine and a half months later, he set foot on the banks of the Hooghly at the Kalpi anchorage, some 50 miles downstream from the British settlement of Calcutta, then barely 50 years old. He had come a long way since then. He took up his quill and in the flickering lamplight began to write his last will and testament. He put it away carefully in his camping chest. He then composed a letter to his wife, his dearest Marian, the former Baroness Von Imhoff whom he had purposely left in Chinsura under the care of his good friend, the Hon. Johannes Mathias Ross, the head of the Dutch factory there. The letter was to be handed to her next morning in the event of his death.
Warren Hasting came to India by a boat named