The Big Idea 3
some seven years of exhaustive and exhausting trial, Warren Hastings was acquitted, but his health, his fortune and his career in India were destroyed. He retired to Daylesford, the family home, which Hastings had been able to buy back.
All very trying for Warren, but this trial is a Key Moment in History, for while the Radical speechifiers were questioning Warren's colonial ethics, they were forced to construct some sort of ethical framework for colonial rule, some Natural Law which the ex-Governor (and by association, Peel's government) had offended.
It is here, in the rhetorical exercises of jousting politicians, that the Big Idea begins to emerge - the responsibility to take civilisation to the natives, Christianity to the heathen and, eventually, cricket.
And Indian laws and customs? - they mattered not a jot. To this day, Hastings is almost the only British Governor still respected in India.