PUBLIC FAILURE AND PRIVATE LOSS
THOUGH peace reigned once more in Northern India and one by one the many dangers threatening the British hold on India were receding, there was as yet but little diminution in the Governor-General's load. At the same time as he was disputing with Macartney over the direction of policy he was still engaged in the Sisyphean task of trying to roll the rock of the Oude alliance up the mountain created by native misrule and the misconduct of English officials. He thought he had succeeded at Chunar. He was mistaken. That was only the beginning of his troubles. Oude was indeed to Warren Hastings what the Irish problem has been to so many British statesmen. It remained always with him defying solution; producing endless friction and controversy; causing repeated splits in his government; absorbing an immense amount of time and effort; making him many enemies and no friends; bringing him endless vexation without compensating glory; and, at the last, contributing very materially to his own impeachment.
No one has yet disentangled from the confusion of conflicting accounts the exact truth about what followed the Treaty of Chunar. Perhaps no one ever will as the story seems hopelessly embedded in intrigue and falsehood. Hastings had very definite views about what was going on and who was to blame and why, but we cannot be sure that he was always right. His sources of information were the partial reports of interested parties, the Vizier, the Vizier's minister, and the British Resident. However, it is hardly likely that he would have laid the blame quite so positively on the British agents without some cause. Wherever the truth may lie, a certain melancholy luster surrounds his unremitting efforts to cure this constant running sore. The task of debtcollecting is always odious; yet, while Hastings seldom shirked the task, he did not lose sight of the fact that there were other and higher ends of policy to be served, and his failure -- for such it must be judged -- was more honorable than the success of some of his successors when they tackled the same kind of problem.
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Publication information: Book title: Strange Destiny:A Biography of Warren Hastings. Contributors: A. Mervyn Davies - Author. Publisher: Putnam. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1935. Page number: 306.
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