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Impey

Impey, Sir Elijah, Knight, was born at Hammersmith in 1732, and educated at Westminster and Cambridge, where he took high honours. In 1774 he was sent out to Bengal as first Chief Justice under the new Regulating Act, which imperfectly defined his jurisdiction. On his arrival the quarrel between Warren Hastings and Nuncomar had reached its culminating point, and the latter was brought to trial before Impey on a charge of forgery, and was convicted and hanged. Sir P. Francis accused the judge of unwarrantably extending his jurisdiction and of great harshness and injustice towards the prisoner. These aspersions were confirmed by the decision of Impey in favour of Hastings in the dispute as to his resignation, and by the unjustifiable way in which he mixed himself up in the affairs of Chait Singh. He was recalled in 1786, and defended himself at the bar of the House of Commons with such effect that the motion for his impeachment was rejected. In 1789 he resigned and, entering Parliament, sat for New Romney until 1796, but took no part in public affairs. He died at Newick, in Sussex, in 1809. Sir J. F. Stephen has recently vindicated his memory from Macaulay's attacks.