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"To the Honourable Sir Charles Chambers, Kt., &c. &c., and the Honourable Sir John Peter Grant, Kt., &c. &c., Judges of His Majesty's Supreme Court of. Judicature, Bombay.
"My Lords,—We, the undersigned members of the several tribes composing the native community subject to the jurisdiction of his Majesty's Supreme Court of Judicature under the Bombay Presidency, beg leave respectfully to present ourselves before your Honourable Bench, for the purpose of offering a last mournful tribute of affection to the memory of your late distinguished colleague, our gracious Chief Justice, the Honourable Sir Edward West. We are conscious that it is a novelty for the people to come forward to address a bench of English Judges on such a subject: it is no less a novelty (actually witnessed by many of us) to be rescued, in the short space of twenty-nine years since the establishment of a regular court of British law in this island, from the evils of an inefficient and irregular administration of justice which previously existed.
"Grateful for such advantages, we resort to those means which alone are open to a community constituted like ours, to express publicly our sense of them; and, indeed, we should justly merit the reproach of want of feeling, did we now silently confine within our own breasts the grief, the unfeigned sorrow, we experience in the event which has deprived us of him at whose hands those advantages have been so largely extended and confirmed to us. In expressing to your Lordships our sorrow for the death of Sir Edward West, we seek a balm for our sufferings, and would fain hope thereby to alleviate the distress with which you must contemplate your earthly separation from a colleague so able and indefatigable, so undaunted and upright.
"The time is past, when any commendation of ours, or, indeed, any earthly honours, can be of value to him, whom the joys and sorrows of this world can no longer affect; and who is, therefore, equally removed beyond the reach of human
censure and of human applause. But we should deem it an
omission of duty, as well as of gratitude, did we not come forward, now that our motives cannot be misconstrued, to mark in the strongest manner the deep sense we entertain of his virtuous administration. That spirit of even-handed justice which prompted his decisions, — the unconquerable assiduity and unshaken firmness which he evinced in discharging the functions of his high office, — the unshrinking zeal which animated him in making salutary reforms, — but, above all, the high principle of independence and integrity which led him to sacrifice so much of his private happiness to the conscientious performance of his public duties, — these, my Lords, are the virtues which have grown upon our gratitude, since every day's succeeding experience teaches us to appreciate their value.
"In briefly noticing the most prominent features in the administration of Sir Edward West, we cannot but dwell with grateful delight on the easy access which that humane and honourable Judge at all times afforded to the poor and needy part of our countrymen. That he rendered the administration of lawless expensive to the inhabitants of this Presidency, thus throwing open to the poor the avenues of justice so long barred against them, is not the least solid advantage derived from acareer fertile in benefits. But, great and salutary as was this reform, it did not satisfy that glowing spirit of philanthropy, ever thoughtful to devise, and active to execute, what might lessen the distresses, or increase the happiness, of his fellow-creatures. Scrupulous in the discharge of his high functions as a Judge, which alone seemed labour too great even for his energetic mind, he found leisure, and had the condescension, to become the advocate of the indigent.
"But, amongst the many great favours received at the hands of Sir Edward West, that for which we would chiefly record our gratitude, is the manner in which, conjointly with your Lordships, he carried into execution the recent provision of the British legislature for admitting the natives of this country to sit on juries. The wise and conciliatory methods he took to give effect to the wishes of Parliament, — the condescension with which he conferred with every class of the native community, — the prudent deference he paid to all their national and religious feelings, — the zeal with which he laboured to overcome innumerable difficulties arising out of the multiform constitution of our body, and the solicitude he displayed to set the intention of the enactment in its true light, — are fresh in the recollection of us all. To these exertions it is owing, that the natives of Bombay are now in the enjoyment of one of the greatest privileges of freemen.
"A knowledge of the virtuous and enlightened character of the late Chief Justice cannot fail to have prevailed throughout a large portion of our countrymen in India; but it has only been permitted to the inhabitants of this island to enjoy the immediate fruits of his distinguished judicial administration. However imperfect any further addition may prove to this deep record of our sorrow for his demise, and respect for his memory, we beg to announce that we have raised a sum of money, which it is designed to make over to the Native Education Society, to be vested by them in government securities, for the endowment of one or more scholarships, and the distribution of one or more annual prizes, according to the amount of interest realised from the total fund, to be denominated 'Chief Justice West's Scholarships and Prizes' Engaged as the late Judge was himself so earnestly in improving the condition of the natives, we humbly hope that we have devised the most durable and appropriate method of perpetuating the grateful recollection of him among them, and training up our children to the proper discharge of those public duties to which he first showed them the way.
"With a firm reliance on the continued favour and kindness of your Lordships, we are, with the greatest respect, my Lords, your Lordships most obedient and most humble servants.
"Bombay, October 1."
(Signed by about one hundred and forty of the principal Hindoo, Parsees, and Mahommedan merchants and inhabitants.)
Sir Edward West's afflicted widow did not survive him quite two months. After having been, on the 4th of October, delivered of a son, who died in a few hours, she expired on the 16th of the same month, leaving a daughter between two and three years of age. She was loved and esteemed by all who knew her: her devotion to her parents and her husband formed the most striking traits of her very amiable character.
The materials for the foregoing Memoir have been derived from a private and authentic source.
THE RIGHT HON. CHARLES STANHOPE,
THIRD EARL OF HARRINGTON, VISCOUNT PETERSHAM, AND BARON HARRINGTON, CO. NORTHAMPTON; A KNIGHT GRAND CROSS OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS GUELPHIC ORDER, A PRIVY COUNSELLOR IN ENGLAND AND IRELAND, A GENERAL IN THE ARMY, COLONEL OF THE FIRST REGIMENT OF LIFE GUARDS, AND CONSTABLE OF WINDSOR CASTLE, A MEMBER OF THE CONSOLIDATED BOARD OF GENERAL OFFICERS, AND A COMMISSIONER OF THE ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE, AND OF THE ROYAL MILITARY ASYLUM, AND F. 8. A.
The Earl of Harrington was born March 20. 1753, and was the elder son of Charles, the second Earl, (who was also a General in the Army, and Colonel of the 2d Horse Guards,) by the Right Honourable Lady Caroline Fitzroy, eldest daughter of Charles, second Duke of Graflon, K. G.
His Lordship entered the army as Ensign in the Coldstream Guards, with the rank of Lieutenant, November 3. 1769. He obtained a company in the 29th Foot in 1773; and having joined that regiment on its return from America at the close of that year, had the command of the light company. General Sir William Howe having invented a set of manoeuvres for light infantry, seven light companies, among which was that commanded by.Lord Petersham, assembled for their practice at Salisbury, in the summer of 1774; and his Majesty inspected the battalion on Salisbury plain.
In 177* Lord Petersham was returned to Parliament on a vacancy for the borough of Thetford ; but the Parliament was