Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/428

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Impey
Impey
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peace; he at length obtained a passport, and returned to Newick in July 1804. He died at Newick 1 Oct. 1809, and was buried in the family vault at Hammersmith.

Impey's foible was vanity; and a certain weakness of character led him to yield at times too readily to the commanding will and intellect of Hastings; but there is no sufficient reason to doubt the honesty of his intentions. He added little to his patrimony by his nine years of Indian service. Like Hastings, he surmounted by the help of a remarkably amiable temper many keen sorrows, and in spite of ill-health enjoyed life to the last. He was a good scholar, and some of the Latin verses preserved in the 'Life' are at least creditable. He was well versed in French, and he wrote and read Persian. His English style was nervous and manly. Both Impey and Hastings were water-drinkers.

Impey married on 18 Jan. 1768 Mary, daughter of Sir John Reade of Shipton Court, Oxfordshire. His eldest son, Michael, a major in the 64th foot, who had seen some service in the West Indies, was killed in a duel with Lieutenant Willis of his own regiment at Quebec on 1 Sept. 1801; he left a widow and five children. Impey's second son, John, became an admiral. Three younger sons, Elijah Barwell (1780-1849), Hastings (1784-1805), and Edward (b. 1785), were, like their father, king's scholars of Westminster. Elijah Barwell was elected to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1799 (B.A. 1803, M.A. 1806), and remained a student on the foundation till his death on 3 May 1849. He was a cornet in the 14th dragoons in 1808, but soon retired from the army, and devoted himself to literature. He published a volume of poems in 1811, 'Illustrations of German Poetry,' 1841, and a life of his father, 1846 (Welsh, Alumni Westm. p. 451). Hastings Impey, Sir Elijah's favourite son, and his brother Edward went to India as writers in 1800. The former died there 5 June 1805, and the latter returned to England in 1819 (ib. pp. 450, 452). A natural son, Archibald Elijah Impey (1766-1831), was educated at Tiverton, and as a king's scholar at Westminster from 1778. He graduated B.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1787 (M.A. 1791); was called to the bar of the `Inner Temple' in 1788; aided his father in his defence in 1788; was a commissioner of bankrupts; was commissioner for settling British claims on France under the treaty of peace of 4 May 1814; became a bencher of the Inner Temple in 1830, and, dying 9 July 1831, was buried in the Temple Church, where there is a monument to his memory, now in the triforium gallery of the round church. It was erected by his widow Sarah, who died 18 Nov. 1842 aged 65 (Gent. Mag. 1831, ii. 91; Welsh, Alumni Westm. p. 409; Benchers of the Inner Temple, 1883, p. 98).

A portrait of Sir Elijah by Zoffany is in the National Portrait Gallery. Another, by Tilly Kettle,was engraved by Carlos as frontispiece to the biography by his son. His letters and papers, including much of his correspondence with Hastings, were presented in 1846 by his son and biographer to the British Museum, and are numbered there Addit. MSS. 16259-70. Other parts of his correspondence with Hastings are among the Hastings papers in the Museum (MSS. Addit. 29136-93).

[Memoirs of Sir Elijah Impey, by his son, Elijah Barwell Impey, London, 1846, is a confused and controversial book, but does credit to the character of father and son. It was written to counteract the hostile view of Impey's character and conduct taken by Macaulay in his article on Warren Hastings. The Speech (Stockdale, London, 1788) is valuable for its appendices. The part played by Impey in Nand Kumar's trial is fully discussed in the Story of Nuncomar, by Sir J. Stephen, London, 1885, which is a powerful vindication of Impey; and the Trial of Nand Kumar, by H. Beveridge, Calcutta, 1886, which is adverse to Impey. Busteed (Echoes of Old Calcutta, 2nd edit.), while acknowledging the research shown by Mr. Beveridge, adopts the conclusion of Sir J. F. Stephen; see also Warren Hastings, by Sir A. C. Lyall, 1889.]

H. G. K.

IMPEY, JOHN (d. 1829), legal writer, was for over sixty years a member of the Inner Temple, although he practised as an attorney at 3 Inner Temple Lane, and was for many years, until 1813, one of the attorneys of the sheriff's court of London and Middlesex. John Thelwall [q. v.], the lecturer, spent three and a half years of his unsettled youth in his office, and acknowledged that Impey's 'only fault was swearing.' During the last three years of his life Impey lived in retirement at Hammersmith, where he died 14 May 1829. One W. J. Impey, who published 'Questions on the Practice of the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas,' may have been a son.

Impey's books contain the first systematic account of the practice of the two great common law courts, and he stood high as an authority on this subject even with the bench (Letter of Impey, 1797, Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 21507, fol. 311). He published:

  1. 'The New Instructor Clericalis, stating the Authority, Jurisdiction, and Practice of the Court of King's Bench,' London, 1782, 8vo; it reached a tenth edition in the author's