University Archives


British East India Company Commission Signed by Governor-General of India Francis Rawdon-Hastings

A British East India Company commission signed by Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings (1754-1826), then in his role as Governor-General of India, as "Hastings" at lower right. Countersigned at lower left by an unknown official, possibly as "C: l: Doyle". Signed at Fort William in Bengal, British India (modern day Kolkata, India) on January 10, 1818. Partly printed and partly handwritten on watermarked bifold paper with an embossed paper seal affixed at lower right. Hastings's enormous signature measures 3" x 1.5" alone. The inner pages are blank. Docketed on the outer page. With expected paper folds, with scattered professional repairs along these folds. Isolated edge darkening. Else near fine. Measures 15.25" x 10" folded.

This document appointed one "A. Thomson Gent" to the "Rank of Second Lieutenant in the King's Army in the East Indies".

Hastings, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, enjoyed an exceptional military and political career. He served in America as an officer in a British infantry regiment from 1774-1781, seeing action at Bunker Hill, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, and South Carolina. After his service in the American campaign, Hastings served in Flanders. Hastings served as Governor-General of India between 1813-1823, where he was instrumental in winning the Third Anglo-Maratha War. He served as Governor-General of Malta between 1824 and his death.

The British East India Company was an incredibly powerful joint stock company and a major force in British politics. Established in 1600, the British East India Company trafficked in such lucrative commodities as tea, opium, spices, silk, indigo, and salt. Company trade routes to modern day India, Afghanistan, China, and southeastern Asia facilitated the expansion of the British Empire.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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