Memorial of Thomas Dean Pearse
St. Stephen’s School, Dum Dum, Kolkata
Date: 17 August 1880 Time: 5:30 am Location: Belvedere
Two shots broke the silence of the monsoon morning at Alipore, on the southern fringes of Calcutta (now Kolkata), but these were not ordinary gun shots but shots of a duel.
The shots were part of the infamous duel between Warren Hastings and Phillip Francis.
Hasting was appointed the Govern General by the directors of the East India Company. The directors also appointed a council of four members who enjoyed equal powers in the board as the governor general. Philip Francis was one of the four councils and always went against Hastings.
A conflict regarding the war with the Marathas lead to the duel between the two. Thursday, August 17 was the chosen date, and Belvedere was to be the venue; the time chosen for the encounter was half past five in the morning.
Both stood behind the mark and at the counting of one, two and three both fired. Francis fired first and missed his target while Hastings’ fire found its mark on his opponent’s right arm. Francis staggered and while attempting to sit, fell on the ground crying out he was a “dead man”. He recuperated within few days and attended the Council where both were civil in behaviour.