Warren Hastings, who would become governor-general of Bengal, was born in Oxfordshire, England. His mother died shortly after his birth, and his father disappeared in the West Indies. Hastings was raised by an uncle and, after the uncle died, a relative who worked for the East India Company. In 1750, Hastings went to Calcutta to work for the East India Company. He spent 14 years in Bengal. While in India he married a woman who died shortly after the birth of their second child, probably in 1759. From 1772 to 1785 Hastings was second in command and then governor-general of Bengal. After he resigned, he moved back to England.
Hastings was charged with corruption in England in 1787. Philip Francis, whom Hastings had injured in a duel in 1780 in India, was most likely responsible for inciting the charges against him. The prosecution was led by Edmund Burke, and the trial lasted six years. Though Hastings was acquitted, the trial significantly depleted his financial resources.
Hastings had literary acquaintances in England, including Samuel Johnson. He had a lifelong interest in Indian literature and philosophy and encouraged Charles Wilkins to translate the Bhagavad Gita.