1776), mentioned that he was indebted to Impey for a draft act enlarging the powers of the supreme court, which he desired might be submitted to his majesty's ministers.
The project came to nothing for the moment. In July 1777 Sir John Clavering [q. v.] and Hastings brought before Impey's court their quarrel as to the validity of the resignation of the governor-generalship which Hastings's agent had, under a misconception, presented in London. Impey decided that Hastings had not resigned. In 1779 Hastings and Francis agreed to a temporary cessation of hostilities, and, in accordance with Francis's conditions, Impey's judicial power was seriously diminished. The government issued a proclamation informing the public that Impey's court had no jurisdiction over native landholders. Military force was employed, moreover, to resist precepts delivered for execution to the court's officers. Impey was prostrated by the humiliation, and the estrangement between him and Francis was intensified when the latter came before him as defendant in a case of criminal conversation, and was sentenced to pay damages amounting to fifty thousand rupees (6 March 1779). At the end of 1780, however, Francis went home, and the scheme of 1776 for the extension of the powers of the supreme court was revived, although no authorisation of the new arrangement had been received from home. The local courts were put under European control, and Impey was made president of the central court, with appellate and administrative authority over them all. He worked well and assiduously at his new duties, putting down abuses and drawing up a code of regulations which has influenced all later laws of civil procedure. His son states that he never enjoyed the extra salary attached to the new post. It is on record that he took the duty without making any preceding stipulation, and offered to serve gratuitously if the appointment should be disapproved of in London.
While on a tour of official inspection among the country courts in 1782, Impey, at Hastings's request, pushed on to Lucknow, where he lent the authority of his attestation to certain affidavits which the governor-general desired to put on record in order to provide evidence that the dowagers had lent themselves to the seditious proceedings of Chait Sinh, the mutinous raja of Benares (see under Hastings, Warren). Impey was well skilled in Persian and Hindustani, and his legal experience gave additional value to the declarations. But as the place was entirely beyond his jurisdiction, the chief justice could give no official character to the proceeding, and his action offered new grounds of attack on the part of the enemies of Hastings and himself.
Meanwhile Francis at home represented that Impey's conduct in enlarging the jurisdiction of his court contravened the letters patent—a vexatious charge, seeing that Chambers, who acted throughout with Impey, was not molested, and that the counsel whose opinion was taken on the question answered that Impey had committed no illegality. But Francis prevailed, and Impey was recalled to explain his conduct on 3 Dec. 1783. He embarked for England with his family on board the Worcester, East Indiaman. After a narrow escape from shipwreck, and a consequent change of vessels, the travellers landed in June 1784, and Impey settled for the time in Grosvenor Street, London.
A few days before Christmas 1787, when the proceedings against Warren Hastings had already begun, Sir Gilbert Elliot [q.v.], afterwards first earl of Minto, with the connivance of Burke, presented to the House of Commons six charges against Impey, which he strove to support in a long and laboured address. The chief gravamina were the matters connected with the trial and execution of Nand Kumar, and the exercise of extended judicial powers under the government of Bengal. On 4 Feb. 1788 a committee of the whole house discussed whether the accusations justified the impeachment of Impey. Impey appeared at the bar,and delivered,without notes, a speech in his own defence. He supported his arguments by a great number of clearly marshalled documents; and the printed report formed 179 octavo pages. On 9 May the house divided, and Elliot's motion was lost by 73 against 55 as regarded the first and most important count. Thereupon the impeachment was dropped.
In 1789 Impey resigned his office. In the following year he entered the House of Commons as M.P. for New Romney. He retained his seat till the dissolution in 1796, but took little or no part in the debates; he practically retired from public life after 1792. In that year he removed from a country house in Essex to Amesbury, Wiltshire, and became tenant to the Duke of Queensberry in a house once the resort of John Gay. Here he enjoyed the company of many old friends, including Mansfield, his former travelling-companion Popham, and his schoolfellow Sir R. Sutton. In 1794 Impey settled at Newick Park, Sussex, where he engaged in farming, and occupied himself in educating his sons. Visiting Paris at the peace of Amiens, he was received in the best society of the time; but was detained, by order of the first consul, after the rupture of the