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JANUARY, 1858.


ART. I.1. General Report on the Administration of the several Presidencies and Provinces of British India during the Years 1855-56. Calcutta: 1857.

2. India and Europe compared, being a popular view of the present State and future Prospects of our Eastern Continental Empire. By Lieut.-General BRIGGS, F.R.S. London: 1857. 3. Statistical Papers, illustrated by Maps, relating to India, recently prepared and printed for the Court of Directors of the East India Company. Printed for the House of Commons: April, 1853.


THE instability of the British Empire in India is an idea so unfamiliar to the vast majority of our countrymen in the present generation, that if the events of the past year had not given to that expression a significance it never had before, the words would scarcely fall from the lips of an Englishman. than half a century has elapsed since the wars which established our military and political supremacy from the confines of Mysore to the North-western Provinces of Bengal, and expanded the governments of Clive and Warren Hastings into the empire of Lord Wellesley. The system of native alliances, which gives to the whole of India the aspect of a vast confederation under the control of our own paramount authority, has long been completed. In our own days we have seen the most formidable army which could disturb the peace of India, vanquished on the fields of Ferozeshah and Sobraon, and our dominions extended without opposition from the Indus to the Irrawaddy. The proud inscriptions which are wont to decorate the marble halls of Oriental palaces, seemed not inappropriately



to describe the sovereignty of that Company which had raised itself above the thrones of the East; whilst a nobler and more generous sentiment led us to believe that it is the glorious destiny of England to govern, to civilise, to educate, and to improve the innumerable tribes and races of men whom Providence has placed beneath her sceptre. Such were the impressions common to the minds of those who knew the marvellous tale of the Anglo-Indian Empire. Yet these, it must be confessed, were far less numerous than they ought to have been. To the mass of the people of England the highly artificial structure of the Indian government is a thing unknown; and to men engaged in the animated scenes of English public life, the forms of Indian administration are singularly unattractive. India has been regarded as a distant station for troops, as a provision for the younger sons of Scotch directors, as an investment of stock, or as the last resource of aspiring lawyers and despairing maids, rather than as the scene of some of our greatest national achievements and national interests. But to all who took this superficial view of our Indian possessions, the precarious tenure of this great prize was even less known than its magnitude and its splendour; and the occurrences which have so recently agitated the North-western Provinces of Bengal, first roused a very large portion of the people of this country to the knowledge of what they hold, and to the conditions on which they hold it. These events have already dissipated our indifference, though they have not dispelled our ignorance. Let us hope that as this imperial connexion exists between the people of these islands, contending in the van of Christian liberty, and the people of Hindostan, in their poverty, their heathenism, and their subjection, we may learn to perpetuate it-not by a blind confidence in their fidelity or in our own resources, but by a clearer knowledge of our duties and our dangers.

Not such were the opinions of the most eminent men whose lives have been devoted to the consolidation and government of this great dependency. The consciousness of the superior power of their own country and the superior claims of their own civilisation never blinded them to the incalculable difficulties of the task which lay before them. They early perceived that the edifice of British power, which they had raised, rested only on the surface of the soil of India, or on the support it derived from foreign arms or foreign energy. Before them and around them lay the countless millions of the unchangeable East, subdued by the resolute will and by the administrative skill of their Christian masters; but retaining all the essential characteristics of the native character, of an

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