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the source of illumination, scientific and evangelical, to the interesting natives of that remote region !
The support of those establishments of various kinds, which are requisite for the security of our interests, or the honour of the British name, in a country where magnificence is the order of the day, must necessarily be very expensive. For this, however, the resorces of the country seem fully adequate. According to a writer * who had the best opportunities of correct information, the revenues of the Mogul empire amounted to thirty-six millions sterling ; and, as the Company now occupy at least one-third of the whole, their annual receipts cannot be less than twelve millions. They arise partly from territorial imposts; partly from the occasional contributions and assessments of tributary or vanquished states; and partly from the emoluments of trade in Asia or in Europe. Of the exact amount, which must necessarily be liable to many contingencies, various estimates have been formed. It must unquestionably be ample; and, with due management, cannot fail to increase. Yet, ample as it is, the expenditure of the Company has hitherto exceeded their income, and compelled them to adopt the funding system, and borrow from the government of the mother country. But the emergencies which produced these incumbrances, have been incidental and extraordinary; the recent acquisition of territory has been vast; the increase of revenue (amounting, it is conjectured, to not less than two millions of pagodas) has been proportionably great ; and there is every reason to hope, that a short period of tranquillity, will enable the Company, not only to discharge their arrears, but to acquire immense wealth. An injudicious passion for territorial acquisition can alone prevent this desirable result; and should we fail, through such impolitic ambition, to reap the benefit of our Indian possessions, we shall exhibit the only instance upon record, of a nation impoverished by its connection with this envied country, and by engrossing a commerce the most lucrative of which any people, ancient or modern, have been so fortunate as to obtain the entire command.
* Abu Fazel, minister of the celebrated Akber, in his Ayeen Acbery.
Such is the brief account which it seemed expedient to premise of the present state of India : wholly unnecessary, the author is aware, for the information of that learned Tribunal to whose decision the merits of this Essay are sub
Conclusions from the preceding ab. stract.
mitted, but requisite, he presumes, to give a complete view of the subject as a whole, and to indicate the references of the subsequent hints.
The above sketch may suggest several important deductions; and, among others, three, intimately connected with the object of this inquiry.
Of these the first is, That, “ comparing the present condition of the Hindoos with the idea that was formerly given of civilisation, it must be obvious, that they have not attained, in various respects, that degree of improvement, to which, under a wise administration, they might rise.” Far removed from the savage state ; gentle and amiable in their manners ; excelling in some arts, they are more refined than many other tribes of our race; but they are also in many things far inferior to others. Their system of legislation, it has been seen, is defective or erroneous in several views; some of the most necessary arts of life are in a state very rude; in most of the elegant arts their proficiency is small; the cultivation of the sciences is confined to one class of the community, is locked up in a dead language, and consists in studying the records of their own nation; and their morals are by no means perfect, either in principle or in practice. Much, in short, we may infer, may yet be added to their
political dignity, much to their social order, much to their commercial advantages, much to their domestic comfort and happiness, and much to their moral and intellectual improvement.
It may also appear, that at present our empire in India Insecurity of stands on a very precarious footing. This inference is deducible from various considerations. The conquered country is extremely extensive ; and our settlements, intended from the beginning only as commercial depots, and therefore situated on the coast, are not fitted by their position to command the inland districts. The number of disaffected or faithless tribes, on our long and open frontier, also affords to our enemies in Europe an easy opportunity of intriguing with the natives, and, by their means, of invading our territories. The vast disproportion betwixt the small aggregate of our forces and the immense population of the country, may suggest too much reason for apprehension concerning the event of such conflicts in some future warfare. Be it so that our troops are far superior in military skill and prowess to the undisciplined and unwarlike natives; that the battle of Plassey, which established us in the sovereignty of Bengal, and struck the country powers with the terror of the British name, was gained by the for
midable array of only nine hundred European soldiers ; and that other victories, equally brilliant and favourable to the extension of our interests in India, have of late been obtained by inconsiderable detachments of British forces over almost countless hosts even of Mahrattas. On the other hand, however, we ought not to forget that fortune is fickle, and the fate of war may change: that our troops must necessarily be worn out by the fatigue of incessant enterprise, and the inhospitality of the climate: that, with all the advantages of superior discipline and valour, they may be overwhelmed, in some future engagement, by the very pressure of numbers, and the lassitude which a torrid sky creates : that the natives, as usually happens, may, in the progress of warfare, imbibe somewhat of the spirit, and acquire the skill and steadiness of our military: that, in fact, the Sepoys in our service are known to make excellent soldiers, when trained and led on by British officers : and that there is good ground to fear, that, in some after period, our subjects may be incited to rebellion, or assisted in their insurrection, by hostile officers and auxiliaries from Europe, conducted to Hindostan by land, or conveyed thither by sea. Thus, flourishing as are the affairs of the Company at present, splendid as are the prospects of aggrandisement now