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rising to view, if they depend upon force alone for maintaining their empire in India, they may suddenly experience the fate of all other commercial companies, who have acquired territories in this remote region, and, in their turn, at no distant period, be erased from the roll of oriental powers.
The necessity of attaching the natives to us by a sense Importance of their own interests and happiness, if we would retain a union. permanent ascendancy in India, is the last conclusion suggested by the foregoing sketch, which we shall mention. The dominion of force and of fear, in a country so populous, so extensive, and so remote from the seat of the primary government, there is no reason to presume, from the history of human affairs, will always prevail. To support a military force in that quarter adequate to the permanent subjugation of Hindostan, though it were practicable, would incur an expence for which the funds of the Company, ample as they are, would probably be found ultimately incompetent: to supply the waste of the army there always with natives, would be to increase the danger, in proportion to the extent and duration of the establishment: while, to send recruits from this country, in any due proportion, would at all times be expensive and hazardous, in some circumstances absolutely
impracticable. Besides, although there might be no risk of insurrection among the natives, especially when trained to arms according to the superior mode of British tactics; and although both the funds of the Company and the state of the empire could easily afford the requisite supplies, yet at least equal danger may arise from another quarter. For, reflecting upon the history of the Roman empire, and the motives which operate upon human nature, is there no reason, considering the distance of the scene of action, to apprehend that temptations to throw off allegiance, too strong for some one of the chief servants of the Company to resist, and an army inured to the climate, and too great to be reduced by any force that can be brought to act against them from this country, may, at some future period, prove the most powerful engine for subverting the empire of Britain in India ? To ameliorate the condition of the subjects of this empire, to interest the natives themselves in its support, will, in every view, appear to be the most eligible means of upholding it ;--the cheapest, as well as the most honourable expedient we can employ, for the preservation of our power in that part of the world. The civilisation of the natives (we repeat it) seems to be the wisest plan of policy which can be adopted by the Company; the most promising method of establishing their own ascendancy and interests, on a basis not to be shaken.
In contemplating the means of accomplishing this im- Obstacles.. portant object, “ the civilisation of the subjects of the British empire in India,” it cannot be denied that several circumstances, greatly unpropitious to such an undertaking, present themselves to our consideration.
Of these the most obvious is, the immense extent of coun- Magnitude of try which our empire in that quarter embraces. In a small territory much may be done with comparative ease : one person can superintend the execution without difficulty: whatever error may have been committed, will be at once detected and rectified: and the whole force of his talents, of his plans, and, if necessary, of military action, can be brought speedily to bear on any tardy or refractory department. But in a vast empire these advantages cannot be enjoyed. The machine of government becomes cumbrous and unwieldy by its magnitude ; its movements are necessarily slow, and liable to a thousand incidental obstructions, which cannot be speedily discovered or removed. The authority and influence of the head are lessened greatly by the distance at which he is viewed. These difficulties and delays, which must occur in quelling and avenging insurrec
tion, or opposition to public measures, present temptations which, it may be expected, will operate powerfully upon the disaffected.
The greatness of the trust, a climate unfriendly to British constitutions, and the distance of the dependency, render it inexpedient that any one governor should continue long in India. But, amid frequent changes, different views may be expected to occur; different plans of policy or administration will probably be adopted; and these will operate to retard the accomplishment of the grand design.
It is to be regretted, also, that the greater number of our countrymen in India, whether from habits which are unfavourable to speculations of this kind; or from narrow views of policy; or from degrading ideas of the Hindoo character; or from the obvious folly of the schemes of some visionary projectors; have hitherto been apt to treat with contempt every proposal of improvement as ridiculous or impracticable. Contemplating the strong prejudices of the natives, the stability of their institutions, and the permanency of their manners, they hastily conclude, either that they are incapable of amelioration, or that every attempt which might be made will be ultimately found unavailing. With these views it is not to be expected that they will en
men in India.
ter readily into the design; and as the progress must necessarily be slow, they cannot be allured in the beginning (as in some other cases) by the hope of immediate, or stimulated by the attainment of great success.
But those circumstances which are most adverse, arise Internal obfrom the policy, the usages, and the temper of that very people, whose best interests we would seek to promote.
The division of the community into casts, strongly opposes itself to all alteration or improvement. This singular institution, I am aware, has not been considered by all as injurious. It has been regarded even with partiality, and represented as favourable to civilisation, by the elegant and reflecting author of the “ Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India.” “ Such arbitrary arrangements," says he in his appendix to that work, “ of the various members which compose a community, seems, at first view, to be adverse to improvement, either in science or in arts ; and, by forming around the different orders of men artificial barriers, which it would be impious to pass, tends to circumscribe the operations of the human mind within a narrower sphere than nature has allotted to them.
The object of the first Indian legislators was to employ the most effectual means of providing for the subsistence, the