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Providence has thrown into the arms of Britain for their
protection and welfare *." Presumed na- How we may avail ourselves, in the best manner, of this ture of the
are happy crisis, and of our great resources, is a question of the
utmost importance. If the author of this Essay has formed to himself a just conception of the subject, the following are the characters of those plans, which suit the circumstances, and ought to be adopted. Sound policy seems to require that they should be practicable, not Utopian ; progressive, not precipitate ; gentle, not violent; frugal, not expensive; liberal, not selfish or contracted in their spirit; accommodated to present circumstances, and not to any supposeable case which may occur in the course of affairs. Let them be founded not on theory alone, particularly not on visionary speculation ; but on just views of human nature, and, if possible, on actual experiment Let them proceed upon the incontrovertible truth, (a law observed throughout all the operations of nature) that great revolutions are to be effectuated only gradually; and that important changes in the government, the manners, the spirit, the views of any society, particularly of a great nation, are not to be produced instantaneously, and cannot be attempted, except by slow degrees, without the utmost hazard *. Let us not forget, that if violent remedies, when they can be avoided, are never resorted to by prudent and skilful physicians, for effecting any great alteration of the human constitution, analogy will exact from politicians the observance of the same rule, in attempting to accomplish those revolutions in the state, which they may project for the common interest; and that violence may often prevent what gentler measures would have attained. Let it be considered, that plans which are showy, for that very reason, are likely to be less solid : that magnificence is not to be compared with utility: that, abroad, a policy which will require for its support heavy exactions from our foreign subjects, must prejudice them against it, and of course prevent their cordial concurrence: while, at home, the adoption of a splendid and costly system would most probably be resisted, as incompatible with the interests of the Company, unjust to the claims of the mother country, and oppressive to the subjects of the British empire in India. Let us, however, be persuaded, both that schemes of contracted
* Jones's Works, vol. i. p. 150.
policy, in an empire so vast, and where so much is to be done, promise least of all to be efficient, because these evils, to which no remedy should be applied, would counteract those operations which might tend to remove others; and that, at any rate, what is selfish and illiberal, cannot comport with the dignity of the British nation, or the true honour of the British character. Let us, in fine, recollect, that we are called upon to legislate not for possible emergencies, but for present circumstances: not to provide for future occurrences, which can indeed be anticipated, yet may never arrive; but to apply remedies to existing evils : not to determine what would be proper, upon supposition that the affairs of the Company were devolving entirely upon the government of this country; but to inquire, by what means the former may, most speedily, and effectually, diffuse the blessings of civilisation (in the highest acceptation of the term) through territories which their arms have subdued, which they now claim, must for a considerable period hold, and may for ever retain, as their rightful and magnificent possession.
On these views the following suggestions are founded.
Much in all cases must depend upon the chief of the 1. empire. And, from time to time, to select and place at neral. the head of affairs in India a person of talents and temper suited to the undertaking, is a measure of the most obvious and essential importance. And he must be a man of no common character. That, in the present state of the world and of India, the station of a chief governor, in that great and remote province of the British dominions, is sufficiently arduous, no reflecting person will doubt. But the adoption of a plan of improvement, such as that country requires, will greatly augment (the difficulties of the situation. For, in this case, to all the ordinary cares of government, there will be added the superintendence of a new scheme of policy, which must of necessity have a thousand delicate bearings, be liable to a thousand unforeseen obstructions, and involve the operation of a thousand principles and powers, means and agents, which are not easily formed, or excited, or controuled. He, then, who is qualified to preside over an empire so vast, and, while he watches over the external security of territories so remote, can carry into effect a system of internal reformation so extensive and untried, must, we repeat it, be no mean man. To the talents of a great general he should add those of an enlightened statesman and
great magistrate. With a mind trained to higher views than plans of profitable traffic alone can inspire, with a spirit capable of more daring than they who have not been inured to arms usually imbibe, he will be fitted equally to conduct armies in war, or administer the affairs of government in peace. He ought to possess, in an uncommon degree, those enlarged and accurate views of the science of government, of the philosophy of human nature, of national and local peculiarities, which may enable him to avail himself, in the best manner, of men and measures, to break in upon long-established usages with the least annoyance, and to new-mould a system most artfully contrived, most closely connected, and upheld by innumerable prejudices, without noise and without violence. Mindful of the dignity and generosity appertaining to the character of a British governor, he should also feel a particular interest in that engaging people, over whom he presides. Partaking of the spirit of freedom, and rejoicing in those liberties which are the birthright inheritance of every Briton, he should account it his
glory to communicate this invaluable blessing to those placed ninistra- under his care, as far as their circumstances will admit. His
intellect should be commanding and comprehensive. His probity and approved honour should be a security to his consti