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ALLOW me to congratulate you on your recent appointment; and on the accomplishment of the wish you have so often expressed to visit the East. I feel highly flattered by your applying to me for information concerning the country you are so soon to see, and to judge of for yourself; but conscious of my inability to satisfy you as I could wish, on many subjects relating to it, I had once thoughts of referring you to such books as contain the best accounts of the country, its customs, and its inhabitants. However, on reflecting that your time must be too fully occupied in preparations for your voyage, to allow you to engage in the perusal of very voluminous works, I have, though with considerable diffidence, determined to send you the abstract you request, of the notes made for my own use.

I perfectly agree with you that many of the evils complained of in the intercourse between the European residents and the native inhabit


ants of India, are owing to the want of mutual understanding, and of mutual knowledge. The happiness of so many millions of our fellowcreatures, now brought still nearer as our fellow-subjects, cannot be a matter of indifference. But we can scarcely be interested for those whom we do not know, and I have, therefore, always thought, that it would be an acceptable service to collect from the more elaborate works on India such a popular view of the history, literature, science and manners of that country, as should excite an interest in its inhabitants; and by exhibiting a sketch of its former grandeur and refinement, restore it to that place in the scale of ancient nations, which European historians have in general unaccountably neg lected to assign to it.

This idea induced me to collect the notes in question; I shall send you a portion of them from time to time, and if you have not leisure to read them before your departure, they may, perhaps, serve to amuse you in your passage to "India and the Golden Chersonese and farthest Indian Isle Taprobane."

On looking over the map of modern India, one is astonished at the immense tract of country contained within the lines which mark the British possessions, nor is the wonder les sened by the consideration, that the terri

tory nominally under the government of the Nizam ul Muluc, or Soubadar of the Dec-1 can, and that subject to the Peishwa of Poonah, are guarded and garrisoned by British subsidiary forces, while these princes, not less than the shadow of the Great Mogul, are prisoners in their palaces, to troops paid by themselves. Thus the whole of the immense region from the frontiers of Cabul to Cape Comorin north and south, and from the Indus to the Ganges east and west, is virtually under the British dominion; while the very few really independant chiefs and princes preserve that independance merely by sufferance, as you may convince yourself by an inspection of their geographical positions relatively to the British territory. But after all, it is chiefly the empire of opinion that supports us in our possessions, for the natives outnumber us in such a proportion as must make us tremble, if ever injuries offered to them, or interference in those points of religion or custom to which they are attached, shall rouse them to the exercise of the physical superiority they undoubtedly possess, and to shake off the timid and humble peacefulness which has hitherto distinguished them.

Long before the Mahomedan conquest of Hindostan the great monarchies of that country had been torn by internal commotions, and


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