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The Act which last year passed the British Legislature, " for effecting an Arrangement with the East-India Company, and for the better Government of His Majesty's Indian Territories,” has created an era in the history of those territories; and seems to afford a fitting opportunity for taking a view of their situation and resources. Such an attempt can scarcely be regarded as unnecessary when it is recollected, that the majority even of the best-informed of our countrymen are either entirely ignorant of the subject, or but superficially acquainted with it. Neither our long intercourse with India, nor the splendour of our commerce
and our conquests there-neither the intrinsic importance of the subject, nor the repeated and animated discussions which it has excited in the British Parliament; have secured for it that degree of popular attention which it deserves. Statesmen of eminent name have observed and lamented this fact, which, considering the intense interest which has been taken in matters little less remote, and certainly not of greater importance, appears both inconsistent and inexplicable. Whether the opening a large part of India to European adventure will have the effect of dispelling this apathy, remains to be seen. That it is not justified by the relative circumstances of India and England is the conviction of the author. Under this conviction, he has been desirous of drawing attention to a subject which he feels to have been unduly neglected; and he has thought that a popular view of the state and prospects of British India might afford the best means of attaining his
object. To this it has been deemed expedient to prefix a very brief Historical Sketch. It is true that histories of India, both learned and popular, are not wanting ; but a very short summary of the principal facts of the progress of our extraordinary dominion seemed indispensable. The reader however who feels the importance and interest of the subject, will not be satisfied with a few pages; he will apply to works of greater extent and more strictly historical character to gratify a curiosity which it is hoped may here be excited. ein of the rest of the work the author trusts that he may speak with greater confidence. On the political relations of India--on the mode of its government on the sources of its wealth and prosperity-on the state of society, manners, religion, and morals--on its judicial system, and the revenue which not only supports the national institutions, but remits to this country a noble tribute, little is known because the sources
of knowledge have been generally inaccessible. Much information was scattered about, but it was nowhere collected within a moderate space. The changes effected by the late Act are now first brought before the Public in a permanent form; and the work, notwithstanding its limited extent, may be regarded as containing a digest of the most important parts of the vast body of evidence submitted to Parliament previously to the passing of that Act.
Though the circumstances of the times have induced him to choose this period for publication, they have had no share in determining the course of the author's inquiries. India has long occupied the larger share of his time and attention. To promote her interests as well as those of his own country, is the object of his work, and if an exposition of her resources should tend to draw British capital to their development, he believes that both nations would be benefited. On the important sub