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A NUMEROUS body of students of the Working Men's College having suggested to the Council, very soon after the news of the late outbreak, that a course of Lectures should be delivered to them on the History of British India, I was requested to undertake this duty. Connected with India by almost innumerable ties, I had less right than any other member of the Council to decline a task, the labour of which, at the short notice at which it had to be prepared, I foresaw would be enormous, but which even far exceeded my expectations. Imperfectly as I know that I fulfilled that task, yet the interest which this great subject excited amongst my pupils was so great, that at the close of my course in the beginning of September, the wish was expressed that it should be re-delivered.
Though unable to comply with such a wish, I believed I might in part satisfy it by placing before my pupils the written materials from which I lectured, expanded,1 and put into shape, together with some additional Lectures. Possibly at this time, when God's most dreadful judgments have at last aroused England out of her “shameful apathy and indifference" (to use Lord William Bentinck's words of some twenty years ago), with respect to her noblest dependency, those materials may have an interest for others than the students of the Working Men's College. I wish, however, expressly to state that I have no pretensions to Oriental learning, that I have nothing to teach to those who know India, but only a little to those who do not; enough, I trust, to help them to learn more.
The work is so obviously a compilation, that I have shrunk from the conceit of quoting authorities at every page. I must, however, as respects
1 The first part, for instance, represents only a single delivered lecture.
2 I have not included in these Lectures the history of Ceylon, though geographically connected with India, as being a Crown Colony; valuable though the contrast may be between its condition and that of the territories ruled by the East India Company. Our acquisitions in Eastern India I have also deemed out of my province, except so far as their history bears upon that of India proper.
the First Part, express my great obligations to Mrs. Speir's most interesting, but somewhat illdigested "Life in Ancient India," for the labour which it has spared me. As respects the Second Part, more especially I would beg the reader to recollect that although, owing to the ignorance of my hearers, I was obliged to give my Lectures more of a narrative form than I could have wished, still, it is essentially not a History that he is reading, but Lectures on a History. I thus purposely confined myself, for facility of reference, to a few of the best-known or the most accessible authorities as to the facts of the past; except on some points of recent history, on which, to my personal knowledge, those authorities were in fault. I followed Elphinstone as far as I could, then Mill and Wilson, his continuator, or Messrs. Taylor and Mackenna's valuable compendium, aided sometimes by Major Hough's "Political and Military Events in India," for the general course of political history; for the detail of particular periods, Lord Macaulay's " Clive," and his "Warren Hastings," and even the Times' Essay on the Duke of Wellington. For facts of civil administration I generally followed Mr. Kaye's very able and interesting" Administration of the East India Company," checking it, how
ever, as it must be checked, from other sources, such as Rickards' "India." For the events of the last few years I have had to depend upon newspaper authority in great measure.
As respects Part III. (no portion of which was delivered as a Lecture), deeply conscious though I am of its deficiencies, I would say, in justification for my attempting to treat such a subject as that of the present condition and future needs of India, that that subject has been prominently before my mind for now the last nineteen years; that it was at one time more so than any other great topic of contemporary policy and morality; and that I have never ceased to look upon it as the greatest, next to that of the condition of his own country, to which an Englishman can devote himself. The events of the day seem, indeed, to me to prove how inseparably the two are connected; how impossible it is for England to secure prosperity for herself, unless she shows also justice to India.
I will only add, that, in order to give my words as far as possible the value of independent testimony, I have purposely abstained from consulting any of the publications called forth by the present mutiny, with three exceptions, viz. "The Indian Mutiny, Thoughts and Facts"