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Unequal as we were to the task, and under all the obvious difficulties and disadvantages attending the writing and publication of history immediately on the heel of action, we have fortunately had no occasion to regret our temerity. The increasing favour we experience from the public at home, and the distinguished reception which our work meets with abroad, not only in those extensive parts of the world where the English language is vernacular, but wherever the general affairs of mankind are so far known as to be interesting, and are admitted to become subjects of free discussion, have fully qualified all our apprehensions, and amply repaid our labours. In these circumstances, instead of repining at any expence of labour or time, it will ever be our pride that we happened to be the early and faithful recorders of events of such magnitude and celebrity, and that we have been at any period capable of producing a work which has met with such general approbation.
The repeated complaints which have been made, relative to the delay of the present publication, has compelled us to the painful necessity of running more into egotisin, and bringing ourfelves more forward upon this occasion than usual. As it may now be hoped that the return of the public tranquillity will afford fome considerable relaxation of our labour (for we thall claim none with respect to care and affiduity) fo, by degrees, a due punctuality as to the season of publication, will be a necessary conSequence.
Retroffee live view of affairs in the East, which led to the late alarming and dan. gerous fituation of the British empire in India. State of the native powers, with refjult 10 cach other, and to the East India Company. Greatness of the Maratra thire; and nature of its power, resources, and government. Infant Ram-Rajak deposed, anel a government of minifters, called the Painwashin, subfituted in his place. Ragonaut Row being obliged to abandon Poonah and his conna ify, for the alfaffination of his nephew the young Paishwa, flies for refuge to Boma bay. Protection afforded to Ragonaut ; lays the foundation of all the fubfequent cars with the Marattas. Treaty of friend hip and alliance between the Eaft. India Company and Hyder Ally, concluded at Madras in the year 1769. Refusal to furnish flyder with the fuccours ftipulated by treaty in his subsequent ruinous war with the Marattas, estranges that prince from the Company, and occafions his embracing French connections. Treaty concluded at Bombay with Ragorazt Row. Was entered into with the Marattas for his restoration to power. Ijland of Salsette, Baroach, and other places conquered. Treaty of Poonah, by Vol. XXV.
which Ragonaut is to be given us, and the New conquests are confirmed to the Company, New systems of policy adopted. Ragonaut Row is fill protested, and various intrigues cntered into for a revolution in the Maratta government in his favour. New demands to be made upon the court of Poonah, the rejection of which are ta be deemed violations of the late treaty. Strong military force, under Colonel Leslie, Sent across the continent from Bengal. Proceedings of that detachment ; Leslie dies, and is fuccceded by Colonel Goddard. Proposals for a treaty with Mooda. jee Boojla, the Rajah of Berox, for placing him nt the head of the Maratta empire. The court of Poonah refusing to comply with the new demands, the British refident is withdrawn, and the Bombay army landed on the continent, in order to accompany Ragonaut Row to that capital. The army being furrounded, and all means of retreat cut off, ą capitulation takes place. Moderate terms imposed by the Maratras in the treaty of Worgaum. Ragonaut Row is given up, and the army conducted by a body of Nlaratta hor se to the fea-coaf, where it embarks for Bombay.
THE success which attended gaging much in their particular
I the British arms in the year quarrels, would enable the Com1778, by the taking of Pondi- pany to become the arbiter of Incherry, and the entire reduction dia, and tend equally to the geneof all the French settlements in ral tranquillity, and to the maintethat part of the world, seemed, nance of their own fuperiority. along with the powerful armies in It was accordingly hoped at the hands of the East India Com- home, and afforded no small conpany, and the naval force destined folation in the most alarming situato their support under Sir Eduard tion which we had ever yet expe. Hughes, fully sufficient, not only rienced, that, however Great Brito secure their present tranquillity, tain might have been overborne in but to lay such a foundation of that very unequal contest which strength and prosperity as could she was doomed to sustain in every not easily be taken. They were other quarter of the globe, yet, now freed from their only Euro- that her dominion and commerce pean competitor, and from a most in the East being happily free from active and enterprizing neighbour, the contingencies of war, still rewhose spirit of intrigue, as well as mained whole and unimpaired; and power, whether in war or in peace, might prove an unfailing resource would constantly afford inatter of of wealth and of strength in the jealousy, if not of apprehenfion; worst event. and as wars and conquests had not Such were the hopes of the puboriginally been proposed as the lic, and íuch perhaps the specula, end of that institution, and were tions of statesmen. But the affairs rendered still less so by the state of of nations, their adversity and sucaffairs in Europe, it was supposed cess, often depend upon unforeseen that it would require no great re- circumstances, which political fafinement in policy or in conduct to gacity cannot always provide apreserve such a balance between gainst. The experience of ages the native powers, as, without en lias Thewn that it is exceedingly
difficult to keep arms long unem-' they were content to reprove where ploved in the hands of those who they should punish ; and that they have been accustomed to use them truited to the future obedience of with great effect and advantage. those who had already been guilty Such a restraint requires a strong of the most glaring, pernicious, and and immediate controul; and is even contemptuous acts of disobe. not eally practicable under a re- dience. mote government. The abundant in full proportion to the fanmeans of war in the hands of the guine hopes entertained upon the Company's servants, naturally tend- prosperous appearance of things ed to its production; and it will at the time that the French power not be doubted that conquest and was annihilated in India, was the the overthrow of states are attend. confternation and astonishment ed with circumstances, which pro.. which struck 'the nation at that mise a full gratification to some of unexpected and unaccountable re. the strongest passions of the human volution which so soon after took mind.
place in the affairs of the Company; The wantonness and injustice and which, shaking the British erna attributed to some wars undertaken pire in the East to its center, in India, had to the honour of threatened no less than the exthe public feelings, whether the tinction of the English name in charges were ill or well founded) that quarter of the globe. The been for some time a matter of conduct of the Company and of its general execration in England. servants, became naturally subjects The cenfures passed in some in- of public and private discussion. fances by the Company, if they Parliamentary enquiries were indid not fully confirm, at least af. ftiluted, and have been long conforded a general sanction to the tinued. Various reports from the charges. We have heretofore had committees have been laid before occasion more than once to take the House of Commons; but such notice of the causes which tended is the complex nature and imto lessen the authority of the Com- mensity of the matter, the endless pany over its servants in India, variety of the evidence, with the and necessarily their reverence for difficulties arising from the remote. their employers, and obedience to ness of the scene of action, and the their commands. But the com- delays incident to parliamentary pany itself, in its ruling and go- proceedings, that the enquiries have verning powers at home, did not not yet drawn to a conclusion. escape a large portion of public The subject therefore still remains centure, derived from the imputed in obscurity. cxorbitances of their servants a- In tracing those transactions and broad. They were charged with a events upon the spot, which led to general indecision, a deficiency of fo unexpected and alarming a spirit and vigour, and even some change in the British affairs, it will apparent contradictions in their be neceilary to take a retrospetive conduct and measures; that they as well as immediate view of affairs did not sufficiently exercise the au. in India. thority which they possefed ; that The Marattas and Hyder Allv
were the only native powers in culture, have been unequal to India which could afford any their maintenance, and were tocause of alarm to the British inte tally incapable of affording the rests. The one was the more supplies necessary for the prosecu. powerful, and the other, from his tion of the war; but the length, great personal abilities and quali- obstinacy, and various fortune of ties, capable of being the more the contest, served to inspire the dangerous an enemy. It seemed to contempt as well as neglect of be the political interest of the East agriculture. The rich surroundIndia Company to foment the na- ing lower regions, which had all tural enmity which subfilted, and submitted to the Mogul power, the accidental feuds which were were of course compelled in their continually arising, between those turn, as they happened to be more two neighbouring and rival states; or less effectually guarded, to supobserving not to become any far- ply all the necessities of the Mather a party in their disputes raitas, and to provide the means than might occasionally be neces. of war as well as of suftenance. sary for the preservation of such a From there causes, and the invebalance between them, as would terate habits incident to them, prevent either from growing too arofe that marauding and predagreat by the ruin of the other. It tory disposition which, in the usual would seem that by such a policy and natural course of things, still the animosity of these two for- prevails, although the causes have midable powers would in the end, ceased. The Marattas boalt a high by the exhausture of their strength antiquity ; and their language, and activity, prove the means of which is a peculiar dialect of the establishing the general tranquillity Hindóo, and acknowledged to be of India.
among the most ancient in India, The warlike nation of the Ma. fufficiently justifies that claim. rattas are the only people in India Thus appears the error of conwho at all times refused the sidering them as a lawless banditti, Mahomedan yoke. The immense or a fortuitous assemblage of freepower and superiority of their booters, united merely for the purenemy, laid them under a neceffity poses of rapine. of seeking refuge in the inac- The Maratta empire grew to be cessible faitnelles of that vast range the greatest in India, through the of mountains which cover so great decline and upon the fall of that a part of Hindostan. The long of the Grand Mogul. Their domiwar which, under the conduct of nions were vast, their resources great, their illustrious leader Sevagi, they and their armies brave and numersustained against the immense ous. Their conjunctive revenues power and great abilities as well were estimated at no less than seas treachery of Aurengezebe, venteen snillions sterling, and their would, in other parts of the world, immense cavalry at three or four have afforded a splendid portion hundred thousand. But this great of history. The mountainous power was weakened and rendered countries which they occupied for inert by being portioned out a. defence, would, in any state of mong a nuinber of princes. They