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its own inextinguishable energies beyond the fetters and impediments of the external circumstances which train and educate by far the greater part of mankind, and mould and fashion all the every day specimens of humanity that walk or strut upon the habitable globe ? It is, then, the passive will, that almost voluntary submission to extrinsic influences and over-ruling motives, which in the pride of our hearts we deem ourselves capable of withstanding, but which is even then the most irresistible at the moment we are most striving to resist it ;-it is this which, in every philo sophical survey of our genus, and in every precise investigation of our moral history, ought primarily to be regarded. For it is this that makes the individual, or, in other words, constitutes his idiosyncracy; and not of the individual only, but of the larger combinations as well as lesser platoons of human society.
Of the few who, by the exercise of an active will, rise superior to all outward circumstances, standing like rocks amidst the waves and storms of motives that assail us, and wholly unmoved and immoveable by the impulses which are so omnipotent in the formation both of single and collective man, the history is written in prodigies of super-human virtue;-in action or words doomed
never to die ;-in whole lives of stern and inflexible self-denial;—in the thoughts and imaginations which will never taste death, but endure in their living form and indestructible essence through the endless track of ages. Of these, standing alone and at long and awful intervals, as if they were marks to shew the height which the flood of glory, or of genius, or of virtue, has now and then reached-of these, in treating of society and of manners, it is evident that I can have little to say ;—but it is with the second class of beings that I concern myself—a class falling within the scope of our experience, and furnishing a much more agreeable exercise for our speculations than those who, by appearing in such irregular cycles amongst us, seem in some sort to have abdicated the common wholesale properties of our nature. Compared with the cio rùn žroçes cioè, they are of another and higher order, scarcely united with us by the tie of human weakness or human folly, the strongest ties by which man is confederated with man,-claiming appreciation by a different standard, and not liable to the wear and tear of the common motives which impel us;—they are, therefore, of too colossal a stature, and of a mould too gigantic, to be useful or pleasing objects of contemplation.
It is then the surest process for philosophical thinkers, who undertake the delineation of the characteristic
any definite class of mankind (and without some tincture of philosophical thinking no picture can be faithful or vivid), to watch narrowly the external discipline of circumstances, which affect the disposition, the temper, and the character, rather than simply enumerate, as travellers are too apt to do, the mere naked phenomena themselves, without taking any note of each extrinsic cause that has its share in their formation. It is because they have not given themselves the trouble to become familiar with this important part of the human mechanism, or, in other language, with the whole tribe of impulses by which the passive will is hurried along in spite of its feeble resistance, that the numerous writers upon India, who have appeared lately amongst us in swarms that almost “darken the air," have scarcely attempted, except in a few instances of manifest failure, a sketch of English society and English manners in India. Do not for a moment let it be thought, that I am vain enough to imagine that I am about to supply the deficiency, either to my own satisfaction, or that of my readers; but may I not succeed in giving a few hints at least to future limners even by my own unfinished daubings, and suggest the propriety of shunning, on the one hand, the unseemly and revolting caricatures presented to us by the few writers who, for their own amusement or Mr. Colburn's profit, have made the experiment; and on the other, the tame and spiritless sketchings, in which all that is distinguishing and prominent is wholly lost and obliterated ?
Impressed with the utility of this mode of proceeding, in order to arrive at a just criterion of society and manners, whether amongst the English residents at Paris, or the English at Rome, or in whatever country curiosity or restlessness may have dispersed them (for wherever our countrymen are, with whatever community they may come into contact, there they remain, like oil and water, unmixed and immiscible), I am sincerely convinced that it is the best mode of estimating the English societies of India, and I lament that the ground has been quite untrodden, or nearly so, by those who bave lately published their reminiscences of that interesting region ; for I conceive that the being, so strangely compounded, whom we call here "an old Indian," that odd bundle of whims and humours, whether considered by himself, as the being, formed and fashioned by the circumstances that were constantly acting upon him whilst in India, or the whole Anglo-Indian society of that country altogether, who are underguing the actual
discipline of those circumstances, do assuredly deserve the compliment of a more specific delineation than has been hitherto assigned them. To these, perhaps, the rule I have laid down will be found more emphatically applicable than to our countrymen in any other part of the world. An Englishman in France or Italy still remains the Englishman, carrying thither only his follies, his arrogance, and his prejudices, and stands out in prominent relief from the countries he visits, by the peculiarity of his cherished follies and beloved vices; whereas in India, by the concurrence of various causes of sure and uniform operation, some of which I shall point out, the English character undergoes a transformation so rapid and entire, as to render it the fittest study that can be imagined for the moral painter.
I must repeat, then, the subject of English so ciety in India has been uniformly neglected by all who have visited Hindustan, with the exception, perhaps, of Maria Graham (not now, indeed, Maria Graham, for that fascinating combination of sounds, associated with the enlivening remembrances of youth and personal charms, is now merged in a second marriage and another name not half so pleasing and familiar to my ears)—that delightful writer of travels, who saw manners and noted them with the