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of the day; and of such performances, the distinguishing character, we all know, is to exaggerate, as far as possible, on the one side, and to extenuate on the other. Mr. Grant, in.leed, explicitly admits that his former publication and the present, were originally parts of one whole, in which it was intended to attempt a full discussion, in all its branches, of the question respecting the most eligible system of connection between this country and the East Indies :' and he adds, that all other claims upon him for this work were 'strengthened by the near approach of the period at which the question must of necessity undergo the decision of the legislature.' In other words, the express design with which Mr. Grant (taking into account his known and acknowledged opinions) set out, was to advocate the cause of the East India Company-to defend in all its parts the existing system: and the mode by which he has endeavoured to effect this, is by making a history, the vehicle of a “full discussion' of a vast and complicated subject of controversy.

Now it surely requires no very deep insight in human nature to perceive, how much a design like this-a decided intention of espousing one side of a disputed question-must of necessity disqualify a man for the composition of history. The effect must be both to distort the view which is taken of the evidence by the author himself, and to make him present distorted representations of it to the public; both to withdraw his attention from such parts of the evidence as he dislikes, and to fix it intently upon those he is attached to. But there is another objection to Mr. Grant's procedure. We are not sure that it is quite fair. Admitting, as it is impossible not to admit, the perfect sincerity of his opinions in favour of the East India Company, and acknowledging his unquestionable right to declare and maintain those opinions to the best of his ability, we are still somewhat doubtful as to the propriety of calling a work a history, which is, in fact, only an ex parte pleading, grounded upon historical matter. Such an expedient though not uncommon in controversial tactics, is a ruse of which we cannot altogether approve. It tends to lay suspicion asleep, and to induce an opinion of impartiality, where no impartiality is to be found. We do not for a moment suppose the honourable mind of the writer to be itself conscious of such an intention. Eagle-eyed as he is in discovering an undue bias in every one who has written a word in opposition to the pretensions of the Company, (a bias which in many instances he finds to be not only groundless but malignant, and against which he inveighs in the loudest strains of his eloquence), he seems to have thought himself remarkably impartial; and to have judged either that he was altogether free from bias, or that he had at least sufficient strength of mind to resist it, even though placed in circumstances more than usually calculated to subject him to its operation-circumstances which are particularly apt to give a man the habit of commanding his belief, at the very time that they deprive bim of the power of tracing the process by which he makes it attend obedient upon his will.

Few maxims, perhaps, are more generally true, than that what a man wishes he is very prone to believe. But there are some minds in which this preponderance of the inclinations over the judgement is peculiarly liable to occur. We allude, more especially, to those which derive all their important opinions from authority; which have scarcely a single article in political credence, (not to speak of any such paternal subject as the East India Company) that is not a faithful transcript of the persuasion of those to whom they are most accustomed to look up. Even the confidence with which such persons usually talk of their own opinions, and the contemptuous air with which they treat those of other people, are so many direct proofs of their implicit faith. A man is generally much less diffidentin holding those opinions which he has adopted from others, than those which he has formed for himself; and the reason is plain, because in the former case he is less acquainted with the difficulties which beset them. Where the mind has but little inward vigour it is almost sure to yield to this external pressure; and a mind of such a sort even by its studies acquires agility rather than strength-pursues embellishment more than ideas-loves to polish the diamond, not to dig for it in the mine; unacquainted even with the marks which distinguish it in its crude and original state, and only taking it for a gem when it passes current for such in the market.

Let us not, however, be misunderstood. Nothing can be farther from our intention than to speak of the writer before us with disrespect. His natural powers, we think, are active and buoyant, and he has cultivated them with no ordinary assiduity. In the present state of education, his endowments place him a good many degrees above the medium standard even of educated

Of the history and affairs of the East India Company, few mep know so much. But a considerable share of knowledge upon such a subject is by no means inconsistent with false opinions; and if the opinions have been formed before the knowledge was acquired, the very pursuit of the knowledge may serve only for the confirmation of the error.

It is more than time, however, to proceed from the historian to the history. The first reflection which occurs on perusing it, is produced by the quality to which we have already alluded-the extravagant partiality of the writer. Mr. Grant only undertakes to write upon one side and truly he cannot be accused of swerving from his resolution. If he ever makes an


admission, unfavourable to the Company or their servants, in some unimportant particular, it only lays a ground for claiming a more unlimited credit to his defence on all other occasions. But even this he can prevail upon himself so rarely to perform, that a skilful advocate, would, for the sake of his client alone, give up many points for which Mr. Grant most loftily contends.

Another refiection which is forced upon the reader, arises from the vast proportion of the work which is employed in dissertation and controversy. When a man writes a history or a 'sketch of a history,' the term carries the mind to the conception of a narrative. And though the term, to be sure, is not so strictly interpreted, as to exclude any thing by which the narrative is rendered either more clear or more instructive, it can no longer be appropriately used, when the narrative hardly seems intended for any other purpose than to serve as a ground-work for argumentation and inference. It really would require some pains in the comparison, to say, accurately, whether in the distribution of pages, the greater number is assigned to the history, or to the controversy, of the Honourable Company.

In point of style, the present volume pretty much resembles that which we lately criticized. There is the same eager pursuit of ornament, the same multiplication of words, and the same rarity of ideas. A severe critic would say that the work is at once prolix from diffusion, and jejune from abridgement; abounding with rhetoric, but meagre in facts. But even the utmost severity of criticism must allow that there is much to set off against these imperfections. The best sources of intelligence have been open to the writer, and he has carefully profited by them. His mind also far too upright to use any freedoms with facts. Though we could wish he had been more nice in criticising and sifting his materials, we have never observed a single instance of an attempt to practise either distortion or concealment. Upon the fairness and sincerity of his statements, the reader may always confidently rely. It is in the views which he takes of these facts, and the inferences which he draws from them, that we differ so widely from Mr. Grant.

The season for the publication of this compound of history and disputation was unhappily allowed to pass by. It was intended to operate upon the decision which was to be taken by the legislature upon the continuance of the political and commercial privileges of the East India Company. That decision has already passed. And as we have had so many occasions of entering fully into the questions which then came under discussion, and of touching upon every thing which is of any importance either in the historical or the argumentative matter which Mr. Grant has brought as evidence to bear upon the case,

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we shall not enter at any great expence of words into his present pleadings in favour of the powers to which the Company so eagerly cling

Mr. Grant begins with what amounts in length to an eighth part of the book-an introduction, in which he carries on a controversy with Dr. Smith about the degree of weight which, in legislating on the subject of commerce, ought to be allowed to the opinions of merchants. He has copied the passage from Dr. Smith, and because it is a passage of much instruction, we shall follow his example.

"The proposal,' says Dr. Smith, of any new law or regulation of commerce, whịch comes from this order, ought always to be • listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted ' till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with

the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the

same with that of the public; who have generally an interest to • deceive and even to oppress the public ; and who accordingly have,

upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.'

In this argument, Dr. Smith brings forward a circumstance which is always misunderstood and disregarded by the thoughtless and the shallow; but to which the wise and discerning fail not to direct their attention, as the great governing force in the movements of the social machine. What we mean is, the interests of the parties who act. That men are governed by motives is universally allowed: and as it is equally allowed that motives are constituted by interests, it follows, that men are governby their interests, taking that word in its most extended sense. Now, it is astonishing what light is immediately thrown upon the dark and intricate regions of politics, as soon as a man looks to the duration and bearing of the interests of the several orders of men on whom the political movements depend. A clew is immediately obtained by which, with a little care, the windings of the labyrinth may be traced. Without attending to this important circumstance, our views are involved in confusion and error; the cause of evil is undiscovered, and the means of remedy cannot be devised. But observe with accuracy the interests by which, according to their situations, men are governed, and theevil will be no longer a mystery. Operate upon them judiciously through the medium of those interests, and the evils will no longer exist. The polar star of legislation is the interests of men. The light which guides her is the knowledge of those interests, and the means which she possesses of operating upon them, are the powers with which she works. No one can perform a higher service to the practice of politics, (in the theory it is already pretty well understood) than by pressing this great principle upon public attention.

It was by looking at the interests of the order of merchants and master-manufacturers that, in legislating for commerce, Dr Smith decided against receiving their advice, except after the most scrupulous and even suspicious examination. Mr. Grant takes an opposite course, and endeavours to make it appear, that, in commercial policy, nations and governments cannot be too implicitly guided by merchants: that in the creation or continuance of monopolies in particular, they cannot too literally follow the advice of those who are to profit by the restrictions. He disputes the opinion of Dr. Smith, that this order of men has, generally, an interest to deceive and oppress the public. Yet the fact is, that every class of men, if allowed to pursue its own interests, at the expence of other classes, has so far an interest to deceive and oppress them; and the opinion of Dr. Smith instead of being untrue, is little short of self-evident. If his language has any where a tendency to suggest erroneous opinions, it is not where he talks of merchants as having an interest in some respects distinct from that of their country, but where he talks of other classes as having no such interest. Landlords, for example, have just as great an interest to deceive and oppress the public, in advising laws for raising the rent of land, aş merchants for advising laws to raise the profits of capital stock; and have just as often, perhaps, both deceived and oppressed it ;-witness the laws for duties on the importation and bounties on the exportation of corn. In the particular channels in which their respective interests flow, the opinions of both should be equally watched, and neither the advice of landlords on the subject of corn, nor that of merchants on the subject of commerce, should, without the most suspicious scrutiny, he acted upon by men deserving the name of legislators. There is no danger whatsoever, in the present state of the world, that the advice of that class who live by the wages of labour, a class, the numbers of which render it by far the most important of all, will gain them any undue advantage in the abodes of legislation. The disposition of this class to pursue their own interest at the expence of the other classes, (a disposition very much the same in all classes) has always been. sufficiently, and more than sufficiently, watched.

At the same time, what is maintained by Dr. Smith, and controverted by Mr. Grant is also true: that, in the flourishing state of the country, the produce of the land increases, and with it the rent: that in the same state of the country the wages of labour are high, but that, in the same proportion as

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