Essays of Lord Macaulay on Robert Clive and Warren Hastings are perhaps known to every English household; but they refer to more episodes in the history, and are wanting in that familiarity with native character and forms of thought which is essential to a right appreciation of the great collision between Europe and Asia that has been going on in India for the last two centuries.
The truth is that the preparation of a history of India, political and religious, is a far more difficult and laborious task than is generally imagined.
The author began work at Madras under every possible advantage. There were libraries containing almost unique collections of books pertaining to India. To these were added the government records at Madras, which were freely opened to the author by Sir Charles Trevelyan, who was at that time Governor.
The writer has no desire to carry the reader into his workshop, or to dwell on the extent of his labors. It will suffice to say that having sounded the depths of his ignorance, he has since then lost no opportunity, official or literary, to perfect his knowledge of Indian history.
His history of British India is now given for the first time in the present volumes. It is an entirely independent work, drawn direct from the fountain head, after a study of the records of the Government of India, official reports and parliamentary blue books, and annals, memoirs, travels, or correspondences, as have been found to yield historical materials.