Commenting on the general Histories of India written before 1865. Edward thompson observed that “they had this advantage, that they had only a public of their own people to consider, and did not have to keep glancing over their shoulder, to see if frankness and truthfulness would be overhead and have an adverse political effect”. The present work, written originally in 1851. Truly exemplifies the soundness of this observation. With a candidness and objectivity hardly to be encountered in the Histories of later times, this book within a short compass sets forth the growth and development of British power in India during one of the most formative periods of the history of the sub-continent. Apart from the political history which forms its main part, topics of special interest like statistics of India, taxation, civil servants and judges, finances, commerce and the overland route receive attention in separate chapters. The three appendices, arranged chronologically and presidency-wise contain rare details of great value, discovered by reference to the oldest records and never before published. With its wealth of details and lucidity of expression to book will be found useful by all who seek to study in depth the pre-Mutiny period of British Indian history.
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