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Omitted Passages And Varied Readings
by [?]

In fact, this querulous temper of expostulation, running through the book, disfigures its literary aspect. And possibly for our own comfort we might have turned away from a feature of discontent so gloomy and painful, were it not that we are thus accidentally recalled to a grievance in our Eastern administrations upon which we desire to enter a remark. Life is languid, the blood becomes lazy, at the extremities of our bodily system, as we ourselves know by dolorous experience under the complaint of purpura; and analogously we find the utility of our supreme government to droop and languish before it reaches the Indian world. Hence partly it is (for nearer home we see nothing of the kind), that foreign adventurers receive far too much encouragement from our British Satraps in the East. To find themselves within ‘the regions of the morn,’ and cheek to cheek with famous Sultans far inferior in power and substantial splendour, makes our great governors naturally proud. They are transfigured by necessity; and, losing none of their justice or integrity, they lose a good deal of their civic humility. In such a state they become capable of flattery, apt for the stratagems of foreign adulation. We know not certainly that Mr. Bennett’s injuries originated in that source; though we suspect as much from the significant stories which he tells of interloping foreigners on the pension list in Ceylon. But this we do know, that, from impulses easily deciphered, foreigners creep into favour where an Englishman would not; and why? For two reasons: 1st, because a foreigner must be what is meant by ‘an adventurer,’ and in his necessity he is allowed to find his excuse; 2ndly, because an Englishman, attempting to play the adulatory character, finds an obstacle to his success in the standard of his own national manners from which it requires a perpetual effort to wean himself: whereas the oily and fluent obsequiousness found amongst Italians and Frenchmen makes the transition to a perfect Phrygian servility not only more easy to the artist, and less extravagantly palpable, but more agreeable in the result to his employer. This cannot be denied, and therefore needs no comment. But, as to the other reason, viz., that a foreigner must be an adventurer, allow us to explain. Every man is an adventurer, every man is in sensu strictissimo sometimes a knave.

You might imagine the situation of an adventurer who had figured virtually in many lives, to resemble that of the late revered Mr. Prig Bentham, when sitting like a contrite spider at the centre of his ‘panopticon’; all the lines, which meet in a point at his seat, radiate outwards into chambers still widening as they increase their distance. This may be an image of an adventurer’s mind when open to compunction, but generally it is exactly reversed; he sees the past sections of his life, however spacious heretofore, crowding up and narrowing into vanishing points to his immediate eye. And such also they become for the public. The villain, who walks, like AEneas at Carthage, shrouded in mist, is as little pursued by any bad report for his forgotten misdeeds as he is usually by remorse. In the process of losing their relation to any known and visible person, acts of fraud, robbery, murder, lose all distinct place in the memory. Such acts are remembered only through persons. And hence it is that many interesting murders, worthy to become cabinet gems in a museum of such works, have wasted their sweetness on the desert air even in our time, for no other reason than that the parties concerned did not amplify their proportions upon the public eye; the sufferers were perhaps themselves knaves; and the doers had retreated from all public knowledge into the mighty crowds of London or Glasgow.

This excursus, on the case of adventurers who run away from their own crimes into the pathless wildernesses of vast cities, may appear disproportionate. But excuse it, reader, for the subject is interesting; and with relation to our Eastern empire it is peculiarly so. Many are the anecdotes we could tell, derived from Oriental connections, about foreign scamps who have first exposed the cloven foot when inextricably connected with political intrigues or commercial interests, or possibly with domestic and confidential secrets. The dangerousness of their characters first began to reveal itself after they had become dangerous by their present position.