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Omitted Passages And Varied Readings
by [?]

Mr. Bennett mentions one lively illustration of this in the case of a foreigner, who had come immediately from the Cape of Good Hope; so far, but not farther, he could be traced. And what part had he played at the Cape? The illustrious one of private sentinel, with a distant prospect perhaps of rising to be a drum-major. This man–possibly a refugee from the bagnio at Marseilles, or from the Italian galleys–was soon allowed to seat himself in an office of L1,000 per annum. For what? For which of his vices? Our English and Scottish brothers, honourable and educated, must sacrifice country, compass land and sea, face a life of storms, with often but a slender chance of any result at all from their pains, whilst a foreign rascal (without any allegation of merit in his favour) shall at one bound, by planting his servility in the right quarter and at the fortunate hour, vault into an income of 25,000 francs per annum; the money, observe, being national money–yours, ours, everybody’s–since at that period Ceylon did not pay her own expenses. Now, indeed, she does, and furnishes beside, annually, a surplus of L50,000 sterling. But still, we contend that places of trust, honour, and profit, won painfully by British blood, are naturally and rightfully to be held in trust as reversions for the children of the family. To return, however, and finish the history of our scamp, it happened that through the regular action of his office, and in part perhaps through some irregular influence or consideration with which his station invested him, he became the depositary of many sums saved laboriously by poor Ceylonese. These sums he embezzled; or, as a sympathizing countryman observed of a similar offence in similar circumstances, he ‘gave an irregular direction to their appropriation.’ You see, he could not forget his old Marseilles tricks. This, however, was coming it too strong for his patron, who in spite of his taste for adulation was a just governor. Our poor friend was summoned most peremptorily to account for the missing dollars; and because it did not occur to him that he might plead, as another man from Marseilles in another colony had done, ‘that the white ants had eaten the dollars,’ he saw no help for it but to cut his throat, and cut his throat he did. This being done, you may say that he had given such a receipt as he could, and had entitled himself to a release. Well, we are not unmerciful; and were the case of the creditors our own, we should not object. But we remark, besides the private wrong, a posthumous injury to the British nation which this foreigner was enabled to commit; and it was twofold: he charged the pension-list of Ceylon with the support of his widow, in prejudice of other widows left by our meritorious countrymen, some of whom had died in battle for the State; and he had attainted, through one generation at least, the good faith of our nation amongst the poor ignorant Cinghalese, who cannot be expected to distinguish between true Englishmen and other Europeans whom English governors may think proper to exalt in the colony.

Cases such as these, it is well known to the learned in that matter, have been but too frequent in our Eastern colonies; and we do assert that any single case of that nature is too much by one. Even where the question is merely one of courtesy to science or to literature, we complain heavily, not at all of that courtesy, but that by much too great a preponderance is allowed to the pretensions of foreigners. Everybody at Calcutta will recollect the invidious distinctions (invidious upon contrast) paid by a Governor-General some years ago to a French savant, who came to the East as an itinerant botanist and geologist on the mission of a Parisian society. The Governor was Lord William Bentinck. His Excellency was a radical, and, being such, could swallow ‘homage’ by the gallon, which homage the Frenchman took care to administer. In reward he was publicly paraded in the howdah of Lady William Bentinck, and caressed in a way not witnessed before or since. Now this Frenchman, after visiting the late king of the Sikhs at Lahore, and receiving every sort of service and hospitality from the English through a devious route of seven thousand miles (treatment which in itself we view with pleasure), finally died of liver complaint through his own obstinacy. By way of honour to his memory, the record of his three years’ wanderings has been made public. What is the expression of his gratitude to the English? One service he certainly rendered us: he disabused, if that were possible, the French of their silly and most ignorant notions as to our British government in India and Ceylon: he could do no otherwise, for he had himself been astounded at what he saw as compared with what he had been taught to expect. Thus far he does us some justice and therefore some service, urged to it by his bitter contempt of the French credulity wherever England is slandered. But otherwise he treats with insolence unbounded all our men of science, though his own name has made little impression anywhere: and, in his character of traveller he speaks of himself as of one laying the foundation-stone of any true knowledge with regard to India. In particular he dismisses with summary contempt the Travels of Bishop Heber–not very brilliant perhaps, but undoubtedly superior both in knowledge and in style to his own. Yet this was the man selected for feting by the English Governor-General; as though courtesy to a Frenchman could not travel on any line which did not pass through a mortifying slight to Englishmen.