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historians have refuted some of Macaulay's statements. When Macaulay wrote the brilliant essay on Hastings (1841), James Mill's History of British India (London, 1818) was generally accepted as an authority deserving full confidence. Macaulay relied implicitly upon Mill for his facts. “There is not an important fact in his essay on Warren Hastings which is not taken from Mill's History” (Strachey, India, 194). Later investigators have discredited Mill's History in important particulars. For instance, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, in the Story of Nuncomar and the Impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey (London, 1885), has rescued Chief Justice Impey's name from the ignominy which Macaulay, innocently following Mill, heaped upon it; and Sir John Strachey, in Hastings and the Rohilla War (Oxford, 1892), has refuted the worst of the charges made against Hastings by Burke in the famous speech impeaching Hastings, - charges repeated by Mill and Macaulay. Burke was misled by the unscrupulous Sir Philip Francis, Hastings' lifelong enemy, as Macaulay was afterward misled by Mill.
In spite of these inaccuracies, however, Macaulay's essay on Hastings remains the most entertaining account of the period with which it deals; and the shortest road to-day to a comprehension of that period begins with Macaulay's essays on Clive and Hastings.
Macaulay wrote these essays after a four years' residence in India, but it does not appear that during this period his studies led him to suspect the untruthfulness of Mill as a historian, or that his duties as legal adviser to the Supreme Council of India would have permitted him, even had he thought it necessary, to investigate the documentary evidence upon which Mill had based his false conclusions. This documentary evidence is now available through the publication of G. W. Forrest's Letters, Despatches, and other State Papers preserved in the Foreign Department of the Government of India, 1772-1785 (Calcutta, 1890). Not until late in 1840, more than two years after his return from India, did Macaulay think of writing the essay on Hastings. In a letter to Napier, editor of the Edinburgh Review, dated November 13, 1840, Macaulay says: “I see that a life of Warren Hastings is just coming out. I mark it for mine. I will try to make as interesting an article, though I fear not so flashy, as that on Clive.” His four years' residence in India cannot be regarded, therefore, as having contributed accuracy to Macaulay's account of Hastings.
What it did contribute was true local coloring to his descriptions. We read the essay on Hastings not primarily for the sake of the historical facts (though we should be more grateful if these were in every respect accurate), but for its literary and rhetorical qualities, — for its vivid pictures of great men and great events, its clearness and charm in narrative, its admirable structure, its plausibility in argument.
Two features of this edition require especial mention, the section entitled “ Macaulay as a Reviser," and the section entitled “Questions on the Rhetorical Qualities of the Essay.” The first is intended to demonstrate by concrete examples the value of revision and self-correction; the second suggests an economical method of studying style.
The editor acknowledges his indebtedness to all who have preceded him in the annotation of this essay. Each note is fully accredited.
COLUMBUS, July, 1907.
L. J. TROTTER Warren Hastings. Oxford, 1897.
of Sir Elijah Impey. 2 vols. London, 1885. E. B. IMPEY . A Life of Sir Elijah Impey. London, 1846. G. W. FORREST Letters, Despatches, and other State Papers
preserved in the Foreign Department of the Government of India, 1772–1785. Calcutta,
1890–1892. A. LYALL.
The Rise of the British Dominion in India.
New York, 1893. W. W. HUNTER. A Brief History of the Indian Peoples. Ox
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Macaulay by Keene. LESLIE STEPHEN Hours in a Library, 3 vols. London, 1892.
Vol. iii. G. 0. TREVELYAN The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, 2 vols.
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New York, 1882. R. C. JEBB
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Vol. ii (or National Review, January, 1856). E. P. WHIPPLE. Essays and Reviews, 2 vols. Boston, 1883.
Vol. i. W. MINTO.
A Manual of English Prose Literature. Bos
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Series). London, 1894. H. MARTINEAU Biographical Sketches. New York, 1869. W. E. GLADSTONE . Gleanings of Past Years, 4 vols. New York,
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Lord Macaulay (in Beacon Lights of History).