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So now, apologising for unavoidable delay in its production, I cast my little book upon the waters, trusting that it may be deemed at least a healthy contribution to Anglo-Indian literature, and, for the present, respectfully bidding my kind friends and patrons-farewell !
1.-SIR ALEXANDER BURNES, C.B.
SOME DISTINGUISHED ANGLO-INDIANS.
THE BROTHERS BURNES.
"THE old East India House, in Leadenhall Street, is rapidly disappearing, and nothing remains to shew of it except the portico, and this will be levelled to the ground in the course of a few days.” Such was the announcement made in the London journals about the middle of September, 1862. Warehouses and chambers were soon to cover the site of the once palace of London merchants, of the Company founded in the year 1600, under the denomination of “The Governor and Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies,” which had risen to such great eminence in the commercial and political world.
Here was a grand theme for reflection! The disappearance of the relic of what has been well styled the most celebrated association of ancient or modern times, which extended its sway over the entire Mogul Empire;what an interesting subject for the student of history!
The merchants first transacted business in the Nag's Head Inn, Bishopsgate Street. The old East India House, I learn, was erected after 1726, and completed and enlarged in 1798—99. What a number of celebrated men had stood under the portico, now about to be swept
No more were we to gaze on that stately entrance, on that tympanum containing figures such as
* [What a contrast the old House forms with the palatial India Office in St. James' Park, recently presided over by the Duke of Argyll, and now (1874) by the Marquis of Salisbury !]
Mercury, attended by Navigation, followed by tritons and sea-horses--emblems of commerce-introducing Asia to Britannia, before whom she spreads her productions.
But we might continue to think of those architects of their own fortunes-nearly all of them belonging to the middle classes—who had given such imperishable lustre to Indian history. In selecting for the following pictures the Traveller and the Physician, as connected with the Indian service, I will not presume to say that the greatest example of each class has been presented. The sketches must speak for themselves.
After the spirit of mercantile enterprise, to those who have laboured like the above two actors in the great drama, India owes much of her prosperity. To we have the traveller and “political,” Sir Thomas Roe, who, after exploring the Amazon, in America, first travelled to the Court of the Great Mogul; we have Boughton, the surgeon and diplomatist, who cured the Mogul's
beautiful daughter, and, as a recompense, was allowed to found British trade in Bengal.
Hindustan has since then passed through many trials. The demand for cotton, it is to be hoped, will now do much for Bombay and Madras; and, whatever may be thought of amalgamation, let us, as calm observers, accept as prophetic truth, what was eloquently uttered by Her Majesty's Secretary of State (July 17th, 1862), that there is " a future of great prosperity in store for India."
LONDON, October 23rd, 1862.