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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
KNIGHT OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER; ONE OF HIS BRITANNICK MAJESTY'S HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL; LIEUTENANT-GENERAL OF HIS MAJESTY'S FORCES; GOVERNOR-GENERAL AND COMMANDER-INCHIEF OF ALL THE POSSESSIONS AND FORCES OF HIS BRITANNICK MAJESTY, AND OF THE HONOURABLE THE UNITED COMPANY OF MERCHANTS'OF ENGLAND, IN THE EAST-INDIES, Sec. &c. fce.
Dedicatory praise hath
ever beeri suspected of sincerity; and passes, indeed, among men of the world, as a strain of turgid language, designed to court favour, soothe the vanity of a patron, or—in its best sense, to express the hasty dictates of gratitude.—Yet, I have the confidence to hope, that the tenour of this Dedication will deserve a less severe censure, and that it will be even said, I have narrowed the limits of my subject.
When I had resolved to intrude my book of Travels on the notice of the public, I naturally looked around, being an unknown author, for some name to give it a sanction; not the sanction of wealth or grandeur; for they are not always the criterion of worth; but that which was to be obtained from the man, who stood eminent for the qualities which most essentially contribute to the honour and welfare of his country.
The object of this search, which does not cross the eye at every glance, was seen with pleasure; and though the uses derived from it may be deemed presumptuous, I could not resist the desire of fixing so bright an ornament to my work; and of offering, however slender, my tribute of applause to actions, which demand a distinguished page in the annals of our nation.
Iii Fortune, which, from the day of ancient Rome, has been ordinarily followed by neglect, obscurity, and oftentimes disgrace, opened a more extensive field for the display of Your Lordship's endowments; and like the blasts of Winter on the rooted oak, hold out honourable testimony of superior strength.
In the Eastern world, Your Lordship has been opposed to an enemy far more formidable, — the possession of a power never before exercised by a British subject; not even committed to the first magistrate of our state; and which extends over a spacious region, a numerous and wealthy people. Yet, far removed from controul, in a land whose every principle of government is actuated by a rapacious avarice, whose people never approach the gate of authority without an offering, we have seen, and with wonder, the inflexible maintenance of an integrity, only to be equalled by a temperate use of command.
But, panegyrick being the least grateful where it is the most due, I will close this address, with a zealous wish, that Your Lordship may yet continue to govern the British dominion in India, and complete the work that already hath assumed so fair an aspect. The sacrifice is great, but the reward is still greater; it will reach beyond the sovereign's bounty, or the people's praise.