British Rule, Not British Rights [British Empire]. Observations Upon the Administration of Justice in Bengal; Occasioned by Some Late Proceedings at Dacca. [London, 1778]. 52; 68 pp. Quarto (9-3/4" x 7-3/4"). Recent marbled boards, endpapers renewed. Light toning to interior, light creasing or faint fold lines in a few places, light foxing and soiling to several leaves. A nice copy of a scarce and interesting title. $850. * Only edition. Published five years after the radical reorganization of the East India Company that elevated Warren Hastings to the position of Governor-General. This work reviews the new legal system in light of its stated goals: "To preserve the Commerce and Revenues of the Company from Depredation, ...to relieve the Subject from Oppression, by facilitating the Means of Redress; and... to establish a fixed, lasting, and regular Course of Justice" (4). It studies examples of English justice in India, political philosophy and primary documents. These include correspondence to and from Hastings and petitions to the King from native inhabitants in translation. The author concludes that English laws and customs suffer from a fundamental "Incongruity... with the religious Institutions and local Habits of the People of Bengal" and cannot be applied there without significant modification. At play in this conclusion are both nominal concern for the wishes of the locals and the desire to maintain a rigid social hierarchy. Any call to suspend the English justice system would also suspend the rights afforded to those it governs, making the native inhabitants easier to control. The author notes as a defect that the English system "introduces a Levelling Principle among People accustomed to the most rigid Subordination of Rank and Character." OCLC locates 6 copies of this title in North America, 2 in law libraries (Harvard, University of Minnesota). English Short-Title Catalogue T99076.
Book number 74218