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By David Weir

Argues that the myths and beliefs of William Blake's poetry have been seriously inspired by means of the Oriental Renaissance - the British discovery of Hindu literature.

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Example text

Francis denied one of the principal claims made by the supporters of the East India Company, that the condition of the indigenous population had improved under the Company’s administration, asserting instead that “provinces . . ” There can be no doubt that the Analytical Review seconds this assessment, as the anonymous reviewer editorializes over the Francis pamphlet: “[I]t affords but a melancholy prospect to every man who has the welfare of his fellow-creatures at heart, as it conveys an idea, that our conquests and acquisitions tend but to add to the sum of human misery” (AR 17: 214).

Burke’s humanitarian rhetoric, however moving, seems to have been uttered mainly for party purposes, since “he showed far more interest in exposing abuses and attacking individuals than in working out a constructive policy of reform” (Sutherland, 367–68). Burke also viewed Indian society through the lens of his own ideology of natural law, understanding the caste system in India, for example, “as a noteworthy example of the natural order of things under God” (Bearce, 16). The prosecution of Hastings, then, was a way of defending the stable institutions of society, whether in England or in India: “In Asia as well as in Europe,” Burke averred, “the same law of nations prevails, the same principles are continually resorted to, and the same maxims held and strenuously maintained.

Dec. 1793]: 335). Fox’s comments are prefaced by a paragraph that makes the Analytical Review’s position on commercial monopoly and political empire remarkably clear: The caustic is as necessary in some cases of political, as of animal disease. Few seem to require it more, than the exhausted excrescences of chartered monopoly. And we know few political surgeons better capable of administering it, than the spirited and intelligent writer of this pamphlet. In a bold vein of sarcasm, he expresses his admiration of the facility with which a British council gives laws to distant regions; of the munificence, with which immense asiatic nations are conveyed by royal charter to certain men, women, and children, of various nations, called the honourable the East-India company; and of the wisdom so seasonably exerted to secure this extraordinary dominion, at a time when it has been found, by experience, that distant dominions stand on a very slippery foundation.

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