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India at that particular time were Holkar and Scindiah (pronounced Sindy), who were soon cut short in their career by the hostilities which they provoked with us, but would else have proved, in combination, a deadlier scourge to India than either Hyder or his ferocious son. My mother, in fact, a great reader of the poet Cowper, drew from him her notions of Anglo-Indian policy and its effects. Cowper, in his
"Task," puts the question,
"Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
Pretty much the same authority it is which the British public of this day has for its craze upon the subject of English oppression amongst the Hindoos.
My uncle, meantime, who from his Indian experience should reasonably have known so much better, was disposed, from the mere passive habits of hearing and reading unresistingly so many assaults of this tone against our Indian policy, to go along with my mother. But he was too just, when forced into reflection upon the subject, not to bend at times to my way of stating the case for England. Suddenly, however, our Indian discussions were brought to a close by the following incident. My uncle had brought with him to England some Arabian horses, and amongst them a beautiful young Persian mare, called Sumroo, the gentlest of her race. Sumroo it was that he happened to be riding, upon a frosty day. Unused to ice, she came down with him, and broke his right leg. This accident laid him up for a month, during which my mother and I read to him.
by turns. One book, which one day fell to my share by accident, was De Foe's "Memoirs of a Cavalier." This book attempts to give a picture of the Parliamentary war; but in some places an unfair, and everywhere a most superficial account. I said so; and my uncle, who had an old craze in behalf of the book, opposed me with asperity; and, in the course of what he said, under some movement of ill-temper, he asked me, in a way which I felt to be taunting, how I could consent to waste my time as I did. Without any answering warmth, I explained that my guardians, having quarrelled with me, would not grant for my use anything beyond my school allow. ance of one hundred pounds per annum. But was it not possible that even this sum might by economy be made to meet the necessities of the case? I replied that, from what I had heard, very probably it Would I undertake an Oxford life upon such terms? Most gladly, I said. Upon that opening he spoke to my mother; and the result was, that, within seven days from the above conversation, I found myself entering that time-honored university.
Ir was in winter, and in the wintry weather of the year 1803, that I first entered Oxford with a view to its vast means of education, or rather with a view to its vast advantages for study. A ludicrous story is told of a young candidate for clerical orders — that, being asked by the bishop's chaplain if he had ever "been to Oxford," as a colloquial expression for having had an academic education, he replied, "No: but he had twice been to Abingdon:" Abingdon being only seven miles distant. In the same sense I might say that once before I had been at Oxford: but that was as a transient visitor with Lord W. when we were both children. Now, on the contrary, I approached these venerable towers in the character of a student, and with the purpose of a long connection; personally interested in the constitution of the university, and obscurely anticipating that in this city, or at least during the period of my nominal attachment to this academic body, the remoter parts of my future life would unfold before me. All hearts were at this time occupied with the public interests of the country. The "sorrow of the time was ripening to a second harvest. Napoleon had commenced his Vandal, or rather Hunnish war with