Charles Thomas Paske - Life and Travel in Lower Burmah / A Retrospect
Life and Travel in Lower Burmah / A Retrospect
It is the fashion nowadays—and it seems to me a somewhat injudicious practice—to publish the record of one’s travels and experiences within a few weeks after returning home, whereas many opinions that the writer would naturally hold while still under the unsettling influence of travel, might be at least very considerably modified, were the final proof corrected ten years later, without losing in value.
The present form of these retrospective glances, which skim lightly over half-a-dozen years in some kind of chronological order, has been prepared from a manuscript that has during the past two years received many amendments; so that the reader has at least an unbiassed account of a few years’ official residence in one of the most promising of our Eastern possessions.
The appalling multiplication of English books is probably destined to continue until Macaulay’s New-Zealander contemplates the ruins of St. Paul’s, and it would almost appear that the classes and masses are alike following Dr. Johnson’s advice: “Read anything for five hours a day and you will soon be learned.”
In spite, however, of the modern facilities for publishing, had there been no further object in view than the narration of a few personal experiences, the author would never have launched another venture on the troubled sea. Our legislators have for some time past been contemplating a distant and hazy vista of Utopia, though faulty navigation has carried the vessel far wide of the destination, and will, not improbably, land her some day on the rocks.
Of particular and terrible interest is their future Indian policy; and those who are good enough to read the following pages will find not a few startling instances of how far such policy has hitherto been based on sound practical lines.
In some cases, the author has maybe expressed his convictions with candour rather than discretion; but as he has ever stood by his guns, I think it would have been exceeding what was expected of me, had I modified one or two expressions of opinion that are almost certain to meet with stormy weather in certain latitudes.
So tiny and insignificant a craft, however, may surely hope to ride the angry waves and arrive safely in port.