24 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 20

7'he History of the British Empire in India (1844 - 62). 2

vols. Vol. I. By Lionel James Trotter, late 2nd Bengal Fusiliers. (Allen.)— This work is intended to form a sequel to Thornton's History of India, and embraces the period extending from the appointment of Lord Hardinge as Viceroy to the overthrow of the East India Company. The first volume brings the history down to the retirement of the Marquis of Dalhousie. It would seem that the author himself only looks upon his work in the light of a temporary book of reference, as he says in his preface that "the period thus embraced, remarkable, &c., has yet to be handled in all its fullness of suggestive details by some future Mil- man, gifted with all the special knowledge of the late Mr. James Mill." From that point of view we should not be inclined to find fault with it ; the words flow with great facility from the writer's pen, if they do not always convey a very distinct meaning, and the opinions expressed are in harmony with the best authorities. But he is wanting in the essential qualities of a historian, the power of arranging his matter as a whole and grasping the facts in true historical perspective, and the power of forming a judgment in the midst of a number of conflicting con- siderations. The consequence is that we do not get a clear idea either of the general bearing of the history, or of the particular persons and incidents described. We feel that we are only reading a chronicle, with just the kind of comment that might be allowable in a contemporary periodicaL