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British Ceylon And The Indian Experience: Connecting Policies

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Chapter Summary

It has been pointed out that historians tend to portray governor North as a radical and idealistic reformer and Maitland as a pragmatic and reactionary ruler. This chapter argues that both North and Maitland were ideologically inspired and tried to accommodate their policies to contemporary political trends in Britain and India. This places North’s radicalism in a different perspective, and calls into question Maitland’s conservatism and his proclaimed return to the Dutch system of government. It seems that the Dutch and the British on Ceylon were both affected in some way by the new ideas on political economy that had developed in Europe in the course of the eighteenth century. There were clear differences between Dutch and British perceptions of good rule and progress and development on the island. These were directly related to the intellectual climate and political developments at home.

Keywords: British; Ceylon; conservatism; Dutch; Europe; Frederick North; India; political economy; Thomas Maitland



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