Between 1797 and 1818, petitions to British parliament favouring extended or universal male suffrage were rejected either because they were printed or because of the language in which they were written. Trials for sedition, discussions in parliament, comments in newspapers, and responses to petitions relied on the notion of vulgarity to argue against the concept of extended or universal male suffrage. One of Jeremy Bentham's favourite targets for attack was the legal fictions of common law, whereas James Mill's target in the The History of British India was the fiction of the economic and cultural riches of India. Mill often condemned European travellers in India and East India Company officials for exaggerating India's wealth. But Mill's attack on the fiction of Indian wealth was rooted in a definite economic doctrine. He took a strict economic view of imperialism in India. Mill demonstrated that India was of no economic benefit to Britain, and also pointed out the inconveniences of government at a distance as well as the corrupt patronage involved in governing colonies.
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