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From commerce to conquest : the dynamics of early British imperial expansion into Bengal Berger, Mark Theodore 1983

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FROM COMMERCE TO CONQUEST: THE DYNAMICS OF EARLY BRITISH IMPERIAL EXPANSION INTO BENGAL by MARK THEODORE BERGER B.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1982 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of History) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 19 83 (c) Mark Theodore Berger, 1983 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I agree t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a gree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e head o f my department o r by h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C olumbia 1956 Main Mall V a n c ouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date Q,t 7/H  )E-6 (3/81) ( i i ) Abstract By the 1740s the English East India Company's trade and i t s servants' private trade in India were suffering as a re-s u l t of both the increasing turmoil i n the sub-continent, as the Mughal Empire declined, and the growing competition of the French. In response to t h i s s i t u a t i o n the Court of Directors and the B r i t i s h government despatched an increasing amount of men, ships and arms to India. Starting on the Coromandel Coast i n the mid-1740s the Company's servants were able to use the Company's growing m i l i -tary establishment not only to combat the French threat and protect the Company's trade but also to acquire large presents from grate-f u l princes and to obtain p r i v i l e g e s that helped to enhance and improve their private trading a c t i v i t i e s . The defense and im.?=., provement of the Company's position i n Bengal was also regarded as important and when Fort William was captured by the Nawab of Bengal i n 1756 the Company's servants did not hesitate to intervene m i l i t a r i l y in Bengal p o l i t i c s . The Court of Directors countenanced t h i s involvement, a l b e i t with less enthusiasm than the servants on the spot who were as motivated by private greed as they were by corporate i n t e r e s t . The conquest of Bengal, which occurred within an environment of declining Mughal power and accelerating French competition i n India, must also be set i n an even broader context in which the English and the French were fi g h t i n g not just for control i n India, but for the hegemony of an expanding c a p i t a l i s t world-economy controlled l a r g e l y by Europe. Against this backdrop Bengal was conquered, between 1757-1765, largely as a re s u l t of the sub-imperialism of the Company's servants on the spot who had discovered the personal p r o f i t to be had from involving the Company i n p o l i t i c a l and regardless of whether or not served by such involvement. ( i i i ) m i l i t a r y intervention in Bengal the Company's own interests were (iv) Table of Contents Glossary p. v. Governors of the Presidency of Fort William i n Bengal p. v i . Nawabs of Bengal p. v i . Mughal Emperors p. v i i . Currency Values i n Eighteenth Century Bengal p. v i i . Small Map of Eighteenth Century Bengal p. v i i i . Map of Eighteenth Century India p. v i i i . Large Map of Eighteenth Century Bengal p. i x . Chapter One: The Historiography of the Conquest of Bengal p. 1. Chapter Two: The Rise of B r i t i s h Commercial Hegemony i n Asia 1600-1800 p. 23. Chapter Three: The P o l i t i c s of English Trade in Bengal to the Death of A l i v a r d i Khan 1600-1756 p. 47. Chapter Four: The Indo-European Balance of Power: The Decline of the Mughals and the Ascent of the B r i t i s h 1700-1756 p. 63. Chapter Five':' From Commerce to Conquest: Bengal i n 1756-1757 p. 83. Chapter Six: C l i v e 1 s F i r s t Governorship June 1758-January 1760 p. 108. Chapter Seven: Vansittart's Governorship July 1760-December 1764 p. 122. Conclusion p. 147. Postscript p. 152. Bibliography p. 153. (v) G l o s s a r y assamies- porkers who e x t r a c t e d and r e f i n e d s a l t p e t r e i n B i h a r . aurang-a 'term used i n Bengal to d e s c r i b e p l a c e s where export goods were produced; a 'group of v i l l a g e s or small towns i n the country c o n s t i t u t e d one aurang. b a t t a - a 'discount a p p l i e d to Mughal c o i n s o l d e r than the year of mintage or to c o i n s c o n s i d e r e d non-standard. chauki-customs s t a t i o n . crore-one hundred l a k h s , dastak-a c e r t i f i c a t e . diwan-chief f i n a n c i a l m i n i s t e r , r e c e i v e r of revenues. durbar-the c o u r t o f r u l i n g p r i n c e s or v i c e r o y s i n India.' far-man—the Mughal i m p e r i a l decree or e d i c t . f a u j d a r - t h e Mughal m i l i t a r y under-governor o f a d i s t r i c t . gomasta-a h a l l i f f or the agent of merchants. husb-ul-hukum-a document i s s u e d by o f f i c e r s o f s t a t e on r o y a l a u t h o r i t y . Jagat Sheth-a 'term l i t e r a l l y meaning the merchant o f the world, an h o n o r i f i c t i t l e g i v e n by the Mughal Emperor to great merchants. j a g i r - a n assignment o f lands and t h e i r revenue f o r the maintenance of a ' m i l i t a r y f o r c e o f a mansabdar. j a g i r d a r - t h e h o l d e r o f a j a g i r . l akh-the I n d i a n word f o r 100,000. mansab—ml1itary t i t l e or rank c o n f e r r e d by the Mughal government, r e g u l a t e d by the supposed number of horse the h o l d e r of the t i t l e c o u l d , i f r e q u i r e d , bring- i n t o the f i e l d , v a r y i n g from 10-10,000. mansabdar-the h o l d e r of a man sab. n a i b - a 'deputy v i c e r o y , u s u a l l y of a subha.' pargana-a d i s t r i c t , c o v e r i n g a number o f v i l l a g e s . parwana-an order or covenant from the government. pi s h k a s h - p r e s e n t s g i v e n to a r o y a l c o u r t i n India. 1 r y o t - a ' c u l t i v a t o r or peasant. ( v i ) sanad-a 'government grant u s u a l l y conveying t i t l e s , p r i v i l e g e s or o f f i c e s . shahbandar-harbour master. subha-a province of Mughal India.' sub'ahdar-the Mughal v i c e r o y of a province. tuncaw-it gives to i t s holder the r i g h t to the amount s t i p u l a t e d , to be taken from the tr e a s u r y of the area on which i t i s due as soon as the revenues f o r the area come i n t o the treasury. v a k i l - a p o l i t i c a l agent or r e p r e s e n t a t i v e . V i z i e r - M u s l i m , Mughal premier. zamindar-holder of a 'zamindari. zamindari-a major laridholding u s u a l l y covering a pargana or s e v e r a l parganas. Governors of the Presidency of Fort W i l l i a m , i n Bengal Roger Drake J r . 8 August 1752—22 June 1758 W i l l i a m Watts 22 June 1758—26 June 1758 Robert C l i v e 27 June 1758—23 January 1760 John Z. H o l w e l l 24 January 1760—26 J u l y 1760 Henry V a n s i t t a r t 27 J u l y 1760—3 December 1764 John Spencer 3 December 1764—3 May 1765 Baron Robert C l i v e 3 May 1765—29 January 1767 Harry V e r e l s t January 1767—December 1769 John C a r t i e r December 1 7 6 9 — A p r i l 1772 Nawabs of Bengal Murshid Q u l i Khan 1717-1727 Sar f a r a z Khan 1727 Shuja-ud-din Khan 1727-1739 Sa r f a r a z Khan 1739-1740 A l i v a r d i Khan 1740-175 6 S i r a j - u d - d a u l a < 1756-1757 Mir J a f a r 1757-1760 Mir Kasim 1760-1763 Mir J a f a r 1763-1765 Najm-ud-daula • 1765-1766 Saif-ud-daula • 1766-1770 Mubarak-ud-daula • 177Q-1793 ( v i i ) Mughal Emperors Shah Jahan 1628-1657 Aurangzeb 1658-1707 Bahadur Shah 1707-1712 Jahandir Shah 1712-1713 Farrukhsiyar 1713-1719 Muhammad Shah 1719-1748 Ahmad Shah 1748-1754 Alamgir; 1754-1759 Shah Alam II 1759-1806 Currency Values i n Eighteenth Century Bengal (source Marshall EIF 1976 p. v i i . ) Before 1770 2s. 3d. equalled one current rupee £l equalled approx. nine rupees After 1770 2s. equalled one current rupee £l equalled ten rupees Before 1770 £11,000 equalled one lakh After 1770 £10,000 equalled one lakh BENGAL (AFTER RENNELL)^ i Stan&rtl'a Geog! JSstdb'.LoTvloru (1) Chapter One: The H i s t o r i o g r a p h y of the Conquest of Bengal In h i s famous book, The Expansion of England, p u b l i s h e d i n 1884, the B r i t i s h h i s t o r i a n J . R. Seeley was the f i r s t to argue t h a t "the a c q u i s i t i o n o f I n d i a was made b l i n d l y " . He claimed t h a t "nothing great t h a t has ever been done by Englishmen was done so 1 u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y , so a c c i d e n t a l l y , as the conquest of I n d i a . " S eeley c h a r a c t e r i z e d the E n g l i s h Company's wars o f conquest i n 2 I n d i a as e n t i r e l y d e f e n s i v e . In h i s a n a l y s i s the Company's " f i r s t step to empire" was made f o r the sole purpose of p r o t e c t i n g i t s f a c t o r i e s from I n d i a n or French a g g r e s s i o n . More s p e c i f i c a l l y S eeley a s s e r t e d t h a t the conquest of Bengal sprang from "the ev-i d e n t n e c e s s i t y o f p r o t e c t i n g F o r t W i l l i a m and p u n i s h i n g the Mussulman Nawab of Bengal Surajah Dowlah, f o r h i s a t r o c i t y o f the Bl a c k Hole." However, even Seeley, the f a t h e r o f B r i t i s h I m p e r i a l H i s t o r y and a confirmed a p o l o g i s t f o r empire, d i d not deny t h a t i n some i n s t a n c e s the E n g l i s h i n I n d i a were " h u r r i e d on by mere r a p a c i t y . 1 , 3 Seeley's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f the conquest o f I n d i a was t y p i c a l of l a t e n i n e t e e n t h century B r i t i s h h i s t o r i c a l w r i t i n g . H i s t o r i a n s w r i t i n g a t t h a t time, and i n the e a r l y t w e n t i e t h century, u s u a l l y r e p r e s e n t e d the ei g h t e e n t h century conquest of I n d i a as a def e n s i v e response to French commercial and m i l i t a r y c o m p e t i t i o n , and to the a n a r c h i c a l p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n i n I n d i a which developed w i t h the d e c l i n e o f the Mughals. Although they were o b v i o u s l y aware th a t the E n g l i s h East I n d i a Company was a t r a d i n g company, these h i s t o r i a n s i n t e r p r e t e d events i n b a s i c a l l y p o l i t i c a l terms, i g n o r i n g , or o v e r l o o k i n g , the Company's commercial a c t i v i t i e s and the r o l e ( 2 ) of the private trade of the Company's employees. This i s the approach taken i n the works of such well known B r i t i s h h istorians as Henry Dodwell, P. E. Roberts, and S. C. H i l l , as well as the French h i s t o r i a n A l f r e d Martineau, a l l of whom were writing in,or 4 around, the f i r s t quarter of the present century. There are also more recent exponents of what may be c a l l e d the defensive interpretation of B r i t i s h expansion i n India.> For example, the B r i t i s h h i s t o r i a n P h i l i p Mason (pseudonym Woodruff), a former member of the Indian C i v i l Service, has argued that the B r i t i s h takeover of Bengal was defensive insofar as the Company's employees embarked on a m i l i t a r y course i n order to achieve two l i m i t e d objectives: to expel the French and protect t h e i r trade. Unfortunately, according to Mason, "they had been led further than they meant to go; they had wanted power but had not r e a l i z e d i t 5 must bring r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . " Another defensive interpretation was presented i n 1960 by the American' h i s t o r i a n , John S. Galbralth. In developing h i s theory of the "turbulent f r o n t i e r " , a concept which he applied to the entire Empire, Galbralth argued that the English were faced with the r e a l i t y , i n eighteenth century India,- where turmoil and war were rampant, that the only way the safety of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay could be assured was by expanding the Company's and B r i t a i n ' s p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y presence inland, despite the fact that the t e r r i t o r y acquired was not always of commercial im-6 portance. The B r i t i s h h i s t o r i a n P e r c i v a l Spear also interprets the conquest of Bengal i n p a r t i a l l y defensive terms. In 1961 he claimed that, at the time of Plassey, Clive entertained "no thought (3) of annexation and conquest." Clive was only concerned to "safe-guard the Company's in t e r e s t , which meant arranging for a f r i e n d l y government i n Bengal and Bihar." But, Clive was also concerned with getting r i c h , and a f t e r Plassey, says Spear, " f i n a n c i a l greed ;and public p o l i c y so intertwined themselves as to compass the ruin 7 of Bengal." Thus Spear attributes the conquest, at least i n part, to the servants' headlong pursuit of personal wealth i n trade, appointments, presents and bribes. In a 'biography of Clive^ Spear notes that i n 1760 Clive proposed to the B r i t i s h government that i t annex Bengal because of the f i n a n c i a l advantages of such a move. However, says Spear, Clive quickly dropped t h i s plan the moment i t was apparent that the government was unwilling to execute i t . And, after t h i s , C l i v e ' s "abiding object was to l i m i t rather than extend the Company's dominion." Spear also claims that even under Cornwallis, B r i t i s h India -was a "deliberately defensive and l i m i -Q ted state." This i s true i n theory, i f not i n practice, since P i t t ' s India Act of 1784 did f o r b i d the pursuit of "schemes of conquest 9 and extension of dominion i n India." Pamela 'Nightingale has recently provided an1 account of the conquest of Bengal that i s similar to Spear's. Written i n 1970, her book deals p r i m a r i l y with the B r i t i s h on the west coast of India,' but Bengal i s also discussed. She asserts that the Company i n i t i a l l y became involved i n p o l i t i c s i n Bengal i n "self-defence." Then, af t e r the Company became entangled, "the weakness and chaos of the l o c a l p o l i t i c a l scene made retreat d i f f i c u l t , even i f i t had been desirable." She does not overlook the f a c t that the servants on -fde. 10 spot "used t h e i r new power to enrich themselves shamelessly." However, her analysis implies that+his was more of a side e f f e c t (4) than1 an important element i n the conquest. On the other hand, in the case of the Company's t e r r i t o r i a l expansion on the west coast of India 'between 1784 and 1806, Nightingale stresses the paramount importance of the economic motive and of private i n i t i a t i v e . She argues that here expansion was an offensive move to take over new t e r r i t o r y for economic gain. She notes that previously i t had been supposed that the English Company's annexations on India's west coast were a response to the French threat; however, her findings do not bear t h i s out. Even afte r 1784, and the e s t a b l i s h -ment of the Board of Control i n London and the Governor-Generalship i n Bengal, the B r i t i s h on the spot i n western India continued to act with considerable independence. In consequence the Company's t e r r i t o r i a l expansion on the west coast "was a response c h i e f l y to l o c a l conditions which were r e s t r i c t i n g the,®commercial i n -11 terests of private B r i t i s h traders." The expansion that Nightingale describes can' well be regarded as sub-imperialism, although she h e r s e l f does not use the term. Sub-imperialism refers to the i n -dependent a c t i v i t y of the Company's servants on the spot, engaging i n p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y intervention and t e r r i t o r i a l expansion i n order to gain new advantages, usually economic, for themselves, some other inter e s t group, or even the Company, without the dir e c t 12 approval' or authorization of the authorities i n B r i t a i n . In 1973 E r i c Stokes used the concept of sub-imperialism to help explain the conquest of Bengal. In Stokes's opinion the e a r l i e r explanations of B r i t i s h conquest were probably right i n claiming that the Company had been forced to begin the takeover of Bengal to defend e x i s t i n g interests. However, he disputes the further claim that after inadvertently becoming the de facto rulers of (5) Bengal' i n 1757, the B r i t i s h were unwillingly dragged forward to conquer the province outright, simply to defend their p osition from h o s t i l e Indians aided by French mercenaries. This, i n Stokes's view overlooks the sub-imperialism of the Company's employees. The revolution at the time of Plassey, which brought Mir Jafar to the Nawabship as a puppet of the Company, was the beginning of the B r i t i s h experiment i n "private p r o f i t e e r i n g on a grandiose scale, and i t opened the floodgates." Stokes further points out that the consent of the Court of Directors to much of t h i s a c t i v i t y was obtained on the basis of the contention that t e r r i t o r i a l expansion would provide the revenue to support the costs of running the Company's settlements i n India, and would also finance the yearly shipment of Indian merchandise to Europe. However, i n r e a l i t y the Company very quickly began to lose money, and a large proportion of Bengal revenues ended i n the hands of the Company's servants 13 and stopped there. The emphasis placed by Stokes on the economic motive and sub-imperialism of the Company's servants also appears i n the work of American h i s t o r i a n Holden Furber. For Furber, writing i n 1948, the conquest of Bengal was primarily an endeavour to gain new eco-nomic advantages rather than protect e x i s t i n g ones. Furber admits that the conquest of India, beginning i n the mid-eighteenth century, had more than one cause; however, the fountainhead from which the conquest sprang was the perception that there was economic advan-tage i n p o l i t i c a l , intervention and imperial expansion. According to Furber, conquest grew "from forces within eighteenth century capitalism...which could not help but leave B r i t a i n mistress of India." In the case of the entire .second half of the eighteenth (6) century " B r i t i s h power in India grew out of the s t r i v i n g of an increasing number of Europeans for economic security through im-perialism." In C l i v e ' s time, "ac.few men fought for large rewards," while by the 1770s and 1780s th i s "had given way to an era when many men scrambled for what each regarded as a competence according 14 to h i s l i g h t s . " Subsequently, Furber modified his thesis that economic sub-imperialism was the p r i n c i p a l force behind B r i t i s h expansion i n Bengal and elsewhere. In 1976 he argued that " i t would be incorrect to regard the g a i n s — l i c i t as well as i l l i c i t — of the English Company's servants i n India as the chief force behind the expansion of B r i t i s h power. They were comparable rather to a • 15 catalyst which sets up a chain reaction." In the case of Bengal most historians now acknowledge the important role of the Company's servants on the spot, and t h e i r desire not only to defend existing economic interests, but also to acquire new ones. P. J. Marshall asserts that there was undoubtedly an important linkage between economic gain and p o l i t i c a l i n t e r -16 vention i n this period. He argues that i t i s primarily the a c t i v i t i e s of the servants on the spot and not the Court of Directors i n England, i n which the economic aspect of B r i t i s h imperialism i n 17 eighteenth century India i s most v i s i b l e . Marshall notes further, however, that, a f t e r establishing a motive for expansion, one must also ask why the B r i t i s h were able to embark on imperial expansion i n India? The answer i s that, by the early eighteenth century, the major European powers were far superior to any Asian government i n terms of state organization and m i l i t a r y technology. Prio r to mid-century the great distance between Europe and Asia made the cost of taking advantage of t h i s superiority p r o h i b i t i v e . But, after (7) 1740, the Company and the B r i t i s h government were increasingly w i l l i n g to spend the sizeable amount of money necessary to despatch and supply European ships and troops. Despite the fact that t h i s new m i l i t a r y presence was i n i t i a l l y , at least, to fight the French i t also represented a serious threat to the governments of the Indian sub-continent. Although Marshall emphasizes the importance of economic gain, he also argues that " i f p o l i t i c a l considerations had been absent, the B r i t i s h would not have equipped themselves with the means which made t e r r i t o r i a l expansion possible." However, i t i s often d i f f i c u l t to e n t i r e l y separate p o l i t i c a l considerations from economic ones, and i n the case of Anglo-French r i v a l r y economics and p o l i t i c s were in e x t r i c a b l y intertwined. Nevertheless, i n Marshall's view early B r i t i s h expansion i n India does not conform to a p a r t i c u l a r stereotypic theory of economic imperialism. The sub-continent was not the prey of "mercantilist-minded ministers" in England. And Britavn's involvement i n India could not yet be described as "an i n d u s t r i a l society seeking markets for i t s exports or p r o f i t a b l e outlets for investment." In fact, he suggests, 18 i t was a mix "of the new and the old." With s p e c i f i c reference to the a c t i v i t i e s of the English Company's servants on the spot Marshall argues that " t e r r i t o r i a l empire and commercial hegemony, with a l l t h e i r consequences for B r i t a i n and India, were to grow out of the pursuit of private f o r -19 tunes i n Bengal." However, as already seen, Marshall stresses the importance of other causes, and l i k e Furber appears to regard the sub-imperialism of the Company's servants as a catalyst rather than a moving force. He observes that prima facie the case for a di r e c t l i n k between the astounding growth i n private trade and (8) the Company's r i s e to p o l i t i c a l - power i n Bengal i s strong. Without a doubt, the Company's overthrow of Siraj-ud-daula and h i s successors resulted i n substantial'advantages for many individual employees of the Company. And, as the servants' awareness of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s open to them—presents, appointments and trading o p p o r t u n i t i e s — increased, a desire to interfere i n l o c a l p o l i t i c s grew. Also, one :can see how, afte r 1757, rapidly increasing private trade led to more and more confrontations with the Bengal Nawabs. More private trading by the Company's servants led to an increase i n the amount of merchandise that was claimed to be duty-free. It also led to the displacement of the l o c a l Indian merchants and to a growing danger that Europeans would penetrate the Bengal government's trade monopolies, not to mention the fact that the a c t i v i t i e s of the Bengal servants led d i r e c t l y to the Company's bankruptcy i n the early 20 1770s. Despite the obvious importance of the private a c t i v i t i e s of the Company's servants i n the undermining of the Bengal govern-ment and the subsequent annexation of the province by the Company, Marshall argues that other factors were of, at least, equal impor-tance. Throughout the conquest period the Bengal Nawabs were reg-u l a r l y being exposed to demands from the Company i t s e l f which were stronger than the importunities of the Bengal servants as private i n d i v i d u a l s . In Marshall's estimation, although the Company's em-ployees' unabashed scramble for personal gain was a s i g n i f i c a n t contribution to the d e s t a b i l i z a t i o n of the Bengal government, "th e i r a c t i v i t i e s are not a complete explanation of th i s i n s t a b i l -i t y nor can they be seen as the conscious architects of the new 21 B r i t i s h order which replaced i t . " However, as Marshall i s un-(9) doubtedly aware, to distinguish between the Company's demands and the servants' demands i s , a t times,a very subtle exercise. The servants' own i n t e r e s t s and the Company's were often interconnected. Interestingly enough J. D. Nichol, i n contrast to Marshall and Furber, has i s o l a t e d sub-imperialism as the chief force i n the conquest of Bengal. In his view, although the conquest was c l e a r l y the result of the i n t e r a c t i o n of a number of h i s t o r i c a l developments "the central factor involved was the sub-imperialism of the servants, 2 2 working within the framework of a trading corporation." Nichol notes that servants i n Bengal were primarily concerned with acquir-ing private fortunes, with which they could return to England and r e t i r e . I f these fortunes, which were usually based on private trade, were thought to be i n jeopardy the Company's servants did not hesitate to take advantage of t h e i r position with the Company to protect their private interests. In some instances t h i s included involvment'. i n l o c a l p o l i t i c s and the re s u l t was p o l i t i c a l and t e r r i t o r i a l control by the Company over Bengal. Nichol argues that four preconditions were required for sub-imperialism to be successful. F i r s t , i t was necessary for the Company's servants to be integrated to some degree i n the l o c a l government hierarchy and for the govern-ment to be unstable enough . to be overthrown i n t e r n a l l y . Second, the Company's trade with Bengal must have reached a stage where i t was c r u c i a l to the province's economy. Third, the overseas trade of the sub-continent and Bengal needed to be i n a state -of "long term decline." F i n a l l y , the war between the various powers i n Europe had to be c a r r i e d to India.- This l a s t precondition served to arm the sub-imperialists as well as provide them with the excuse that t h e i r sub-imperialism was being conducted for reasons of "national and (10) 23 corporate i n t e r e s t . " In Nichol 1s view then i t was economically motivated sub-imperialism that was the moving force behind the annexation of Bengal. Another work that does not overlook the private i n i t i a -t i v e of servants on the spot, but also introduces a psychological element to the analysis, i s N. C. Chaudhuri 1s biography of C l i v e . Chaudhuri, a l i t t e r a t e u r not a h i s t o r i a n , has written a l i t e r a r y rather than a 'sbholarly work, i n which he argues that the conquest of Bengal occurred when the Company's servants bound the Company to a course of action for the simple reason that they stood to gain personally. The B r i t i s h Indian Empire, e s p e c i a l l y i n the early years, was created by a 'succession of f a l t s accomplis carried out by the 24 men on the spot. Not surprisingly, Chaudhuri points to Clive as the most important i n d i v i d u a l i n the early period. I t i s here that he introduces a psychological element to h i s interpretation. According to Chaudhuri, the major aspect of Clive's personality 25 was an " i r r e p r e s s i b l e urge for s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . " He argues that to interpret t h i s urge for s e l f - a s s e r t i o n i n economic terms i s "an inversion of h i s t o r i c a l l o g i c " , which puts "effect before cause." Never, i n Chaudhuri's view, was an empire brought into being simply because of economic motives. The B r i t i s h Indian Empire arose because of "a 'far stronger urge i n man—that of s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . " The reason that economic motives appear to be part of t h i s urge i s "because making money i s the simplest, crudest and most e a s i l y understood 25 form of s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . " However, i t i s probably more accurate to say that making money i s , even i n t h i s case, not a manifestation of s e l f - a s s e r t i o n , but simply a means to an end, such as security, status, and prestige. The reason Clive and h i s fellows pursued (11) economic gain was not because of a-need for s e l f - a s s e r t i o n but because i t i s the means for achieving a multitude of d i f f e r e n t ends i n most so c i e t i e s . Another psychological interpretation of the conquest has been provided by the former B r i t i s h cabinet minister, John Strachey. He argues, rather speculatively, that one can "think of the decision to attack Bengal...as marking the moment in his t o r y when a daemonic w i l l to conquer and to rule seized the B r i t i s h , an imperial w i l l 27 which possessed them for the next two centuries." He hinges his assertion on the fact that Clive and Watson set out from Madras for Calcutta i n December 1756 at the height of the Monsoon season. It would be d i f f i c u l t , i f not impossible, to r e a l l y substantiate such an argument; however, Strachey i s careful to note that there have been times throughout history "when the motive of direct per-sonal enrichment, acting powerfully upon a few key figures, has been important" and the conquest of Bengal "was pre-eminently one 2 8 of these moments." Strachey and Chaudhuri both point to the importance of the economic element without interpreting the conquest i n s t r i c t l y economic terms. However, as we have seen, i t i s Marshall with h i s discussion of p o l i t i c o - s t r a t e g i c factors who has recently elaborated most on the non-economic motives for conquest. It i s inte r e s t i n g to note, i n f a c t , that Marshall's view on B r i t i s h expansion up the Ganges beyond Bengal, or out into Central India, i s a return to the idea of empire as a defense against l o c a l p o l i t i c a l i n s t a b i l i t y . He asserts that i n the case of the annexation of Oudh the e a r l i e r h i s t o r i c a l works that focus on countering the French threat and l o c a l turmoil s t i l l appear to be the most accurate. In Marshall's (12) view, after the conquest of Bengal, the Company's "-political f r o n t i e r ' , maintained by the c o l l e c t i o n of revenue and duties, began to move more quickly than the , ;true economic f r o n t i e r ' of 27 commerce and trade. He acknowledges that the annexation of Oudh had an "economic dimension"; however, he claims that there were r e a l l i m i t s on the a b i l i t y of economic considerations to "influence p o l i t i c s . " The B r i t i s h were able to exploit trade opportunities i n Oudh and i t s autonomy was already seriously undermined by i t s close l i n k s with the Company that began after the Battle of Buxar i n 1764; however, although B r i t i s h traders served to destabilize Oudh even more, the annexation of the region i n 1801 was not t h e i r doing. In Marshall's view, the takeover occurred "not so much be'cause of developments i n Oudh as because of developments 30 i n the mind of the Governor-General." An Indian historian 1, Rudrangshu Mukherjee, has seriously questioned t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . In h i s view Marshall's analysis "makes irre l e v a n t the pressures and p r i o r i t i e s of colonialism; and i t ignores the fact that even before Wellesley's departure for India,' Dundas...was convinced that the time was ripe for an expansion of 31 B r i t i s h India." At the end of the eighteenth century Dundas was stressing the necessity of maintaining a source of revenue i n India to use to purchase Indian goods for export to Europe. Mukherjee further argues that i t was B r i t i s h commerce as well as B r i t i s h demands for subsidies and B r i t i s h extortion i n Oudh that were d i r e c t l y responsible for Oudh's hopelessly inadequate govern-ment. As a r e s u l t , the poor government, which was the j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the B r i t i s h takeover and the backbone of the " p o l i t i c o - s t r a t e g i c argument", was "inseparably linked to the revenue and commercial (13) demands of B r i t i s h imperialism." By the 1780s the economic and p o l i t i c a l element of B r i t i s h involvement i n Oudh were already hope-l e s s l y interconnected and "an advance of trade and of empire was immanent i n the lo g i c of absorbing Awadh into the c a p i t a l i s t 32 system." Although Rudrangshu Mukherjee's a r t i c l e deals s p e c i f i c a l l y with Oudh, his approach has a much wider application and i s relevant to any discussion of the motives for the conquest of Bengal i t s e l f . He asserts that "attempts to create a r t i f i c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s between the ' p o l i t i c a l ' and 'economic' f r o n t i e r of colonialism merely blurs the issue, since under colonialism trade and the f l a g are always i n t e r r e l a t e d . 1 , 3 3 Like Rudrangshu Mukherjee, other Indian hi s t o r i a n s , such as Ramakrishna -Mukherjee, also interpret the conquest of Bengal, and the rest of the sub-continent, i n e n t i r e l y economic terms. However, Ramakrishna -Mukherjee1s approach i s a s i m p l i s t i c economic deterministic interpretation that i s much less rigorous than the approach taken by Rudrangshu Mukherjee. Ramakrishna Mukherjee makes no d i s t i n c t i o n between the motives of the Court of Directors at home and the employees on the spot. He disregards any idea -of sub-imperialism, e n t i r e l y overlooking any evidence that suggests that the servants on the spot were less cautious and acted with considerable independence from the Directors. Nor does he allow for any change i n motives over time. Mukherjee argues that the a l l pervasive aim of the English East India -Company "as representatives of merchant c a p i t a l " was to "usurp p o l i t i c a l power over India -34 for t h e i r t o t a l e x p l o i t a t i o n . " He suggests that the v i s i o n of empire i n India -for economic advantage predated the events of the mid-eighteenth century by at least .half a -century. To support t h i s (14) a s s e r t i o n he notes t h a t as e a r l y as the end of 1687 the Company Chairman, S i r J o s i a h C h i l d , and the Court of D i r e c t o r s t o l d t h e i r s e r v a n t s a t Madras to " e s t a b l i s h such a p o l i t i c of- c i v i l and m i l i t a r y power, and to c r e a t e and secure such a 'large revenue to secure both...as may be the foundation of a 'large, w e l l grounded, 35 secure, E n g l i s h domain i n I n d i a 'for a long time to come." Apart from t h i s and a few other l e t t e r s , Mukherjee does not p r o v i d e much evidence to support h i s argument. Nevertheless,he i n s i s t s t h a t , by the end of the seventeenth century, the i d e a of conquering I n d i a • "as the l o g i c a l c u l m i n a t i o n of the m e r c a n t i l e p o l i c y of the mer-chant b o u r g e o i s i e " was present i n the minds of the Company's D i r e c t o r s and i t s s e r v a n t s i n India,- and " i t came out d i r e c t l y when any s u i t a b l e moment f o r e x e c u t i n g such a 'task became apparent." From Mukherjee's p e r s p e c t i v e , a p e r s p e c t i v e i n the Marxist t r a d i t i o n the B r i t i s h conquest of Bengal was, q u i t e simply, the n a t u r a l "consummation of the e t e r n a l d e s i r e of merchant c a p i t a l . " Immanuel W a l l e r s t e i n a l s o c h a r a c t e r i z e s B r i t i s h conquest i n I n d i a i n e n t i r e l y economic terms. In a more s o p h i s t i c a t e d a n a l y s i than Ramakrishna Mukherjee 1s, he argues t h a t the conquest of Bengal and I n d i a 'began i n the mid-eighteenth century because the E n g l i s h 3 8 and the French had, by then, p e r c e i v e d i t as "worth the e f f o r t . " W a l l e r s t e i n puts the conquest of I n d i a s q u a r e l y i n the context of the g l o b a l s t r u g g l e between the French and the E n g l i s h f o r world-hegemony, which l a s t e d from 1689 to 1815. A c c o r d i n g to h i s world-system model^ India,' p r i o r to 1750, was p a r t of an " e x t e r n a l arena"' because the trade between Europe and A s i a remained s u p e r f l u o u s to the maintenance and running of the European- world-economy. In many othe r p a r t s of the world, between 1600 and 1750, the core s t a t e s (15) of Europe were "dragged b i t by b i t into becoming c o l o n i a l or semi-c o l o n i a l powers," incorporating areas such as the Americas into the European1 world-economy. Over th i s same period the Asian trade gradu-a l l y became more important to Europe and the European world-economy, and by the mid-eighteenth century, at which time the European1 world-economy experienced an upsurge, the conquest of Asia 'began, moving most rapidly i n the more commercially at t r a c t i v e regions of Indonesia • 39 and India.' Over the next s i x t y - f i v e years England outdistanced France i n d u s t r i a l l y , economically and m i l i t a r i l y , becoming the undisputed leader i n world trade and the governing power i n 40 India i n the nineteenth century. According to Wallerstein, then, the annexation of Bengal came about simply because the B r i t i s h per-ceived the economic advantage i n I t and he makes no d i s t i n c t i o n between the Court of Directors or the sub-imperialists i n India.' He does not overlook the French factor, however, i n contrast to Marshall, i t i s characterized i n e n t i r e l y economic terms. Some support for Wallerstein 1s argument that.conquest began when i t did because the English f i n a l l y perceived i t as "worth the e f f o r t " can be found i n K. N. Chaudhuri 1s important study of the English East India Company, although Chaudhuri, unlike Wallerstein, i s careful to distinguish between the servants on the spot and the Court of Directors. Chaudhuri 1s work may also serve to answer the question posed by Marshall, and f i r s t raised by Furber, Glamann, and Bhattacharya,' as to whether or not the f i r s t h a l f of the eighteenth century was "a period i n which pressures were building up which could only f i n d an outlet i n the subjugation 41 of t e r r i t o r y ? " K. N. Chaudhuri has argued that, by the early to mid-eighteenth century, the Company could not grow much more within (16) the bounds of the p o l i c i e s advocated by the Court of D i r e c t o r s . At the t u r n o f the c e n t u r y "the Company's settlements and f a c t o r i e s i n A s i a had reached the l i m i t s o f p o s s i b l e expansion i n terms o f the amount and number of commodities f o r which the Company c o u l d f i n d a market. A t r a d i n g o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t i n c l u d e d w i t h i n i t the Arab world, the P e r s i a n Empire, Mughal dominions, South East A s i a • and China 'did not leave much room f o r f u r t h e r expansion. . . . The s i t u a t i o n was approaching the p o i n t of e q u i l i b r i u m , " A f t e r 1740 the Company's se r v a n t s began1 to i n t e r v e n e i n l o c a l p o l i t i c s i n -t r o d u c i n g "a new element to the p r e v i o u s range of p o l i c y c o n s i d e r a t i o n s " which e v e n t u a l l y e n t i r e l y a l t e r e d the nature of the Company's presence 42 i n the E a s t . Chaudhuri makes c l e a r t h a t although the servants on the spot , i n the 1740s and 1750s, were adding a new dimension to the Company's a c t i v i t i e s , and there was a c e r t a i n pressure on the Company's t r a d i n g system to expand by whatever means, the Court of D i r e c t o r s i n London continued to emphasize the f a c t t h a t the Company was f i r s t and foremost a 'trading body. Even a f t e r C l i v e ' s v i c t o r y a t P l a s s e y , the Court o f D i r e c t o r s continued tovextremely 43 h e s i t a n t about the Company's p o l i t i c a l expansion i n India.' One o f the most recent c o n t r i b u t i o n s to the debate on the dynamics of B r i t i s h overseas expansion has come from P. J . C a i n and A. G. Hopkins. They have s h i f t e d the emphasis away from s u b - i m p e r i a l i s m and developments on the p e r i p h e r y , and a l s o have doubts about the adequacy of p u r e l y economic e x p l a n a t i o n s . They b e l i e v e t h a t most s t u d i e s of B r i t i s h expansion do not a c c u r a t e l y c h a r a c t e r i z e the " r e l a t i o n s h i p between the B r i t i s h economy and 44 the B r i t i s h presence abroad." Because t h e i r own approach i s so broad i n i t s emphasis i t does not exclude other e x p l a n a t i o n s con-(17) cerned with p a r t i c u l a r cases of B r i t i s h expansion t h a t r e l y on 45 l o c a l evidence or emphasize non-economic f a c t o r s . Cain and Hopkins c l a i m then t h a t B r i t i s h expansion between 1750 and 1914 can be understood best "by l i n k i n g i t with the process of modernization i n B r i t a i n . " S p e c i f i c a l l y they a s s e r t t h a t the " v a r i o u s phases of the expansion of B r i t a i n ' s presence and power abroad were c l o s e l y connected with the development of the domestic economy, the s h i f t i n g balance o f s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l f o r c e s which t h i s development en-t a i l e d , and the v a r y i n g i n t e n s i t y of B r i t a i n ' s economic and p o l i t i c a l 46 r i v a l r y with other powers." In other words, any understanding of the conquest of Bengal must not o n l y focus on the s u b - i m p e r i a l i s m o f the Company's s e r v a n t s , which i s , o f course, v e r y important, but must a l s o take i n t o account the nature of the economic r e l a t i o n -s h i p between England and India,' e s p e c i a l l y Bengal, p r i o r to and d u r i n g the p e r i o d of conquest. Thus, d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t the Court of D i r e c t o r s was g e n e r a l l y a g a i n s t t e r r i t o r i a l expansion, o t h e r economic p r e s s u r e s , and the D i r e c t o r s ' c o n c e r n with seeing the ^Company prosper, may have c o n t r i b u t e d to the conquest. In the face of the v a r i o u s t h e o r i e s which seek to i n t e r p r e t B r i t i s h i m p e r i a l i s m i n e i g h t e e n t h century I n d i a 'this t h e s i s w i l l argue t h a t some k i n d of s y n t h e s i s best e x p l a i n s the conquest of Bengal 1757-1765. I t w i l l , i n essence, be a 'testing o f the v a r i o u s e x p l a n a t i o n s and w i l l r e s u l t i n a 'borrowing and d i s c a r d i n g of v a r i o u s aspects of the approaches d i s c u s s e d above. I t w i l l show t h a t the annexation of Bengal was p r i m a r i l y the r e s u l t o f the d e s i r e f o r economic gain on the p a r t of the Company's s e r -v a n t s ( s u b - i m p e r i a l i s m ) . T h i s must be coupled w i t h the f a c t t h a t the s e r v a n t s and the Court of D i r e c t o r s were aware t h a t Bengal was ( 1 8 ) c r u c i a l , i n economic terms, to t h e i r t r a d i n g network, and t h a t t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n , and access to, the p r o v i n c e would have to be strengthened and expanded a g a i n s t pressure from other European companies and h o s t i l e l o c a l r u l e r s . Due account must a l s o be taken of the f a c t t h a t B r i t i s h expansion i n Bengal was t a k i n g p l a c e w i t h i n the context of an expanding world c a p i t a l i s t economy, dominated by Europe, w i t h i n which the E n g l i s h and the French were s t r u g g l i n g f o r supremacy. By the mid-eighteenth century then the E n g l i s h East I n d i a 'Company found i t i n c r e a s i n g l y d i f f i c u l t to expand any f u r t h e r commercially, without becoming a ' t e r r i t o r i a l power i n i t s own r i g h t . That i s not to say, however, t h a t , i n the case of the i n d i v i d u a l s i n v o l v e d , they were always o p e r a t i n g on the b a s i s of economic g a i n through p o l i t i c a l i n t e r v e n t i o n and t e r r i t o r i a l expansion. T h i s i s e s p e c i a l l y true o f the Court of D i r e c t o r s , who, although concerned with the p r o s p e r i t y and economic w e l l - b e i n g of the Company, were g e n e r a l l y opposed to becoming a ' t e r r i t o r i a l power. But, once the men on the spot, motivated i n the aggregate by personal economic aggrandizement, were p r o v i d e d with the m i l i t a r y s t r e n g t h to s u c c e s s f u l l y i n t e r v e n e i n l o c a l p o l i t i c s and overthrow l o c a l p r i n c e s , the d e s i r e f o r p e r s o n a l g a i n combined with the i n t e r e s t s and needs of the Company drove them i n e x o r a b l y forward i n Bengal u n t i l they had overthrown the l o c a l government and secured i t f o r themselves. (19) Notes and References to Chapter 1 1. J . R. Seeley, The Expansion of England (London: Macmillan 1 and Co., 1884), p. 179. 2. I b i d . , p. 212. 3. I b i d . , p. 270. For Seeley's r o l e i n the development;., of B r i t i s h I m p e r i a l H i s t o r y see Peter Burroughs, "John Robert Seeley and B r i t i s h I m p e r i a l H i s t o r y , " The J o u r n a l o f I m p e r i a l and  Commonwealth H i s t o r y 1 no. 2. (Jan-. , 1973) : 191-211. J . G. Greenlee, "'A Succession of S e e l e y s ' : The 'Old School' Re-examined," I b i d . , 4 no. 3 (May, 1976). Luke T r a i n o r , " H i s t o r i a n s as I m p e r i a l i s t s : Some Roots of B r i t i s h I m p e r i a l H i s t o r y 1880-1900," New Zealand  J o u r n a l of H i s t o r y 15 no. 1 ( A p r i l , 1981) 4. See P. J . M a r s h a l l , " B r i t i s h Expansion i n I n d i a dn . the E i g h t e e n t h Century: A H i s t o r i c a l R e v i s i o n , " H i s t o r y 60 (1975):29. P. J . M a r s h a l l , "Economic and P o l i t i c a l Expansion: The Case of Oudh," Modern A s i a n S t u d i e s 9 no. 4 (1975): 465. Holden Furber, "The Theme of Imperialism and C o l o n i a l i s m i n Modern H i s t o r i c a l W r i t i n g on India,'" i n C. H. P h i l i p s , ed. H i s t o r i a n s o f India,' P a k i s t a n and Ceylon. (London: Oxford U n i v e r i s t y P r e s s , 1961), pp. 332-343. S. P. Sen, "French H i s t o r i c a l W r i t i n g on European' A c t i v i t i e s i n India,'" i n I b i d . , pp. 183-208. Dodwell, Roberts and H i l l a l l wrote chapters i n The Cambridge H i s t o r y of the B r i t i s h Empire v o l . V B r i t i s h I n d i a '1497-1858. (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 19 29). See a l s o Henry Dodwell, Dupleix and C l i v e : The Beginning  of Empire (Gorakhpur: Vishwavlaya -Prakashan, 1962) f i r s t pub. 1920. and S. C. H i l l ed. Bengal i n 1756-1757: A S e l e c t i o n of the  P u b l i c and P r i v a t e Papers D e a l i n g With the A f f a i r s o f the B r i t i s h  i n Bengal During the Reign of S i r a j - u d d a u l a '(London: John Murray, 1905) In J . Holzman, The Nabobs i n England: A Study of the Returned  Anglo-Indian- 1760-1785 fNew York, 19 26) p. 7. the author a s s e r t s that, the E n g l i s h founded t h e i r empire i n I n d i a ' " u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y and almost u n w i l l i n g l y . " 5. P h i l i p Mason (pseudonym Woodruff), The Men Who Ruled  India:- v o l . I The Founders (London: Jonathan- Cape L t d . , 1971), f i r s t pub. 1953, p. 103. 6. John S. G a l b r a l t h , "The .'Turbulent F r o n t i e r ' as a < F a c t o r i n B r i t i s h Expansion," Comparative S t u d i e s i n S o c i e t y and  H i s t o r y 2 (1959-1960): 152. 7. P e r c i v a l Spear, India:' A Modern H i s t o r y (Ann Arbor Michigan: U n i v e r s i t y of Michigan 1 Press, 1961), p. 197. 8. P e r c i v a l Spear, ' Master of Bengal: C l i v e and H i s I n d i a ' (London: Thames and Hudson L t d . , 1975) p. 199. 9. P. J . M a r s h a l l , Problems of Empire: B r i t a i n and.India • 1757-1813 (London: George A l l e n and Unwin L t d . , 19 68), p. 167. c l a u s e x x x i v of P i t t ' s I n d i a A c t , 1784. (20) 10. Pamela Nightingale, Trade and Empire i n Western  India 1784-1806 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), p.5. 11. Ibid., p. i x . 12. This kind of expansion took place i n India well into the nineteenth century. See, for example, Robert A. Huttenback, B r i t i s h Relations With Sind 1799-1843: An Anatomy of Imperialism (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1962) 13. E r i c Stokes, "The F i r s t Century of B r i t i s h Colonial Rule in India: Social Revolution or Social Stagnation?" , Past And  Present 58 (1973):142. Reprinted in E r i c Stokes, The Peasants and  the Rag: Studies i n Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion i n Colonial  India(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), pp. 19-45. 14. Holden Furber, John Company at Work: A Study of  European Expansion i n India i n the Late Eighteenth Century (London: Oxford University Press, 1948), pp. 322-324. 15. Holden Furber, Rival Empires of Trade i n the Orient  1600-1800 (Minneapolis Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1976), p. 182. 16. P. J. Marshall, " B r i t i s h Expansion i n India i n the Eighteenth Century: A H i s t o r i c a l Revision," History 60 (1975): 29. 17. Ibid., p. 31. 18. Ibid., pp. 42-43. 19. P. J. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes: The B r i t i s h in Bengal i n the Eighteenth Century (London: Oxford University Press, 1976), p. 3. 20. Ibid., pp. 258-259. 21. Ibid., p. 260. 22. Jonathan Daniel Nichol, The B r i t i s h i n India 1740-1763: A Study i n Imperial Expansion Ph.D. dissertation, University of Edinburgh, 1976. microfilm copy on i n t e r l i b r a r y loan from the Center for Research L i b r a r i e s , p. 304. 23. Ibid., p. 304. 24. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Clive of India:- A P o l i t i c a l  and Psychological Essay (London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd., 1975) pp. 14-15. 25. Ibid., p. 16. 26. Ibid. , p. 151.. (21) 27, John Strachey, The End of Empire (London: V i c t o r G o l l a n c z L t d . , 1959), p. 23. Strachey, who was descended from a f a m i l y t h a t served the Raj f o r ge n e r a t i o n s , was s t i m u l a t e d to w r i t e t h i s book by a v i s i t to C a l c u t t a a f t e r Independence. "The book was begun at C a l c u t t a , on the verge of sparse grass which now separates the low b r i c k w a l l of F o r t William...from the r i v e r Hooghly....It i s a p l a c e i n which a mid-twentieth century Englishman can h a r d l y r e f r a i n from r e f l e c t i n g on the r i s e and f a l l o f empires. The Hooghly r o l l s b efore him; contemporary C a l c u t t a seethes behind h i s back upon e i t h e r hand." p. 13. Seated on the r i v e r bank Strachey may h a v e : a l l o w e d h i s judgement to be clouded by a c e r t a i n romanticism. 28, I b i d . , p. 24. 29, M a r s h a l l , "Economic and P o l i t i c a l Expansion;!" pp. 465-465. 30. I b i d . , pp. 481-482. 31. Rudrangshu Mukherjee, "Trade and Empire i n Awadh 1765-1804," Past and Present 94 (Feb. 1982): 89-90. 32. I b i d . , pp. 101-102. For s t u d i e s that analyze the takeover of Oudh more i n terms of s t r u c t u r e than motive see R i c h a r d B. B a r n e t t , North I n d i a Between Empires: Awadh, the Mughals, and  the B r i t i s h 1720-1801 (Berkeley: U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1 9 8 0 T " ! and Michael H. F i s h e r , " B r i t i s h Expansion i n North I n d i a : The Role of the Resident i n Awadh", The Indian Economic and S o c i a l  H i s t o r y Review 18 (No. 1 Jan-Mar 1981) 33. Mukherjee, "Trade and Empire" p. 90. 34. Ramakrishna Mukherjee, The Rise and F a l l o f the  East I n d i a Company (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1974T7 p. 110. 35. I b i d . , p. 252. 36. I b i d . , p. 252. 37. I b i d . , p. 257. 38. Immanuel W a l l e r s t e i n , The Modern World-System I I : M e r c a n t i l i s m and the C o n s o l i d a t i o n of the European World-Economy  1600-1750 (New York: Academic Press, 1980), pp. 97-98. For f u r t h e r e l a b o r a t i o n of W a l l e r s t e i n 1 s world-system concept see h i s The  Modern World-System I: C a p i t a l i s t A g r i c u l t u r e and the O r i g i n s of  the European World-Economy i n the S i x t e e n t h Century (New York: Academic Press, 1974) and h i s "The Rise and Future Demise of the World C a p i t a l i s t System: Concepts f o r Comparative A n a l y s i s " i n The C a p i t a l i s t World-Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1979") For c r i t i q u e s of v a r i o u s aspects of W a l l e r s t e i n 1 s approach see Robert Brenner, "The O r i g i n s of C a p i t a l i s t Development: A C r i t i q u e of Neo-Smithian Marxism," New L e f t Review 104 (July-Aug 1977) Anthony Brewer, Ma r x i s t T h e o r i e s of Imperialism: A C r i t i c a l  Survey (London: Rout ledge and Kegan Pa u l , 1980) P. J~. Cain and A. G. Hopkins "The P o l i t i c a l Economy of B r i t i s h Expansion Overseas, (22) 1750-1914," Economic H i s t o r y Review 33 (No. 4 Nov. 1980) P a t r i c k O'Brien "European Economic Development: The C o n t r i b u t i o n of the P e r i p h e r y , " Economic H i s t o r y Review 35 (no. 1 Feb. 1982) Theda Skocpol, " W a l l e r s t e i n ' s World C a p i t a l i s t System: A T h e o r e t i c a l and H i s t o r i c a l C r i t i q u e , " American' J o u r n a l of S o c i o l o g y 82 (no. 5 1977) Tony Smith, The P a t t e r n of Imperialism: The United S t a t e s , Great B r i t a i n , and the L a t e - I n d u s t r i a l i z i n g World Since 1815 (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1981) I r v i n g Louis Horowitz, Beyond Empire and R e v o l u t i o n : M i l i t a r i z a t i o n and C o n s o l i d a t i o n i n the T h i r d World (New York: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1982) 39. I b i d . , pp. 273-274. 40. I b i d . , p. 288. See N. F. R. C r a f t s " I n d u s t r i a l Rev-o l u t i o n i n England and France: Some Thoughts on the Question, Why Was England F i r s t ? " , Economic H i s t o r y Review 30 no. 3 (August, 1977): 429-441. W. W. Rostow, "No Random Walk: A Comment On 'Why Was England F i r s t ? ' " Economic H i s t o r y Review 31 no. 4 (Nov. 1978): 610-612. N. F. R. C r a f t s , "Entrepreneurship and a P r o b a b i l i s t i c View of the B r i t i s h I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n , " I b i d . , pp. 613-614. 41. M a r s h a l l , " B r i t i s h Expansion i n I n d i a , " p. 29. 42. K. N. Chaudhuri, The T r a d i n g World of A s i a and the  E n g l i s h East I n d i a Company 1660-1760 (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1978), p. 55. 43. I b i d . , p. 56. See a l s o James Gordon Parker, The  D i r e c t o r s of the East I n d i a 1754-1790 Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , U n i -v e r s i t y of Edinburgh, 1977, m i c r o f i l m copy on i n t e r l i b r a r y l o a n from the Center f o r Research L i b r a r i e s , pp. 250-251. 44. Cain and Hopkins "The P o l i t i c a l Economy of B r i t i s h Expansion," p. 463. 45. I b i d . , p. 465. 46. I b i d . , p. 489. (23) Chapter Two: The Rise o f B r i t i s h Commercial Hegemony i n A s i a 4600-1800 Of c e n t r a l ' importance to any d i s c u s s i o n of . the B r i t i s h conquest of Bengal i s the century and a h a l f of E n g l i s h commercial expansion t h a t preceded i t . Throughout the seventeenth and e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s the European commercial presence i n A s i a expanded tremen-dously. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the E n g l i s h a l l sought to c o n t r o l as much of the A s i a n trade as p o s s i b l e . But, i t was the E n g l i s h who, by the end of the e i g h t e e n t h century, had r i s e n to undisputed pre-eminence i n E a s t e r n commerce. B r i t a i n ' s overseas expansion had i t s genesis i n the s i x -t eenth century, by which time England was developing and a p p l y i n g the n a v i g a t i o n a l methods f i r s t experimented with by the mariners of the Iberian' and I t a l i a n p e n i n s u l a s . By the 1570s and 1580s E n g l i s h merchants were t r a d i n g d i r e c t l y with West A f r i c a , the Mediterranean, and even the New World. In the l a s t two decades of the s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y there were a l s o o c c a s i o n a l E n g l i s h voyages to the East and the formation of an A s i a n t r a d i n g company was d i s c u s s e d i n London as e a r l y as 1584. S i x t e e n years l a t e r , on 31 December 1600, the E n g l i s h East I n d i a Company was e s t a b l i s h e d , having been granted a • monopoly on a l l E n g l i s h trade east of the Cape of Good Hope and 1 west of Cape Horn. The f i r s t c e ntury of the E n g l i s h Company's e x i s t e n c e was the century of Dutch commercial hegemony i n A s i a . Throughout the seventeenth c e n t u r y the Dutch monopolized the trade i n A s i a n pepper and s p i c e s , which were the b a s i c commodities of the Asia; • 2 to Europe trade a t t h i s time. However, although Dutch command of the seas s u r v i v e d i n t o the second h a l f of the seventeenth century, (24) the E n g l i s h , by mid-century, were a l r e a d y t a k i n g s e r i o u s measures to c o n t a i n the Dutch. In 1651 the E n g l i s h N a v i g a t i o n Act was passed, which p r o h i b i t e d any goods from a r r i v i n g i n England u n l e s s they d i d so i n E n g l i s h v e s s e l s , or s h i p s of the country i n which the merchandise o r i g i n a t e d . Other A c t s were i n t r o d u c e d i n the 1650s and 1660s, most of which were concerned with England's A t l a n t i c t r a d e , so t h a t by the e a r l y 1660s the main f o u n d a t i o n of the E n g l i s h Mer-c a n t i l e System was i n p l a c e . The M e r c a n t i l e System r e g u l a t e d E n g l i s h f o r e i g n trade i n t o the n i n e t e e n t h century, when B r i t a i n began to move from m e r c a n t i l i s m towards f r e e - t r a d e . Seventeenth century m e r c a n t i l i s t p o l i c i e s were more concerned with A t l a n t i c trade than with A s i a n trade f o r the simple reason t h a t by the l a s t decade of the seventeenth century t h i r l t y -f i v e percent of E n g l i s h s h i p p i n g p l i e d the A t l a n t i c while o n l y f i v e 3 percent c a r r i e d trade to the E a s t . N e v e r t h e l e s s , the East I n d i a • Company's r o l e i n the growth of E n g l i s h f o r e i g n trade a f t e r 1600 was of importance. By 1640 the Company was a l r e a d y e s t a b l i s h e d i n the economic l i f e o f both A s i a and Europe and by 1700 i t was a v e r i t a b l e p i l l a r o f the E n g l i s h f i n a n c i a l and commercial community 4 based on London. In London and Europe the Company was w e l l known f o r i t s l a r g e and r e g u l a r purchases of b u l l i o n f o r shipment to Asia.' Throughout the seventeenth and e i g h t e e n t h . c e n t u r i e s the Company st u b b o r n l y i g n o r e d the m e r c a n t i l i s t maxim t h a t argued a g a i n s t the export of s i l v e r and g o l d b u l l i o n . Up to 1760 the Company's t r e a s u r e exports, on a y e a r l y b a s i s , represented s i x t y percent or more of i t s t o t a l e x p o r t s to Asia,' and were o f t e n much h i g h e r (see t a b l e 1). (25) Tabic 1 Total txportt of treasure Year Value £ total Y e a r Value £ total 1660 1661 166a •663 1664 1665 1666 1667 1668 1669 1670 1671 167a '673 1674 >675 1676 1677 1678 1679 1680 1681 168a 1683 1684 1685 1686 • 687 1688 169a i6g3 1694 1695 1696 1697 •698 '699 1700 1701 170a ' 7 ° 3 1704 '705 1706 1707 1708 •709 1710 1711 51329 104580 «20095 135218 75020 26745 17005 3424 109655 " 3 2 3 4 189704 203504 181567 • 3 ' 2 9 5 155476 29901a 292327 aai 378 325932 340819 394464 536798 60916a 524928 429613 508595 298957 309442 '65943 '35789 •50097 82430 25114a 232963 3 2 5 ' 0 320473 448930 483219 677633 258433 233389 398086 193280 285959 381483 422798 438956 37335' 359829 75-' 79-6 6 7 5 77-2 6 3 4 48.4 45-2 27.7 6 3 9 6a.a 69.4 6 3 5 63.6 76.7 74-5 7 2 3 67.7 68.3 77-4 87.1 85-5 86.9 81.6 87.4 87.9 85.2 72.5 90.6 8.-9 77.6 77.6 25-' 76.7 59-2 56.3 86.5 79-' 83-3 89-7 79-5 100.0 100.0 100.0 9'-5 9'-7 86.a 79-5 73-4 66.3 171a ' 7 ' 3 1714 ' 7 ' 5 1716 1717 1718 ' 7 ' 9 1 7 3 0 1 7 3 1 1 7 3 3 '723 1734 '725 1726 '727 1728 1729 1730 ' 7 3 ' '732 '733 '734 '735 1736 '737 1738 '739 1740 1741 '742 '743 '744 '745 1746 '747 1748 '749 '750 ' 7 5 ' '752 '753 '754 '755 1756 '757 '758 '759 1760 3'7322 201425 259442 387106 3 4 6 3 ' 4 573703 5'7703 611231 57' '95 5 5 9 9 ' 4 642346 624711 484726 556400 516834 495017 381581 540709 631066 560820 630673 399334 408985 503 840 477637 575745 498464 448931 440319 507484 437651 584377 554085 441013 43956i 5 ' 3 6 3 9 898254 646556 1012921 748632 '037948 854571 965617 670904 622558 797167 478193 '73483 143400 68.1 67.0 77.6 84.4 86-9 91.2 85-7 86.3 81.9 82.2 83-4 83.1 80.7 85-9 86.3 86.5 79-2 84.6 83- 4 80.3 81.0 74.1 77.0 79.8 72.7 75-9 69.4 7 3 3 76.5 6 5 3 73.8 67.4 70.0 66.7 68 . i 84- 3 81.2 76.8 78.4 72.4 73-9 67.6 69.6 70.9 70.9 70.1 61.1 32.4 27.8 source: K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading  World of Asia, Appendix 5. (26) As the seventeenth century progressed s i l v e r b u l l i o n was i n c r e a s i n g l y used to buy A s i a n , e s p e c i a l l y Indian, c o t t o n piece-goods. By the end of the seventeenth century A s i a n trade to Europe had c l e a r l y s h i f t e d from an emphasis on pepper and s p i c e s to c o t t o n t e x t i l e s from the Indian sub-continent, s i l k from China and Persia,- and to a 'lesser degree p o r c e l a i n , lacquer-ware, c o f f e e , 5 and tea.' T h i s s h i f t was due, i n p a r t , to the f a c t t h a t about the middle of the seventeenth century there had been a s i g n i f i c a n t change i n men's and women's c l o t h i n g f a s h i o n s i n England. There was a 'turning away from c o a r s e r f a b r i c s and an i n c r e a s i n g demand f o r l i g h t e r more e l e g a n t t e x t i l e s . When i t became apparent t h a t the E n g l i s h woollen and c o t t o n , and the I r i s h l i n e n i n d u s t r i e s , c o u l d not meet t h i s demand, French t e x t i l e s were imported i n i n c r e a s i n g numbers. T h i s aroused the E n g l i s h t e x t i l e i n d u s t r y and i n 1678 Parliament passed an Act f o r b i d d i n g the i m p o r t a t i o n of French l i n e n and s i l k . However, t h i s A c t o n l y caused the E n g l i s h to t u r n with more i n t e r e s t to A s i a n t e x t i l e s . These c o t t o n t e x t i l e s from I n d i a were f a r s u p e r i o r i n q u a l i t y and price.'-to the- woollen and c o t t o n c l o t h t h a t c o u l d be made i n England p r i o r to the I n d u s t r i a l Rev-o l u t i o n . There were many v a r i e t i e s but b a s i c a l l y they c o n s i s t e d of c a l i c o e s and muslins (the l a t t e r being of a f i n e r q u a l i t y ) and some spun s i l k . A l r e a d y i n the 1670s the Company's t e x t i l e imports were s u b s t a n t i a l and i n 1679, a y e a r a f t e r French t e x t i l e s had been ban-ned i n England, the Company imported over 770,000 p i e c e s of Indian' c a l i c o , muslin and spun s i l k , the l a r g e s t annual q u a n t i t y y e t . The t o t a l remained h i g h f o r the next e i g h t years but began to drop i n q u a n t i t y and value a f t e r 1688 with the outbreak of the War (27) o f the League of Augsburg. T e x t i l e imports o n l y p i c k e d up i n q u a n t i t y and value ten years l a t e r , between 1698 and 1701, dropping o f f again under the impact of the War o f the Spanish Succession and the Act of 1700 (see t a b l e 2). By the 1690s the cheap, h i g h q u a l i t y , Indian t e x t i l e imports were a l s o being greeted with a c r y f o r p r o t e c t i o n on the p a r t of the E n g l i s h t e x t i l e i n d u s t r y . The e v e n t u a l r e s u l t was an Act of Parliament i n 1700 which p r o h i b i t e d the i m p o r t a t i o n of p r i n t e d c a l i c o e s from the E a s t , although u n p r i n t e d c a l i c o e s c o u l d s t i l l be brought i n C c a l i c o p r i n t i n g as a b u s i n e s s had begun i n London i n 1676). However, as t a b l e 2 shows, the Company's own t e x t i l e imports s u f f e r e d i n the 1690s, when they were supposed to be doing such damage to the E n g l i s h t e x t i l e i n d u s t r y . In 1720 another law was passed which p r o h i b i t e d the wear and use of p r i n t e d Indian 1 c a l i c o e s . However, the a c t u a l enforcement of these Acts was l i m i t e d . And, s i n c e the f i n e r q u a l i t y muslins c o u l d s t i l l be imported, c a l -9 i c o e s were o f t e n brought i n l a b e l l e d as muslins. Meanwhile, France had r e p l a c e d the Netherlands as England's main commercial r i v a l . The Netherlands had been s e r i o u s l y weakened by three s h o r t wars with the E n g l i s h and by a war with France i n the 1670s. By 1697 the Dutch were England's a l l y i n the s t r u g g l e with France and i n the wider s t r u g g l e that developed i n 1702 with the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession. T h i s , i n f a c t , was the opening phase i n the Anglo-French s t r u g g l e f o r supremacy t h a t c o n t i n u e d throughout the e i g h t e e n t h century. England's involvement i n the wars of the e i g h t e e n t h century a g a i n s t France was e s s e n t i a l as f a r as the landed c l a s s e s , merchants, and manufacturers, who c o n t r o l l e d B r i t i s h p o l i t i c s were ( 2 8 ) Table p Total imports of textiles from Asia Quantity Value Year pieces £ 1664 273647 100086 j 16H5 291 666 98GH4 1 i66T> 7141 41*75 1667 153 7'4 36663 f 1668 (1962 4242 ! 1669 238900 6759" 1 1670 419672 132136 1671 5334«6 135080 ' 1672 557 ' 7(i '96133 '67.1 609 710 196834 1674 432638 120390 j " 6 75 248038 97390 i 1676 673725 213786 j 1677 53768i '97973 / 1678 661917 228 I 5 I ! ' '679 772960 275392 | 16O0 754100 278705 1681 684856 250813 1682 769689 3'5895 1683 900047 341256 1684 1 760315 668866 .685 1 114273 463193 168C 59' 709 259498 1687 687518 284209 1688 155430 97885 1689 184009 88882 1690 219703 47806 1691 93474 39538 1692 46258 9771 '693 141 009 28218 1694 127712 55162 •695 71539 26308 1696 280341 ' 0 3 4 5 ' '697 178995 74667 • 698 612310 202 880 '699 537815 273071 ) 1700 868095 374608 1701 721593 398072 i 1702 262 990 205834 ; ' 7 ° 3 285470 153811 ! 1704 7 7 0 5 i 46494 ' 7 ° 5 160 492 122771 1706 201824 'ii533 1707 168772 99782 1708 165564 118950 '7"9 2 5 3 6 3 3 148781 1710 477422 259787 1711 581171 358876 ; 1712 620292 412903 ; ' 7 ' 3 620620 421 091 Quantity Value Year pieces £ 1714 639457 385994 •715 350764 228208 . 7 . 6 416357 258121 '717 473841 314340 1718 382823 250712 1719 754538 442781 1720 681171 417931 1721 752366 4 ' 9 7 3 o 1722 566793 270961 1723 869530 487271 1724 934266 420027 1725 731552 300663 1726 870780 403572 1727 ' 039275 556i55 1728 641458 378207 •729 823496 507530 '73o 597439 40681a ' 7 3 ' 736129 471497 1732 736353 421349 '733 6 7 3 ' 7 ' 325495 '734 895987 478143 '735 986494 521 461 '736 7 3 H 1 3 410926 '737 621615 3 2 3 ' 2 3 •738 701918 410436 '739 921049 528088 1740 648060 395570 ' 7 4 ' 998081 568662 '742 990190 592169 '743 842789 5 '3957 '744 677903 461496 '745 815361 551886 1746 877477 592676 '747 764380 488289 1748 494084 399335 '749 526416 383963 '75o 731254 671969 ' 7 5 ' 699476 618196 '752 634264 499001 '753 645262 46986a '754 533575 412472 '755 556211 439130 1756 606570 395196 •757 327297 231741 '758 429584 380245 '759 495858 433881 1760 346599 305414 source: K. N. Chaudhuri The Trading  World of Asia Appendix 5 (29) concerned. They were determined to curb French commercial and p o l i t i c a l expansion and to expand E n g l i s h commercial o p p o r t u n i t i e s 10 i n Europe, the Americas and Asia.- A f t e r the War of the Spanish Succession t e n s i o n between B r i t a i n and France, and her a l l i e s , c o ntinued. In 1739 Anglo-Spanish h o s t i l i t i e s l e d to the War of J e n k i n s ' s Ear, to be f o l l o w e d by the War of the A u s t r i a n Succession. The. war s t a r t e d because of problems i n Europe but, of course, i t q u i c k l y became a g l o b a l c o n t e s t f o r trade and empire i n I n d i a and America. Though peace came i n 1748 a l l the important problems of Anglo-French r i v a l r y remained unsolved: the boundaries i n North America continued undefined and the E n g l i s h c o l o n i s t s were contemp-tuous of the r e s t o r a t i o n of Louisbourg to the French, while the French commercial and m i l i t a r y presence i n India,' A f r i c a and the 11 West I n d i e s remained uncurbed. Not s u r p r i s i n g l y then peace between France and B r i t a i n was s h o r t - l i v e d , and the two c o u n t r i e s resumed t h e i r s t r u g g l e i n the Seven Years' War, 1756-1763, i n the American R e v o l u t i o n a r y War, 1778-1783, and i n the Napoleonic Wars at the t u r n of the century. In the e i g h t e e n t h century, apart from r e s o r t i n g to a c t u a l warfare, the dominant B r i t i s h landed i n t e r e s t and i t s a l l i e s , the merchants and manufacturers, continued to introduce r e g u l a t i o n s to encourage E n g l i s h f o r e i g n trade and manufacturing. One s p e c i f i c concern was to f u r t h e r penetrate European markets with E n g l i s h p r oducts, but t h i s goal was not r e a l i z e d u n t i l the 1780s with the 12 coming of the I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n . Breaking i n t o A s i a n markets was a l s o d i f f i c u l t and B r i t i s h manufacturers c o u l d not compete, with A s i a n goods u n t i l the end of the e i g h t e e n t h century. However, the Company d i d attempt to i n c r e a s e the amount of E n g l i s h goods going (30) to I n d i a and the r e s t o f A s i a , i n an e f f o r t to moderate the q u a n t i t y of b u l l i o n sent East and a l s o because i t s c h a r t e r o b l i g e d i t to export B r i t i s h goods worth one tenth of i t s annual t r a d i n g 13 c a p i t a l (see t a b l e 3 and 4). By the b e g i n n i n g of the e i g h t e e n t h century the Company had three main c e n t e r s of trade i n I n d i a : Surat, Madras and C a l c u t t a . P r i o r to 1700, the f i r s t two were by f a r the most important, but a f t e r 1700 western I n d i a , e s p e c i a l l y , began to d e c l i n e i n importance. T h i s was because of the i n c r e a s i n g i n s t a b i l i t y i n the markets of Surat due to the d e c l i n e of the Mughals and a s h i f t away from 14 coarse G u j a r a t i t e x t i l e s to f i n e r Bengal piece-goods. The e s t a b l i s h -ment of F o r t W i l l i a m i n 1690, and the growth of the China t r a d e , a l s o served to s h i f t the Company's cente r of g r a v i t y to Bengal. Although, Surat and Madras continued to be of importance to the Company, they were now overshadowed by Bengal. During the e i g h t e e n t h century C a l c u t t a , no longer a d m i n i s t r a t i v e l y subordinate to Madras, emerged as the c e n t e r of B r i t i s h commerce i n the East. E a r l y i n the e i g h t e e n t h century the sale of European goods i n Bengal, Madras and on the west coast, underwent a change, i n t h a t the margin of p r o f i t r eturned on the goods i n c r e a s e d . For example, E n g l i s h broad c l o t h s o l d i n Indian markets, a f t e r 1700, o f t e n r e t u r n e d a one hundred percent p r o f i t , while the same c l o t h , when s o l d at the Company's f a c t o r i e s i n Per s i a , 1 r e t u r n e d 15 o n l y a s i x to ten percent p r o f i t . At the same time, by the 1720s, the Company was, of course, sending a growing amount of export goods to Bengal i n r e l a t i o n to Surat and Madras. Then, a f t e r 1741, there was a marked growth i n the o v e r a l l volume of exports to I n d i a generally.. The i n c r e a s e i n exports i n the 1740s was at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y (31) T a b l e 3 Total exfmrts to Asia Year Value £ 660 68388 661 131271 G62 '77 932 663 175 116 664 1 1O362 665 55279 r.6G 3762(1 6<>V '2 344 668 . 7 I 5 8 8 669 181940 670 273'77 67. 320507 672 285668 673 171 119 674 208651 675 4>3583 676 4 3 ' 9 4 ' 677 323748 G78 421186 6 7 9 39' 3°a 680 461 206 681 617774 682 74 6 535 683 600633 684 488709 685 5 9 7 ' " 7 686 4' 2 3' 9 687 3 4 1 5 7 2 688 202 518 689 8253 '•9" 10239 692 '74937 693 •93 4r'3 694 328728 32 7543 696 393621 f>97 57 759 698 370685 6 9 9 5f>7 587 700 579'98 701 755 556 702 325264 7":i 233389 704 398086 7<>.r> 193 280 70G 3 ' 2 5 9 ' 7"7 306944 708 490446 7"9 5 5 ' " 54 710 508907 Year V a l u e £ 7 " 5 4 * 4 ' 9 712 466274 7'3 300418 7'4 3343'8 7'5 458618 7'6 398662 7'7 629340 718 603 760 7'9 707895 720 697009 721 681427 722 769958 723 751 602 7»4 600375 725 647973 726 599427 72 7 572010 728 481 600 729 6392<5 73" 756489 73' 698607 732 766 141 733 538744 734 531072 735 630272 736 656581 737 758116 738 717830 739 612 490 740 575 332 74' 776973 742 601 191 743 866544 744 79' 799 745 661316 746 645 160 747 609490 748 1 105845 749 841965 750 1 292589 75' 1 034689 752 1404878 753 1265020 754 1386569 755 946809 756 878464 757 ' ' 3 7 0 2 3 758 782309 759 534977 760 515144 source: K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading  World of Asia Appendix 5. (32) Tabic 4 Tital commodity exports (excluding treasure) Year 1660 1661 16G2 1663 1G64 1665 iGGG 1CG7 1 660 I fifiy 1G70 [671 1672 '<>73 1674 '675 1676 1677 1678 if i 7g 1680 1681 1682 1683 1684 1685 1686 1687 1608 1689 1690 1692 '693 1694 '695 1696 '697 1G98 l G 9 9 1700 1701 1702 1706 1707 1708 '709 1710 1711 1712 Value £ '7 "59 26 751 5 7 83 7 39898 43 342 28534 20621 8920 6 1 933 CO 706 ° 3 4 7 3 117 003 104 i o 1 39824 5 3 ' 7 5 " 4 5 7 ' '39614 102470 95254 50483 66 742 80976 '37373 75 705 59"96 88512 113 3G2 32 130 36575 8253 10239 3 9 ' 4 8 43366 246 298 76.,oi 160 658 25249 50212 118657 96979 77923 66831 26632 25461 67648 113 198 • 3 5 5 5 6 183590 '48952 % "f total Year Value £ %of total 2 4 9 ' 7 ' 3 98993 33-0 20.4 1714 74876 22.4 32.5 ' 7 ' 5 71512 17.0 22.0 1716 52.348 ' 3 ' 36.6 ' 7 ' 7 55637 8.8 51.6 1718 86057 '4-3 54-» «7 '9 96664 •3-7 72.3 1 720 125814 18.2 36.1 1721 '21513 17.8 37-8 1722 127712 16.6 30.G '723 126891 16.9 36.5 1724 115649 '9-3 36.4 •725 9 ' 5 7 3 14.1 23-3 1726 82 593 13.8 25-5 1727 76993 '3-5 27.7 172O 100019 30 . 8 32-3 '729 98506 '5-4 3'-7 '73o 125423 16.6 22.6 '731 '37787 '9-7 12.9 1732 •45469 19.0 '4-5 '733 '39410 25-9 ' 3 ' '734 122087 2 3 0 18.4 '735 127432 30 .3 12.6 1736 '78954 2 7 3 12.1 '737 182371 24. r 14.8 '738 219366 30.6 27-5 '739 l 6 3 5 5 9 26.7 9-4 1740 '35013 23-5 1O.1 ' 7 4 ' 269489 34-7 100.0 1742 '63540 27.3 100.0 •743 2O2167 3 2 6 22.4 1 744 2377'4 30.0 22.4 ' 7+5 220303 33-3 74-9 1746 205599 31-9 23-3 •747 95851 •5-7 40.O 1748 2 " 7 5 9 ' 18.8 43-7 '749 •954°9 23.2 '3-5 •75" 279668 21.6 20.() ' 7 5 ' 286057 27.6 • 6.7 '752 366930 26.1 10.3 • 753 410449 32-4 20.5 '754 420953 3 0 4 8-5 '755 275905 29.1 8,3 '756 255906 29.1 • 3-8 '757 339856 29-9 20.5 '758 304116 38.9 2G.6 '759 361494 67.6 33-7 1760 37 '744 72.3 31-9 source: K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading  World of Asia, Appendix 5. (33) due to the i n c r e a s e d demand from the Company's growing m i l i t a r y e s tablishment, f o l l o w i n g the beginning of the Anglo-French wars i n -r J - 16 India.' By the e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h century at l e a s t s i x t y percent 17 of the Company's t o t a l imports to Europe came from Bengal. Throughout the e i g h t e e n t h century Bengal t e x t i l e s were i n great demand, o n l y to be r i v a l l e d i n importance by the demand f o r t e a • from China i n the l a t t e r p a r t of the century. And the E n g l i s h Company's p o s i t i o n i n A s i a , by the e a r l y 1700s, was such t h a t i t gained the most from the demand f o r t e x t i l e s and tea,' v i s - a - v i s i t s European r i v a l s . 1 8 However, at the beginning of the e i g h t e e n t h century t e x t i l e exports from the East were a c t u a l l y down from the l a s t decade of the seventeenth century. Between 1703 and 1708 the Company exported l e s s than 100,000 p i e c e s of c o t t o n goods and spun s i l k a n n u a l l y from Bengal. T h i s d e c l i n e can be a t t r i b u t e d , i n p a r t , 19 to the Act of 1700 and the War of the Spanish Succession. However, a l r e a d y i n 1709, the t o t a l f o r t e x t i l e exports from Bengal had r i s e n above 100,000 p i e c e s and f o r the next ten years the annual t o t a l was over 200,000 p i e c e s and on one o c c a s i o n i t exceeded 300,000 p i e c e s . By 1720 the t o t a l t e x t i l e exports from Bengal r e p r e s e n t e d 2/3 of the A s i a n t o t a l . From 1727 to 1742 the annual t o t a l f o r Bengal never went below 550,000 p i e c e s r i s i n g to over 800,000 i n 1742, while value remained s t a b l e . Between 1743 and 1756 the annual t o t a l was between 450,000 and 550,000 p i e c e s with q u a n t i t y and value d e c l i n i n g o v e r a l l . Not s u r p r i s i n g l y the t o t a l dropped below 100,000 i n 1757 (see t a b l e 5). The f a l l i n g o f f i n the t e x t i l e t rade from Bengal a f t e r 1743 i n both value and q u a n t i t y , i n c o n t r a s t to moderate growth between 1727 and 1742, was probably due, i n p a r t , (34) Table 5 Import of textiles (Bengal) Quantity Value Year pieces £ 1664 2 4 9 ' 3 . 16645 1665 •9978 12250 1666 7 ' 4 ' 4 8 7 5 1667 0 0 1668 0 0 1669 8085 5547 1670 22233 11972 1671 43276 2 5 8 . 4 1672 68132 43177 '673 98108 5 0 9 4 8 1674 800 508 >6 75 44005 22241 1676 80684 36488 .677 75359 42292 1678 5 7 ' 7 4 32489 1679 76597 39265 1680 67904 46767 1681 73 '74 37789 1682 164479 80639 1683 45782 17869 1684 187 004 9 6 4 ' 5 1685 227788 148810 1686 203372 100961 1687 77624 56518 1691 7' ' 3 0 34538 •693 •7987 9339 1694 89052 36857 1695 71539 26308 1696 156411 70490 i697 '25747 56616 1698 120314 60257 1699 180540 119363 1700 27454' 181499 1701 247704 151205 1702 213307 165521 •703 52 494 37270 1705 3 6 3 " 24040 1706 78296 50984 1707 66184 42 742 1708 56174 37021 1709 116005 76784 1710 223812 130 453 1711 347572 245329 171a 282893 200951 ' 7 ' 3 253493 209569 1714 193822 146 501 ' 7 ' 5 202034 145050 . 7 , 6 271868 172598 i 7 ' 7 176978 121344 1718 275752 173917 ' 7 ' 9 3 3 ' 2 9 4 202928 Quantity Value Year pieces £ 1720 462875 296037 1721 490875 274603 1722 161472 85303 1723 304595 169342 1724 289806 155760 1725 257905 136464 1726 574639 286911 1727 822035 418966 1728 53 '548 306731 1729 608 121 386744 '730 528049 366674 ' 7 3 ' 613700 416712 '732 622058 364154 •733 530281 249227 '734 624447 316361 '735 637646 3 ' 0 i 3 4 '736 593372 325032 '737 439956 208 254 '738 560381 3 '6739 •739 670933 373024 1740 556141 329932 1741 693478 387873 1742 809777 469245 '743 588030 380762 '744 449121 331246 '745 502558 357209 1746 550290 378482 •747 547225 374582 1748 427525 361978 '749 370365 297956 '750 461000 484507 1751 448041 439546 1752 4 0 3 ' 9 5 348035 1753 376025 301698 '754 345267 285891 '755 381 543 332565 1756 400133 264756 1757 82656 60958 •758 254552 257894 '759 4 '9995 381 027 1760 3 2 9 0 4 3 300 262 source: K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading  World of Asia, • Appendix 5. (35) to the f a c t t h a t , a f t e r 1740, the Nawab o f Bengal, A l i v a r d i Khan, d i s r u p t e d the Company's trade on numerous oc c a s i o n s i n an e f f o r t to o b t a i n l a r g e sums of money to b o l s t e r h i s s t r i c k e n t r e a s u r y , while the Maratha i n v a s i o n s o f the 1740s a l s o s e r i o u s l y d i s r u p t e d the Bengal economy. Apart from c o t t o n t e x t i l e s and s i l k c l o t h the Company a l s o imported raw s i l k , some pepper, and s a l t p e t r e , from I n d i a . Between 1700 and mid-century raw s i l k from Bengal, and a small amount from China,- was an important item i n the Company's o v e r a l l 20 tr a d e . The E n g l i s h Company procured pepper on the Malabar Coast and a l s o i n Sumatra/ although by the e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h century the 21 p r o f i t a b i l i t y o f s h i p p i n g pepper to Europe was v e r y much reduced. S a l t p e t r e was a c q u i r e d mainly along the Coromandel Coast and to a 'lesser degree from Gujarat at the beginning of the e i g h t e e n t h century. However, once the Company was e s t a b l i s h e d i n Bengal i t came i n t o d i r e c t c o n t a c t with abundant s u p p l i e s o f s a l t p e t r e i n B i h a r . The s a l t p e t r e o f Bi h a r was of a h i g h q u a l i t y and inexpensive c a u s i n g the s a l t p e t r e trade to expand tremendously by the e a r l y 22 ei g h t e e n t h century. As a p r i n c i p l e i n g r e d i e n t i n the p r o d u c t i o n o f gunpowder, s a l t p e t r e was i n constant demand i n Europe. Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , o f course, the most important f a c t o r a f f e c t i n g the demand f o r s a l t -23 pe t r e i n Europe was war. The advent of peace i n 1697-1698 l e d to a s u b s t a n t i a l drop i n the demand f o r s a l t p e t r e ; however, with the resumption of h o s t i l i t i e s i n the e a r l y 1700s the demand rose s h a r p l y . In 1703 the Company exported over 6,000 cwts. of s a l t p e t r e from Bengal and over 20,000 cwts. i n 1705. With peace i n 1713 demand dropped somewhat, although i n 1727 and i n 1732 the Company despatched (36) over 20,000 cwts. from Bengal. Between 1733 and 1756 the annual t o t a l i n c r e a s e d , e s p e c i a l l y i n the war years, and both q u a n t i t y and value rose s l i g h t l y over a l l , i n d i c a t i n g that the European market f o r s a l t p e t r e was r e l a t i v e l y s t a b l e at t h i s time (see t a b l e 6). There was c o n s i d e r a b l e r i v a l r y between the European companies i n v o l v e d i n the s a l t p e t r e trade out of B i h a r . I t was not uncommon f o r the as sarnies to a b r u p t l y switch a l l e g i a n c e from the Dutch to the E n g l i s h and vice-versa.- By 1728 the two European companies had o r g a n i z e d the s a l t p e t r e workers as a '"company" t h a t s u p p l i e d them both, and they g e n e r a l l y sought to come t o a h -agreement on p r i c e s . But, i n 1735, with the a r r i v a l of the French Company i n B i h a r , s a l t p e t r e p r i c e s were again s u b j e c t to the e f f e c t s of com-p e t i t i v e b i d d i n g . The E n g l i s h and the Dutch were alarmed by t h i s and t r i e d to get the Nawab to l i m i t the amount of s a l t p e t r e the French c o u l d buy. A l s o , by the 1740s, some of Bengal's b i g g e s t Indian merchants were b e i n g a t t r a c t e d to the s a l t p e t r e trade f o r the f i r s t time. In 1745 a powerful C a l c u t t a merchant, Deepchund, was appointed f a u j d a r of Chapra i n B i h a r . Deepchund q u i c k l y used h i s new post to g a i n c o n t r o l o f a l a r g e number o f the s a l t p e t r e workers who s u p p l i e d the Europeans. As one h i s t o r i a n has s u c c i n t l y noted, "the p o l i t i c a l c o n d i t o n of Bengal was such at t h i s time t h a t the p r i v a t e use o f f o r c e and generous b r i b e r y opened a l l doors to 24 s p e c u l a t i o n . " T h i s , of course, continued to be the case a f t e r 1757. A f t e r 1745 the E n g l i s h , French and Dutch Companies a l l found t h a t they had to buy s a l t p e t r e from Deepchund. They t r i e d to bypass him, however, Nawab A l i v a r d i Khan was not on t h e i r s i d e and a l l attempts to circumvent Deepchund proved a b o r t i v e . Of course, (37) T a b i c g Import of saltpetre {Bengal) Quantity V a l u e Year cwt £ 1664 11789 6 186 1665 ' 3 1 77 8 i 9 3 16G6 0 0 if>67 0 0 1669 20734 10570 1670 20629 11 1 0 1 1671 8453 4773 1672 11 776 6611 '673 ' 7 3 6 5 8665 1674 3 ' 6 3 1938 "C75 15863 6410 1676 14535 8344 1677 12387 8796 1678 11 580 6778 "679 16886 11608 1680 6434 35oo 1681 '8937 8993 1682 18869 7383 1683 20839 7 5 i o 1684 22992 10144 1685 " 9 9 2 5060 1686 19889 10605 1687 17363 11 329 1688 3830 2 347 • 689 5 5 ' 6 3484 1690 4533 2631 1691 0 0 1692 6107 2300 '693 2004 1268 1694 11958 5766 '695 1825 1 140 1696 8247 5395 1697 5 9 ° 3 3954 • 698 8961 6312 '£>99 11035 7611 1700 5605 3 537 1701 12885 10608 1702 4376 3972 1703 6044 5356 1704 1941 2251 >7°5 20631 '8999 1706 21 037 22 771 1707 20438 22 621 1708 7217 8027 1709 7485 I 0 2 1 0 1710 12 843 |6 107 1711 9092 1 I 029 1712 13605 13 601 ' 7 ' 3 13 508 '3 755 1714 12363 10736 •7'5 9620 7256 Quantity V a l u e Year cwt £ 1716 10872 9090 1717 '54"7 19862 1718 10604 9 " 9 >7'9 11 116 " 4 5 4 1720 '3772 '4396 1721 '6529 ' 5 ° 7 5 1722 5439 6876 '723 '2 993 '5003 1724 14676 14185 '725 6025 5 " 7 1726 5 ° 9 3 4827 1727 23 126 25354 1728 8399 9274 1729 9396 9652 ' 7 3 ° 10469 9893 •73' 10748 11 041 '732 24686 22271 1733 17209 17581 1734 '5534 •5999 '735 22590 19466 '736 19421 • 9 3 9 8 '737 17072 ' 5 7 5 ' '738 10714 94O1 •739 ' 9 4 7 ' 16011 1740 12090 9988 1741 3 2 9 ' 7 2 7 ' 7 9 1742 45476 36361 '743 53 '62 51 662 '744 2 5 ' 49 23 785 '745 28719 28254 1746 26940 27397 '747 22286 20698 1748 '5556 '6775 '749 ' 7 5 9 ' 14906 '75" 4124 4640 '75 ' '3 '89 14916 ' 752 21 692 25928 1 753 16434 '9737 '754 ' 5 ' 2 4 17867 ' 755 3258' 39528 ' 756 33 952 32 757 ' 757 6324 8261 ' 75" 16212 19704 ' 759 33 l f i 5 26695 1 760 19326 15888 source: K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading  World of Asia, Appendix 5. (38) the B a t t l e o f P l a s s e y , and the r e s u l t i n g d e v o l u t i o n of p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o l i n Bengal to the E n g l i s h Company, would d r a s t i c a l l y change the s i t u a t i o n i n s o f a r as the p o s s i b i l i t y of u s i n g p o l i t i c a l power f o r commercial advantage then f e l l e n t i r e l y to the E n g l i s h Company and i t s s e r v a n t s . ^ India,- e s p e c i a l l y Bengal, remained the Company's main c o n t r i b u t o r of imports to Europe up to the middle of the e i g h t e e n t h century, when the sub-continent s t a r t e d to d e c l i n e i n importance because of the growing, s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the Company's trade with China.' S u r p r i s i n g l y , the Company's i n c r e a s i n g involvement i n p o l i t i c s i n I n d i a by the 1750s was accompanied by a d e c l i n e i n the importance of Bengal and Madras commercially, and by the r i s e of 26 the China t r a d e . The primary a r t i c l e o f trade with China was, o f course, teav Tea became.a;popular beverage i n England at the very b e g i n n i n g of the ei g h t e e n t h century, and the q u a n t i t y of tea imported by the 27 Company rose d r a m a t i c a l l y i n the 1720s and 1730s. By the f o u r t h decade of the e i g h t e e n t h century i t was undoubtedly apparent to a l l Europeans i n v o l v e d i n the trade o f A s i a that the E n g l i s h Company was g e o g r a p h i c a l l y and f i n a n c i a l l y i n the best p o s i t i o n to b e n e f i t from the r a p i d l y growing demand f o r tea i n Europe. Throughout the Anglo-French s t r u g g l e i n India,- which was g a i n i n g i n i n t e n s i t y as the e i g h t e e n t h century progressed, i t must be remembered t h a t the China trade was growing s t e a d i l y i n importance i n the back-28 ground. In 1690 t e a -represented one percent of the Company's imports, r i s i n g to twenty percent by 1747. In 1760 f o r t y percent 29 of the Company's imports to Europe was t e a from China (see t a b l e 7). The Company's d i s p o s i t i o n o f t e a and t e x t i l e s i n Europe (39) A P P E N D I X S T A T I S T I C A L T A B L E S Table 7 Total imj/orls of tea from China Quantity Value ! Quantity Value Year lb £ Year lb £ 1669 222 120 1745 883070 48156 1671 264 20 1746 410990 23001 1673 44 5" '747 3168358 '58915 4 7 ' 3 207 1748 3688082 205823 > 679 34" 36 1749 2 324755 139418 1 682 7 '3 1750 4727992 229237 1 (il);-, 12 070 2422 1751 2855164 '42195 1686 5 "55 37' '752 3110427 155384 1 Gild 1666 '77 '753 3254859 '53869 1689 26200 78, '754 3881264 165611 1690 3 " 3 9 " ' 723 '755 3977092 203 763 1691 12228 47' '756 3612233 '75595 1G92 f>374 ' 255 '757 3735596 168380 '"97 8921 8091 ; '758 2795130 101017 'r>99 13 082 158. '759 3928628 146129 1 701 "2 i 41 7 .7638 1760 6199609 280755 1702 43625 9 '25 ' 7<>3 '9395 3072 1704 '9974 4 75" 1 7<>:> 2523 2718 1 706 4G0 47 17' 3 158107 9746 1714 213499 24416 ' 7 ' 7 397 532 35 "85 171 n 542 443 38000 1719 51G105 39 1 74 1720 318416 2G243 1721 1 241 629 120 750 1722 ' 355 7f»4 98 017 • 7^3 6G3 311 46457 1724 1 078Goo 7G032 . ' 725 132256 8438 1726 717236 4389G 1727 265087 '6733 1728 262911 19701 i 1729 1 452 G28 68379 1 1730 1710 440 ' ' 3038 | '73' 1 811 115 118721 j "732 1 554684 68448 ' 73:5 820422 38008 '734 727499 27502 '735 568546 32273 ' 7 3 6 672089 39338 '737 1 G4451G 87228 '730 77849" 44 '46 '739 1 765694 76308 •74° ' 32"93r> 75497 '74' "77 37" 42 156 ' 742 1 7G2061 86727 '713 1645892 88G51 ' 744 725928 30289 source: K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading  World of Asia, Appendix 5. (40) was c l o s e l y c o n t r o l l e d by the B r i t i s h government. A l l the Company's imports had to be s o l d at p u b l i c l y a d v e r t i s e d a u c t i o n s . From 1742 to 1757 the Company grossed £2,000,000 a n n u a l l y from these s a l e s , 30 and i t s net p r o f i t over t h i s p e r i o d was around £500,000 y e a r l y . Although the D i r e c t o r s saw the Company's m i l i t a r y b u i l d - u p i n I n d i a as a t h r e a t to t h i s p r o f i t , the Company, up to mid-century, 31 continued i n good f i n a n c i a l c o n d i t i o n . In the f i r s t h a l f o.f the ei g h t e e n t h century the Company's s t o c k h o l d e r s i n England o n l y once 32 reaped d i v i d e n d s below e i g h t percent. O v e r a l l , i n terms of com-m e r c i a l expansion, the f i r s t h a l f of the e i g h t e e n t h century saw the Company making moderate but steady progress, although by the 1740s the l i m i t s o f t h a t expansion had b a s i c a l l y been reached and the Company's trade was i n d e c l i n e as war, t u r m o i l , and French c o m p e t i t i o n , i n I n d i a 'began to take i t s t o l l . I t was not o n l y the Company that was p r o s p e r i n g by the e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h century. Many of i t s servants i n A s i a were a l s o r e a p i n g c o n s i d e r a b l e p r o f i t s by p a r t i c i p a t i n g p r i v a t e l y i n the "country" trade, or i n t e r - p o r t trade. In the e a r l y years o f the seventeenth century both the E n g l i s h and the Dutch Companies them-s e l v e s took an a c t i v e p a r t i n the "country" trade. In t h i s the Dutch were more s u c c e s s f u l . The E n g l i s h Company was never able to d u p l i c a t e the Dutch economic and managerial e f f i c i e n c y and e s t a b l i s h an o f f i c i a l "country" trade o f any s i g n i f i c a n c e . Not s u r p r i s i n g l y , a what m i t i g a t e d most a g l n s t the success of the Company's "country" trade was the f a c t t h a t , u n l i k e the Dutch, the E n g l i s h continued to a l l o w t h e i r employees to p a r t i c i p a t e p r i v a t e l y i n the tr a d e . In t h i s s i t u a t i o n the Company's i n t e r e s t s o f t e n c o n f l i c t e d with the 33 p r i v a t e concerns of i t s employees. N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h i s approach (41) was perceived as b e n e f i c i a l to the Company since, i n theory, freedom to trade i n Asia would allow the Company's employees to acquire t h e i r fortunes at no expense to i t . Furthermore, i t would serve to turn the English settlements throughout India and Asia into prospering outposts paying the Company substantial sums i n taxes and custom duties. In 1717 the Court of Directors noted that "we sh a l l always be glad when trade flourishes i n India,- as well for the opportunity i t affords our servants to get estates honestly, 34 as that our own settlements are bettered thereby." I t was p a r t l y for t h i s reason that the Company also allowed a -few B r i t i s h traders not i n i t s employ to establish themselves i n India, as well as 35 because there was often nothing i t could r e a l l y do to stop them. Throughout the f i r s t h a l f of the eighteenth century there was a dramatic increase i n the number of English Company servants, as well as the number of free B r i t i s h traders, involved 3 6 in the "country" trade. By 1713 the B r i t i s h had surpassed the Dutch Company's "country" trade operation i n size and value and were the dominant force i n the Asian "country" trade. By 1732 there were at least t h i r t y B r i t i s h "country" ships working out of Hugli, i n contrast to less than ten i n 1700. By 1750 the number of B r i t i s h "country" ships stationed i n Bengal was about forty. This kind of increase does not occur i n the case of any other European "country" 37 ships. The r i v a l r y between the English and the French that characterized the "Europe" trade of the eighteenth century also occurred i n the "country" trade, to the great concern of the B r i t i s h . B r i t i s h "country" traders based i n Bengal never regarded the Dutch and c e r t a i n l y not the Portuguese, as serious competition. However, (42) a f t e r 1722, when the French Company modified i t s regulations on private trade, the English Company's servants and B r i t i s h "country" captains who p a r t i c i p a t e d in the inter-port trade became alarmed. In 1727 the Bengal servants complained that the French were stealing t h e i r c l i e n t s by charging prices f i f t y percent lower than the B r i t i s h . When Dupleix became Governor of Chandernagore i n 1731 he wasted no time i n organizing numerous private inter-port trading ventures out of Bengal, which he continued u n t i l he was posted to Pondicherry i n 1740. With the coming of the war French private shipping was seriously c u r t a i l e d . French shipping out of Bengal was e n t i r e l y eliminated for a time after 1757 when the B r i t i s h captured Chandernagore. During times of peace i n the second h a l f of the century French private shipping enjoyed a r e v i v a l of sorts, but i t never attained the scale i t had known i n the f i r s t years of the eighteenth century. 3^ Although the interport trade of Asia was becoming increasingly dominated by the B r i t i s h and other Europeans i n the f i r s t h a l f of the eighteenth century, the amount of European i n -volvement i n the inland trade of India was very moderate. Prior to 1757 the private European trade i n Asia was predominantly i n t e r -port trade and i n order for the Company's servants to become esta-blished i n the inland trade of Bengal and elsewhere, they needed to acquire p o l i t i c a l power. This power was needed to secure customs p r i v i l e g e s , l o c a l monopoly rights, permission to exercise authority over native weavers and producers who were given sizeable amounts of money i n advance, c o l l e c t debts and arrest debtors. The Company i t s e l f already had a number of p r i v i l e g e s i n Bengal before the 1750s and i t s employees often fraudulently used these p r i v i l e g e s (43) 39 in t h e i r private:trade. However, there i s l i t t l e doubt that the misuse of these p r i v i l e g e s , and the inland trading of the Company's servants generally, were kept at a minimum p r i o r to 1757. This was due both to the wary eye of the Bengal Nawabs and to the scrutiny 40 of the Company auth o r i t i e s . As the eighteenth century progressed the increasing European, e s p e c i a l l y B r i t i s h , involvement i n the "country" trade of A s i a almost unconsciously established the basis for "free-trade" i n the East i n the nineteenth century. Although the English Company's involvement i n the "country" trade had been superseded i n the second h a l f of the seventeenth century by the private trade of i t s employees and free-traders the trade continued to be dominated by the B r i t i s h . By the end of the eighteenth century the prevalence of B r i t i s h merchants, mariners, and c a p i t a l engaged i n Asia's 41 "country" trade, was, i n contrast to other Europeans, astonishing. Also, by the end of the eighteenth century the English had eliminated France from the trade between Europe and Asia, while Dutch trade, with i t s emphasis on spices, had been f a t a l l y undermined by smuggling. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the English Company had made cotton-piece goods the central p i l l a r of i t s trade between Europe and Asia; however, when the Industrial Revolution, that swept B r i t a i n i n the late eighteenth century, began to undermine i t the Company was already developing i t s trade i n both opium and tea. Opium served to enhance i t s role i n the "country" trade to China, while tea insured i t an important position in the trade 42 to Europe. Over the course of two centuries the B r i t i s h vied with t h e i r European r i v a l s for the control of the trade i n and (44) with the East. By the late eighteenth century the English East India Company, B r i t i s h free-traders, and the B r i t i s h Navy were not only achieving commercial and naval hegemony, but were esta-b l i s h i n g a - . t e r r i t o r i a l empire i n Asia as well. By the end of the century the Company was t o t a l l y immersed i n Indian p o l i t i c s , and commerce was becoming almost secondary. However, long before the second h a l f of the eighteenth century, the Company had to take Indian p o l i t i c s into consideration i n i t s pursuit of commercial gain i n the sub-continent. Notes and References to Chapter Two 1. Ralph Davis, The Rise of the A t l a n t i c Economies (London: Cox and Wyman, 1973) pp. 78-79. Holden Furber, Rival  Empires, pp. 191-192. For a recent study of Early English and European Overseas Expansion see G. V. Scammell, The World Encompassed: The F i r s t European Maritime Empires c. 800-1650 (Berkeley: Univer-s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press lme hmp , 1981) 2. See Furber Rival Empires, pp. 31-89 for seventeenth century Anglo-Dutch r i v a l r y over the spice trade. 3. Charles Wilson, England's Apprenticeship 1603-1763 (London: Longman's, 1975), p. 171. 4. K. N. Chaudhuri, The English East India Company: The Study of An Early Joint-Stock Company 1600-1640 (London: Frank Cass and.Co., 19 65) 5. Wallerstein, The Modern World System II , p. 273. 6. P. J. Thomas, Mercantilism and the East India Trade (London: P. S. King and Son Ltd., 1926), pp. 25-26. 7. Marshall, Problems of Empire, pp. 79-80. See Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia, pp. 500-505. for an extensive l i s t of the d i f f e r e n t v a r i e t i e s of cotton t e x t i l e s exported from India. 8. One piece of Indian cotton was approximately 1 1/4 yards by 15 yards, or 1.14 metres by 13.71 metres. Chaudhuri, The  Trading World of Asia p. 472. 9. Wallerstein, Modern World System II p. 274. (45) 10. Cain and Hopkins, "The P o l i t i c a l Economy of B r i t i s h Expansion," pp. 466-467. 11. Walter L. Dorn, Competition f o r Empire 1740-1763 (New York: Harper and Row, 1940), pp. 175-176. 12. Cain and Hopkins, "The P o l i t i c a l Economy of B r i t i s h Expansion," pp. 467-469. 13. Marshall, Problems of Empire p. 79. 14. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia, pp. 98-99. 15. One explanation for th i s i s that the people of India had changed t h e i r attitude to English goods, since the goods themselves had not changed. A second explanation i s that the marketing practices used after 1700 were di f f e r e n t . The Company's f a c t o r i e s were now s e l l i n g t h e i r merchandise i n bulk to individual Indian traders or merchant groups. The advantage of t h i s method was the rapid turnover, and the fact that the Indian merchants were more q u a l i f i e d i n vending the English goods i n small quantities because of their greater f a m i l i a r i t y with the markets of the sub-continent. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia,-pp. 231-232. 16. Ibid., p. 234. Cf. Furber, Rival Empires, p. 157, who claims that t h i s increased demand was almost e n t i r e l y a result of the Company's expanding m i l i t a r y establishment. 17. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, p. 29. 18. Furber, Rival Empires, pp. 130-131. 19. S u s i l Chaudhuri, "Textile Trade and Industry i n Bengal Suba -1650-1720," The Indian H i s t o r i c a l Review 1 no. 2 (Sept. 1974): 268. 20. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia, p. 345. 21. Marshall, Problems of Empire, p. 80. 22. Sukumar Bhattacharya, The East India Company and the Economy of Bengal from 1704 to 1740 (London: Luzac and Co., 1954), p. 149. 23. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia, p. 338. 24. Ibid., pp. 339-340. 25. Ibid., p. 341. 26. Ibid., pp. 98-99. 27. Marshall, Problems of Empire, p. 80. (46) 28. Furber, Rival Empires, p. 125. 29. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia, p. 97. 30. Marshall, Problems of Empire, pp. 81-82. 31. Furber, R i v a l Empires, p. 157. 32. Marshall, Problems of Empire, pp. 81-82. 33. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia, pp. 208-209. 34. quoted i n Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, pp. 19-20. 35. Ibid., pp. 20-21. 36. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia,- pp. 208-209. 37. Furber, Rival Empires, pp. 273-276. 38. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, pp. 64-66. 39. Ibid., p. 112. 40. Bhattacharya, The East India Company, p. 146. 41. Furber, Rival Empires, p. 331. 42. Ibid., p. 332. (47) Chapter Three: The P o l i t i c s of English Trade in Bengal to the Death of A l i v a r d i Khan 1600-1756 The English East India Company's commerce always had a p o l i t i c a l dimension i n both Europe and Asia. From the beginning the English had to deal with the Mughal government as well as the var-ious l o c a l rulers within whose j u r i s d i c t i o n they intended to carry on t h e i r trade. Integral to these dealings and to India's p o l i t i c a l economy as a whole was the regular use of bribes or presents. Con-1 tr a r y to the claims of at least one eighteenth century observer these dealings often took on an adversarial character, e s p e c i a l l y at the l o c a l l e v e l , where the Company's servants dealt with minor o f f i c i a l s . The relationship between the Company and the various l e v e l s of government i n India that developed over the f i r s t one hundred and f i f t y years of the Company's presence i n India was one of confrontation, extortion, sometimes violence and occasionally outright war. When the English f i r s t arrived on the west coast of India,' and l a t e r i n Bengal, one of t h e i r major p o l i t i c a l objectives was, of course, not just to gain permission to trade i n India but to acquire s p e c i a l trading p r i v i l e g e s . The Company sought p r i v i l e g e s that lowered or eliminated the l o c a l government's duties and i t also wanted to exclude the other European trading companies from as much of the Indian trade as possible, since their competition only served to increase the price of Indian goods and lower the s e l l i n g price i n Europe. However, i n the early years the Company was not given any s p e c i a l p r i v i l e g e s and was generally expected to trade i n India on the same basis as the other Asian and European traders. (48) From the moment the Company's ships f i r s t arrived i n Bengal they were constantly obstructed by Indian o f f i c i a l s who were only s a t i s f i e d by bribes and presents. In 1634, the year after the Company established i t s f i r s t permanent factory i n Bengal, i t acquired an imperial farman for the area from Emperor Shah Jahan, which i t hoped would o f f s e t the random obstruction. In thi s farman the Company was given permission to trade i n Bengal on the same 2 basis as other traders. Up to the 1680s the Company's si t u a t i o n i n Bengal was such that i t often procured p r i v i l e g e s on paper that, due to the independence of the subahdar's subordinates, not to mention the inconsistency of the subahdar himself, were often not observed i n p r a c t i c e . 3 When the Company obtained another imperial farman i n 1680 the Bengal servants interpreted i t to mean1 that English goods were excluded from paying duties everywhere i n India,- except at Surat. However, by simply moving a period the farman could also be interpreted to mean' that these duties were to be paid at Surat and throughout India.- In fact, since the farman was addressed s p e c i f i c a l l y to the Company's governor at Surat, i t was probably not even applicable to Bengal. This was substantiated i n 1682 when the Emperor directed the Company to pay a duty of 3 1/2 percent on 4 a l l commodities i t exported from, or imported into,Bengal. Never-theless, the English i n Bengal stood by t h e i r interpretation and the debate continued u n t i l 1686 when war broke out between the Mughals and the Company. In the words of Robert Orme, a Company servant, h i s t o r i a n , and close f r i e n d of C l i v e , the English Company's war with the Mughals stemmed from the fact that each successive Bengal subahdar used (49) "every pretext which might bring the English a f f a i r s under his cognizance... i n order to subject them to fines and exactions." Then, i f the Company objected i t s trade i n Bengal was brought to a h a l t . Under these circumstances the English could either respond with force or acquiesce, and given the r e l a t i v e unimportance of the Bengal trade i n the early years they did not seriously consider 5 m i l i t a r y resistance. But, by the 1680s, m i l i t a r y resistance was beginning to be seen as a 'solution to the Company's problems i n Bengal and the rest of India. 1 William Hedges, who had arrived as Governor of the Company's fac t o r i e s i n Bengal i n 1682, was convinced that the only way the Company would be able to free i t s trade from the Bengal government's constant obstructions was to enter into a • war and b u i l d a f o r t i f i e d settlement with access to the ocean1, where the Company possessed complete naval s u p e r i o r i t y over the Mughals. Hedges was not the f i r s t to advocate war as a 'means of furthering the Company's commerce. In 1677 Gerald Aungier, Governor of Bombay, suggested to the Court of Directors that " i n v i o l e n t distempers, v i o l e n t cures are only successful; that the times now require you to manage your general commerce with your sword 7 in your hands." By 1681 the Chairman of the Company i n England, S i r •Josiah Child, was also advocating a "forward p o l i c y " for the Company i n India, 1 while his brother, John, at Surat, was constantly pointing to the importance of f o r t i f y i n g the Company's f a c t o r i e s throughout the sub-continent. S i r Josiah 1 wanted to turn the Company's settlements into f o r t i f i e d enclosures e n t i r e l y able to defend themselves from Indian 1 and European1 enemies. This prompted him to argue, i n a l e t t e r already c i t e d above (p. 14) that the Company should "establish such a p o l i t i c of c i v i l and m i l i t a r y (50) power and create and secure such a 'large revenue to maintain both ...as may be the foundation of a 'large well-grounded, sure English g dominion i n India for a l l time to come." It was i n t h i s climate that the Company abandoned i t s previous p o l i c y of "peaceful commerce" and i n 1686 embarked on a "forward p o l i c y " . However, although the Company c l e a r l y intended to seek economic advantage at the point of a 'gun, i t i s u n l i k e l y that, as Ramakrishna.'Mukherjee argues, the Company ever sought, or even contemplated, actual conquest and control of the sub-continent as a whole at t h i s time. Given the Company's m i l i t a r y c a p a b i l i t y i n the 1680s the objective of the Company's ."forward p o l i c y " was obviously much more limited than Mukherjee claims, despite the vague and grandiose wording of S i r Josiah's d i r e c t i v e . The war began i n Bengal i n Qctobe-r 1686, when the English,under Job Charnock, attacked Hugli. Things went badly, however, and Charnock surrendered i n June 1687, although the English did manage to gain a 'foothold i n Bengal at Sutanuti, near Calcutta,' i n September 1687. They were again defeated i n 1688 when, after being supplied with fresh r e c r u i t s from England, they embarked on an unsuccessful attempt to capture Chittagong. The Mughals again prevailed and peace was restored i n 1690. Never-theless the Emperor, i n deference to the Company's control of the seas, gave i t permission to trade free of customs duties i n exchange fo r an annual pishkash of Rs. 3,000. But, as Orme notes, t h i s s t i l l depended more "on the temper of the Nabob than on the w i l l of the 9 Emperor." The English were allowed to return to th e i r former position and were soon given permission to f o r t i f y t h e i r f a c t o r i e s . To support t h e i r growing presence i n Bengal they also received the (51) zamindari of three,small v i l l a g e s : Govindpur, Calcutta,' and Sutanuti. One reason the English, as the defeated party, were so well rewarded was because of th e i r complete domination of the seas. Another reason was that, even at t h i s stage, the Emperor was aware of how important the Company's trade was to h i s revenue, e s p e c i a l l y at 10 Surat. Thus, by the beginning of the eighteenth century the Company was f i r m l y established i n Bengal, as well as at Surat, Bombay,and Madras. In a l l these places the Company not only had a 'commercial base but a 'Small t e r r i t o r i a l , m i l i t a r y , and p o l i t i c a l base as well. In the eighteenth century r e l a t i o n s between the Company and the Bengal government continued to revolve around the question of the Company's trading p r i v i l e g e s . The Company continued to have to use bribes, or threats of force, or both, to f a c i l i t a t e i t s trade. For example, i n December 1703 the Company's saltpetre boats were detained at Rajmahal when the l o c a l customs o f f i c i a l s claimed that the boats had no sanads from either the Subahdar or the Diwan. The Council at Fort William sent someone "to clear the boats at any 11 p r i c e " and by January 1704 the boats had been freed. This recurred 12 numerous times over the years. " In some instances the o f f i c i a l s did not even bother with a pretense for obstructing trade. In 1704 o f f i c i a l s at Hugli threatened to disrupt the Company's trade as much as possible i f they were not given Rs. 1,100. The Bengal Council decided to pay the bribe covertly "concealing i t from a l l the other darbar o f f i c e r s , for fear that they too may demand more." At the same time the Council sent t h i r t y sepoys to intimidate the customs o f f i c i a l s at Hugli, although the troops were on no account 13 to commence h o s t i l i t i e s . " (52) In September 1709, i n another e f f o r t to end the random o b s t r u c t i o n of i t s trade the C o u n c i l p a i d the Piwan Rs. 45,000 f o r 14 a <new sanad. However, j u s t two months l a t e r , a new subahdar was i n s t a l l e d and the Bengal government again began d i s r u p t i n g the Company's trade, i n s i s t i n g t h a t a -further Rs. 20,000 was due. The C o u n c i l r e f u s e d to pay. I t decided to make use of i t s n a v a l super-i o r i t y and t h r e a t e n e d to h a l t a l l Mughal s h i p p i n g . The C o u n c i l a l s o despatched f o r t y European s o l d i e r s and t h i r t y sepoys to f r e e any 15 boats t h a t were being h e l d by the l o c a l government. A short time l a t e r , as a r e s u l t of i n t e r n a l problems at Murshidabad, the Piwan 16 h i m s e l f was k i l l e d by the Subahdar's own t r o o p s . A f t e r t h i s i n -c i d e n t the Company made l i t t l e p rogress i n p r o c u r i n g any s o r t of t r a d i n g p r i v i l e g e s u n t i l 1717. The year 1717 was a -turning p o i n t f o r the Company i n India.' A f t e r the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah- d i e d i n 1712, and once F a r r u k h s i y a r , h i s successor, was s e t t l e d on the throne, the 17 Company sent John Surman- to P e l h i where, i n 1717, he secured the Emperor's farman. Bhattacharya c a l l s - the farman o f 1717 the 18 "Magna C a r t a -of the E n g l i s h trade i n India.-" However, S u s i l Chaudhuri has r e c e n t l y proposed a more c a u t i o u s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the importance of t h i s farman. A p p a r e n t l y the most important g a i n from the farman was the p r i v i l e g e to trade d u t y - f r e e , a p r i v i l e g e the Company had r e c e i v e d h i t h e r t o o n l y a f t e r w e l l p l a c e d b r i b e s . Although the farman d i d not c l e a r l y o u t l i n e what aspects of the Company's trade were to be immune from d u t i e s Chaudhuri argues t h a t there i s l i t t l e q u e s t i o n itvrwas the Company's seaborne trade t h a t was to be exempt, not the p r i v a t e trade of the Company's se r v a n t s . Nor d i d the farman secure de f a c t o e x t r a - t e r r i t o r i a l (53) p r i v i l e g e s as Bhattacharya claims. And the farman d i d n o t h i n g to prevent the s e a r c h i n g of the Company's employees by government o f f i c i a l s , as has a l s o been suggested. The Company d i d r e c e i v e the r i g h t to e x e r c i s e a u t h o r i t y over "run away" debtors, but o n l y i f they were servants of the Company. In the case of any other crime committed by the Company's servants the Mughal government continued 19 as the f i n a l a u t h o r i t y . The farman a l s o confirmed the Company's zamindari r i g h t s over Govindpur, S u t a n u t i , and C a l c u t t a , as w e l l as a l l o w i n g i t to o b t a i n zamindari r i g h t s over t h i r t y - e i g h t more v i l l a g e s . P e r m i s s i o n was a l s o given f o r the Company to c o i n money at the Murshidabad mint, the charge f o r which was l e f t to the d i s c r e t i o n 20 of the l o c a l government o f f i c e r s . Although the farman of 1717 was important to the Company i n many ways i t was not the beginning of a new e r a of p e a c e f u l r e -l a t i o n s between the Company and the Bengal government. In the same year the Mughal Emperor merged the o f f i c e s of Subahdar and Diwan 21 under Murshid Q u l i Khan, who had a l r e a d y been Diwan f o r a number of years. By 1727, when he died, Murshid Q u l i Khan had turned the p r o v i n c e of Bengal, B i h a r and O r i s s a i n t o an almost e n t i r e l y i n -dependent s t a t e . The Emperor was s t i l l given t r i b u t e , but D e l h i e x e r c i s e d no e f f e c t i v e power i n Bengal and throughout h i s r e i g n Murshid Q u l i Khan p a i d l i t t l e heed to the p r o v i s i o n s of the im-22 p e r i a l farman of 1717. There was constant disagreement between the Nawab and the E n g l i s h on how to i n t e r p r e t the farman and l o c a l o f f i c i a l s c o n tinued to act i n an independent manner, although much of the Company's export-import trade was allowed exemption 23 from customs i n Bengal. Murshid Q u l i Khan adamantly r e f u s e d to allow the Company the use of the mint, nor d i d he acknowledge i t s (54) r i g h t to the t h i r t y - e i g h t v i l l a g e s as s t i p u l a t e d i n the farman. For a l l of h i s r e i g n the E n g l i s h at C a l c u t t a p e t i t i o n e d , with no success, to have these p r i v i l e g e s recognized. Murshid Q u l i Khan's r e f u s a l was due to the f a c t that he was concerned about the i n -c r e a s i n g i n f l u e n c e the E n g l i s h were gai n i n g i n Bengal and he wished to curb i t as much as p o s s i b l e . The Company was already s u c c e s s f u l l y managing the C a l c u t t a , Govindpur and Sutanuti zamindari and, since the Mughals lacked sea power, the E n g l i s h maintained considerable c o n t r o l over the t r a f f i c on, and out of, the H u g l i R i v e r . Further t e r r i t o r i a l c o n t r o l , over the t h i r t y - e i g h t v i l l a g e s a d j o i n i n g C a l c u t t a , would only serve to dangerously enhance the E n g l i s h p o s i t i o n , while to allow the E n g l i s h the use of the mint would give them a decided advantage over a l l the other merchants i n Bengal. A c o n f r o n t a t i o n of major proportions occurred between the Nawab and the Company i n 1723 over the Bengal Council's d e s i r e to e s t a b l i s h f a c t o r i e s at Dacca and Malda. Murshid Q u l i Khan at f i r s t requested a present of Rs. 40,000 f o r h i s permission to b u i l d the two f a c t o r i e s . The E n g l i s h o f f e r e d him Rs. 20,000 i n r e t u r n f o r which he was o n l y w i l l i n g to allow a f a c t o r y at Dacca, but the E n g l i s h d e c l i n e d to s e t t l e f o r t h i s arrangement and d e f i a n t l y set up f a c t o r i e s at both Malda and Dacca. Somewhat s u r p r i s i n g l y , the E n g l i s h were w e l l received at Dacca by the Nawab's deputy, and they traded there r e l a t i v e l y unhindered r i g h t up u n t i l Murshid Q u l i Khan's death. However, at Malda, the l o c a l zamindar d i s r u p t e d the Company's trade, f o r c i n g i t to move much of i t s Malda operation to Makhdumpur, where i t was i n i t i a l l y l e f t alone. But, soon the f a u j d a r of Makhdumpur i n s t r u c t e d the E n g l i s h to abandon t h i s f a c -(55) t o r y and began to d i s r u p t t h e i r trade. In r e t a l i a t i o n the Company was able to again take advantage of i t s undisputed naval s u p e r i o r i t y and threatened to h a l t a l l s h i p p i n g on the H u g l i . But the s i t u a t i o n c o ntinued to d e t e r i o r a t e and the E n g l i s h at Makhdumpur s u f f e r e d c o n s t a n t d i s r u p t i o n s o f t h e i r b u s i n e s s and a t t a c k s by the Nawab's tr o o p s . So the E n g l i s h began to h a l t Mughal s h i p p i n g on the r i v e r . Then, at the end of 1723 the Nawab again ordered the E n g l i s h to evacuate t h e i r f a c t o r y at Makhdumpur and end t h e i r remaining bus-i n e s s at Malda. At t h i s p o i n t , with the p o s s i b i l i t y o f o u t r i g h t war w i t h the Nawab on the h o r i z o n , the C o u n c i l r e l e n t e d somewhat and c l o s e d down i t s f a c t o r y at Makhdumpur, but i t r e f u s e d to leave Malda. T h i s appears to have been a s u f f i c i e n t concession and by January 1724 the Nawab had decided to acquiesce to the E n g l i s h presence at M a l d a . ^ Another cause of f r i c t i o n between the E n g l i s h and the Nawab was the abuse of the Company's dastaks. These documents were to be i s s u e d with the Company's import and export goods to i n d i c a t e t h a t they were customs f r e e . The Nawab's government r e g u l a r l y com-p l a i n e d that the I n d i a n employees of the Company c a r r i e d on t h e i r 27 own p r i v a t e trade under the Company's dastaks. There was c e r t a i n l y grounds f o r the Nawab's complaints and as e a r l y as 1705 the Company had i n s t r u c t e d i t s employees i n Bengal to d e s i s t from u s i n g the 2 8 Company's dastaks f o r t h e i r p r i v a t e t r a d e . In 1725 Murshid Q u l i Khan presented a formal o b j e c t i o n to the C a l c u t t a C o u n c i l r e g a r d i n g the misuse of dastaks. The C o u n c i l d i d attempt to prevent Indian and European se r v a n t s from abusing these dastaks and t h e i r other p r i v i l e g e s , but the p r a c t i c e continued to the end of Murshid Q u l i Khan's r e i g n and beyond, although i t was c e r t a i n l y not a major (56) problem u n t i l a f t e r 1757. 2 9 A f t e r Murshid Q u l i Khan's death i n June 1727, h i s successor and son-in-law, Shuja-ud-din, was no more w i l l i n g to f o l l o w the d i c t a t e s of the 1717 farman than h i s f a t h e r - i n - l a w had been. In the years 1727, 1731, 1732, and 1736 the Company gave Of) Shuja-ud-din s u b s t a n t i a l sums of money (Rs. 180,000 i n 1731 ) so t h a t he and h i s government would r e f r a i n from d i s r u p t i n g E n g l i s h trade i n Bengal. In f a c t , the reason the Company's trade was not o b s t r u c t e d to a 'greater degree was t h a t Shuja-ud-din knew that the Company's a c t i v i t i e s were important f o r the p r o v i n c e ' s r e v e n u e — i t was not the r e s u l t o f any f e a r on h i s p a r t t h a t the Emperor 31 might a c t u a l l y t r y and back up the farman. The Nawabship of Shuja-ud-din's successor, S a r f a r a z 32 Khan, was b r i e f and i n 1740 he was overthrown by A l i v a r d i Khan. R e l a t i o n s between the E n g l i s h and A l i v a r d i , an Afghan adventurer, got o f f to a good s t a r t when he informed the E n g l i s h that t h e i r p resent to S a r f a r a z had been i n t e r c e p t e d by him and was e n t i r e l y to h i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . With t h i s a u s p i c i o u s beginning the Company intended to remain on good terms with A l i v a r d i and his;government. As evidence of t h i s the Company immediately gave i n to demands f o r 33 a l a r g e present by the Governor of Dacca. However, i t was not j u s t the Company's d e s i r e to remain on good terms with the new Nawab t h a t r e s t r a i n e d t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s i n Bengal i n t h i s p e r i o d . I t was a l s o because A l i v a r d i was an e x c e p t i o n a l l y capable and powerful Nawab, supported by Bengal's important f i n a n c i a l and commercial houses, such as the Jagat Sheth, t h a t he was able to r e s t r a i n the E n g l i s h Company, des p i t e the f a c t that by the beginning of h i s r e i g n i t was by f a r the l a r g e s t and most important t r a d i n g (57) • 34 Company i n Bengal. However, i t was on l y a matter o f time before a l e s s capable Nawab would appear on the scene opening the way f o r the expansion of E n g l i s h power i n Bengal. Throughout A l i v a r d i ' s r e i g n Bengal was subject to r e c u r -r e n t Maratha i n v a s i o n s which weakened the economy of the r e g i o n almost to the p o i n t o f c o l l a p s e and thus taxed the s t a b i l i t y o f 35 h i s regime. Of course, these i n v a s i o n s o f t e n d i s r u p t e d the 3 6 E n g l i s h Company's o p e r a t i o n as w e l l . By J u l y 1744 the weak econ-omy and the pressure on h i s m i l i t a r y establishment caused A l i v a r d i to demand that the E n g l i s h pay him three m i l l i o n rupees i n order t h a t he c o u l d pay h i s tro o p s . A l i v a r d i ordered the harrassment of Indians i n the Company's s e r v i c e u n t i l the money was p a i d . By 37 September he had s e t t l e d f o r 350,000 rupees. Right up u n t i l A l i v a r d i ' s death the Company continued to s u f f e r harrassment from l o c a l government o f f i c i a l s who were seeking p r e s e n t s and b r i b e s , although t h e i r demands were o f t e n d e f l e c t e d without payment being made. In 1751 the Company's f a c t o r y at Dacca complained t h a t " t h e i r b usiness was stopped without any reason" when the l o c a l f a u j d a r demanded a present of Rs. 3,000. The a f f a i r was c l e a r e d up by November with l e s s than the sum demanded 3 8 changing hands. In 1755 the Company's trade i n Burdwan was ob-s t r u c t e d by the l o c a l r a j a h , but a f t e r a reprimand from A l i v a r d i 39 the harrassment ceased. At the end of 1755 A l i v a r d i gave the Company a parwana that p r o h i b i t e d a l l l e v e l s o f government from h a r r a s s i n g 40 "any conveyances with E n g l i s h d u s t i c k s on any pretence whatever." S u r p r i s i n g l y , the F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l had b i g ex p e c t a t i o n s f o r t h i s parwana e x p e c t i n g t h a t i t would "prevent any i n t e r u p t i o n s or 41 e x a c t i o n s i n time to come." As i t was A l i v a r d i ' s r e i g n ended (58) shortly thereafter, but the problem did not disappear with him. Another important aspect of A l i v a r d i ' s relationship with the English was his concern that the Anglo-French c o n f l i c t should not spread from the Coromandel to Bengal. When the c o n f l i c t spread into the Deccan he continued to avoid getting involved or to allow the Europeans i n Bengal to do so. He ignored the Marquis de Bussy's suggestions of an a l l i a n c e and i n July 1745 he p u b l i c l y warned the the French, the Dutch, and the English against entering into a war i n Bengal. The Europeans were ordered to observe a s t r i c t 42 n e u t r a l i t y north of Point Palmyras i n Balasore. This n e u t r a l i t y was only v i o l a t e d twice. The f i r s t time was when the English attacked some Dutch shipping and the second time was when the French attacked and captured the Dutch factory at Chinsura in 1748. Apart from these two incidents A l i v a r d i ' s reign saw r e l a t i v e peace between the Europeans and the major threat to everyone i n Bengal was the Marathas. Between the 1630s and the 1750s the relationship between the Company and the government of Bengal was characterized by- incessant disagreement as to what exactly the Company's p r i v i l e g e s were and whether or not they had been violated, as well as frequent trade disruptions by l o c a l o f f i c i a l s for no other reason than a desire to p r o f i t personally. Over t h i s period Bengal became increasingly important to the Company's trade and the Company sought to streng-then and expand i t s position in Bengal i n r e l a t i o n to the other European companies and the l o c a l government, often r e l y i n g on i t s naval power to do so. And although the l o c a l and imperial govern-ment perceived the English as a threat in many instances, the Company's importance i n terms of revenue and the general w e l l -(59) being o f the economy o f t e n discouraged the Indian r u l e r s from attempting to check E n g l i s h expansion. At the same time the nature of the Bengal government was changing as the Mughal Empire d e c l i n e d . The Bengal Nawabs became i n c r e a s i n g l y independent of the Emperor at D e l h i . By the time A l i v a r d i died, i n 1756, Bengal was of the g r e a t e s t s i g n i f i c a n c e to the Company's trade and the Bengal govern-ment's r e l a t i o n s h i p with the Company was on the verge of a l t e r i n g q u i c k l y and d r a m a t i c a l l y , to the complete advantage of the E n g l i s h . Notes and References to Chapter Three 1. Anonymous, T r a n s a c t i o n s i n I n d i a from the Commencement  of the French War i n Seventeen Hundred and F i f t y S i x to the Con-c l u s i o n of the Late Peace i n Seventeen Hundred and E i g h t y Three: C o n t a i n i n g a H i s t o r y of the B r i t i s h I n t e r e s t s i n Indostan During  a P e r i o d Near T h i r t y Years (London: J . Debrett, 1786). p. 3. T h i s w r i t e r claims t h a t before the mid-eighteenth century the E n g l i s h i n Bengal and elsewhere, "much to t h e i r honour, had h a p p i l y and w i s e l y c o n c i l i a t e d the good o p i n i o n o f the n a t i v e s . T h e i r t r a f f i c was f a i r and t h e i r manners i r r e p r o a c h a b l e . Circumspect i n t h e i r i n t e r c o u r s e with I n d i a n s , punctual i n t h e i r payments and f a i t h f u l to t h e i r engagements they commanded r e s p e c t , and were t r e a t e d with confidence. 1 1 2. J . Talboys-Wheeler, E a r l y Records of B r i t i s h I n d i a : A H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h Settlements i n I n d i a ("London: Trubner and Co., 1878) p. 149. 3. S u s i l Chaudhuri, Trade and Commercial O r g a n i z a t i o n  i n Bengal 1650-1720 ( C a l c u t t a : Firma K. L. Mukhpadhyay, 1975), pp. 30-33. 4. Ibid.» PP. 33-35. 5. Robert Orme, A H i s t o r y of the M i l i t a r y T r a n s a c t i o n s  o f the B r i t i s h N a t i on i n Indostan from the Year 1745 v o l . I I (Madras: Pharoah and Co., 1861, f i r s t pub. 1803). p. 11. 6. Jadunath Sarkar, ed. The H i s t o r y of Bengal: Muslim P e r i o d 1200-1757 (Patnar Academica Asiatica,< 1973) p. 384. ~ 7. quoted i n S. Chaudhuri, Trade and Commercial Organ-i z a t i o n , p. 37. (60) 8. quoted i n N. C. Chaudhuri, C l i v e of I n d i a : A P o l i t i c a l  and P s y c h o l o g i c a l Essay (London: B a r r i e and Jenkins L t d . , 1975), pp. 40-41. 9. Orme, A H i s t o r y of the M i l i t a r y T r a n s a c t i o n s v o l . I I p. 15. See a l s o , F u r b e r , R i v a l 1 Empires, pp. 96-97. 10. Ramakrishna 'Mukherjee, The Rise and F a l l o f the  E a s t I n d i a Company, p. 254. 11. Bengal P u b l i c C o n s u l t a t i o n s (BPC), 30 December 1703, i n C. R. Wilson, ed. The E a r l y Annals of the E n g l i s h i n Bengal (London: W. Thacker and Co., 1895), v o l . I p. 222. BPC, January 1704, i n I b i d . , p. 225. 12. BPC, 31 October 1706, i n I b i d . , p. 277. BPC, 6 Novem-ber 1707, i n I b i d . , p. 291. BPC, 4 January 1713, i n I b i d . , v o l . I I p a r t I p. 97. BPC, 29 August 1713, i n I b i d . , v o l . I I p a r t I p. 138. 13. BPC, 20 October 1704, i n I b i d . , v o l . I p. 263. 14. BPC, 3 September 1709, i n I b i d . , pp. 319-320. 15. BPC, 1 December 1709, i n I b i d . , p. 324. 16. Sarkar, H i s t o r y of Bengal, pp. 405-406. 17. See C. R. Wilson, ed. The E a r l y Annals of the  E n g l i s h i n Bengal v o l . I I p a r t I I : The Surman Embassy "^Calcutta: A s i a t i c S o c i e t y , 1963, f i r s t pub. 1911) 18. Bhattacharya,' The East I n d i a Company, p. 29. 19. S. Chaudhuri, Trade and Commercial O r g a n i z a t i o n , pp. 42-43. 20. Abdul Karim, Murshid Q u l i Khan and H i s Times (Dacca: A s i a t i c S o c i e t y o f P a k i s t a n , 1963) p. 170. 21. I b i d . , p. 170. P r i o r to 1717 Mughal Bengal was r u l e d j o i n t l y by the Subahdar and Diwan. The Subahdar c o n t r o l l e d the nizamat, which was concerned with the maintenance of law and o r d e r , the l e a d e r s h i p and c o n t r o l of the m i l i t a r y , and the admin-i s t r a t i o n o f c r i m i n a l j u s t i c e . The Diwan was r e s p o n s i b l e f o r c i v i l j u s t i c e and the d i r e c t i o n of the f i n a n c e s and revenue of the subha; 22. Bhattacharya, The East I n d i a Company, pp. 38-39. 23. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 7. 24. See George Blyn, "Revenue A d m i n i s t r a t i o n of C a l c u t t a • i n the F i r s t H a l f of the Eighteenth Century," The Indian Economic and S o c i a l H i s t o r y Review 1 no. 4. ( A p r i l - J u n e , 19 64) (61) p. 266. 25. Karim, Murshid Q u l i Khan, pp. 171-172. 26. I b i d . , pp. 180-186. 27. I b i d . , pp. 187-188. 28. BPC, 22 January 1705, i n W i l s o n , E a r l y Annals v o l . I 29. Karim, Murshid Q u l i Khan, p. 189. 30. Bhattacharya, The East I n d i a Company, pp. 55-56. 31. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 7-8. 32. For a 'biographical study of A l i v a r d i Khan see K a l i k i n k a r Datta,' A l i v a r d i and H i s Times ( C a l c u t t a : The World Press P r i v a t e , 1963) 33. Bhattacharya, The East I n d i a Company, p. 75. 34. Furber, R i v a l Empires, p. 132. 35. A. Das Gupta, "Trade and P o l i t i c s i n E i g h t e e n t h Century I n d i a , " i n Islam and the Trade of A s i a , ed. D. S. Richards ( U n i v e r s i t y of P e n n s y l v a n i a Press, 1970), p. 200. 36. For example,see BPC, March 1748, i n J . Long, ed., S e l e c t i o n s from Unpublished Records of Government f o r the Years  1748-1767 (Calcutta:' Government of I n d i a , 1869), v o l . I pp. 4-5. A p r i l 1748, i n I b i d . , p. 6. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 10 August , i n I b i d . , p. 13. See a l s o , Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 24 February BPC, 1748 1748 (New D i r e 24 e Worl /49, F o r t W i l l i a m - I n d i a House Correspondence ed. K. K. Datta, D e l h i : Government of I n d i a , 1958-) v o l . I p. 335. Bengal to c t o r s , 4 February 1750/51, I b i d . , p. 475. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , ebruary 1750/51, I b i d , p. 495. K. N. Chaudhuri, The T r a d i n g d of A s i a , pp. 308-312. 37. Datta, A l i v a r d i , pp. 115-117. 38. Be I n d i a House v o l . Jugdea h a l t e d the presen t of Rs. 3, and the Naib was D i r e c t o r s , 18 Sep C o u n c i l at C a l c u t e x a c t i o n s of the with the Nawab. B pp. 736-737. ngal to Di I p. 548. Company's 000. The C f o r c e d to tember 175 t a complai chowkeys" ngal to D r e c t o r s , 2 January 1751/52, F o r t Wi11iam Less than a year l a t e r the Naib of trade there a l s o , and demanded a o u n c i l r e p o r t e d t h i s to the Nawab withdraw h i s demand. Bengal to 2, I b i d . , v o l . I p. 606. In 1753 the ned b i t t e r l y about the "extravagant and again lodged a formal complaint i r e c t o r s , 4 January 1754, I b i d . , v o l . I 39. BPC, 1 A p r i l 1755, Long, S e l e c t i o n s , p.. .56. 40. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 8 December 1'755, F o r t W i l l i a m  I n d i a House vo1. I p. 936. (62) 41. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 23 February 1756, I b i d . , v o l . I p. 988. 42. Datta, A l i v a r d i , pp. 125-127. (63) Chapter Four: The Indo-European Balance of Power: The D e c l i n e of the Mughals and the Ascent o f the B r i t i s h 1700-1756 The f a c t t h a t the E n g l i s h i n Bengal were d e a l i n g p r i -m a r i l y with the l i k e s o f A l i v a r d i Khan was due to the g r a d u a l de-c l i n e of the Mughal i m p e r i a l system and i t s replacement by a s e r i e s of r e l a t i v e l y independent s t a t e s o n l y n o m i n a l l y subordinate to the Emperor. More b r o a d l y Mughal d e c l i n e a l s o p r o v i d e d the context i n which the E n g l i s h Company co n f r o n t e d and e v e n t u a l l y defeated the i n c r e a s i n g l y independent s t a t e of Bengal and went on to con-quer much of the sub-continent. The d e c l i n e of the Mughals l e f t a power vacuum i n the sub-continent which l o c a l r u l e r s , the French, and the B r i t i s h , sought to f i l l . As l o c a l r u l e r s began to a s s e r t themselves more the Europeans g r a d u a l l y came to r e a l i z e t h a t I n d i a was no longer the domain of a powerful Mughal Emperor but was a multitude of country powers, paying homage, i n name onl y , to a s u c c e s s i o n of f e e b l e p r i n c e s who occupied the palace i n the i m p e r i a l c a p i t a l of D e l h i . As f a r as the B r i t i s h conquest of I n d i a as a whole i s concerned the Mughal d e c l i n e was c r u c i a l ; however, i n the e a r l y years of conquest, the 1740s to the 1770s, the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of the Indo-European balance of power came about i n Bengal and e l s e -where, more as a r e s u l t of the a r r i v a l of a s i g n i f i c a n t E n g l i s h m i l i t a r y f o r c e to f i g h t the French than because of the Mughal d e c l i n e . In r ecent years a number o f d i f f e r e n t t h e o r i e s have been developed by h i s t o r i a n s to e x p l a i n Mughal d e c l i n e . A p a r t i a l e x p l a n a t i o n has been found i n the p o l i c i e s f o l l o w e d by Emperor Aurangzeb. In the l a s t t h i r t y years of h i s r u l e he s u b j e c t e d (64) Mughal resources to Increasingly severe demands which led to grow-ing unrest i n the empire. After 1680 his introduction of various p o l i c i e s that discriminated against h i s subjects on the basis of r e l i g i o n led to a -rapid deterioration of relations between Muslims, and Hindus. Some hi s t o r i a n s argue that the r i f t between Hindus and Muslims that grew up under Aurangzeb undid the cohesion that had been developing since Akbar, threatening the very foundation of 2 Mughal rule. Other h i s t o r i a n s see decline i n terms of eighteenth century decadence and the erosion of the character and q u a l i t y of the Emperors and a r i s t o c r a t s who succeeded Aurangzeb. The size and influence of the harems i s said to have increased after 1707 and the Lesser Mughals developed a -greater interest i n luxury than t h e i r predecessors. However, i t has not yet been determined that the Great Mughals, l i v i n g i n the 1500s and 1600s, r e a l l y did have a -less luxurious l i f e s t y l e than the Lesser Mughals of the 3 eighteenth century. According to Satish Chandra,- of more importance than the personal habits and c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the Mughal rulers was the Empire's i n a b i l i t y to ensure the continued operation of the mansab and j a g i r system, which was c r u c i a l to the s t a b i l i t y of the Empire. Irfan Habib, however, has argued the exact opposite saying that the e f f e c t i v e operation of this system was, i n fact, the main cause of collapse. According to Habib, the demands of the j a g i r system resulted i n increasing pressure on the peasantry and 4 zamindars, which led i n turn to large scale reb e l l i o n s . Decline has also been attributed to the fact that the Mughal Empire was based on m i l i t a r y patronage and, as such, demanded (65) constant v i c t o r y i n the f i e l d i f the l o y a l t y of the m i l i t a r y and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e e l i t e was to be maintained. A f t e r s u f f e r i n g psycho-l o g i c a l l y from m i l i t a r y f a i l u r e s a g a i n s t the Maratfias i n the 1660s many nobles i n the Mughal system s t a r t e d to r e f l e c t on what t h e i r f u t u r e as p r o f e s s i o n a l s o l d i e r s w i t h i n the i m p e r i a l system would 5 be, thus p r e c i p i t a t i n g d e c l i n e . John Richards has shown that i n Golconda, which was annexed by the Mughals i n the 1680s, there was an u n w i l l i n g n e s s on the p a r t of the Deccani e l i t e to accept revenue assignments and thus a s s i m i l a t e i n t o the Mughal system. As a r e s u l t Golconda was never completely i n t e g r a t e d i n t o the em-p i r e and many of the revenue assignments were never used. R i c h a r d s ' s evidence lends s t r o n g support to Pearson's t h e s i s and undermines the argument t h a t the Empire's d e c l i n e was a r e s u l t of a n o b i l i t y weakened by a s c a r c i t y of revenue assignments. Some rec e n t work has a l s o sought to put the Mughal d e c l i n e i n a g l o b a l c o ntext. Hodgson, i n the t h i r d volume of h i s The Venture o f Is1am, emphasizes the e x t e r n a l f a c t o r s t hat l e d to Mughal d e c l i n e . He argues that i n the seventeenth and ei g h t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s a " t e c h n i c a l i s t i c s o c i a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n " o c c u r r e d i n Western Europe. T h i s development, which was founded on the p r a c t i c e of t e c h n i c a l improvement and the p u r s u i t o f f i n a n c i a l g a i n , launched an a s s a u l t on the I s l a m i c world i n the form of ener-7 g e t i c European m e r c a n t i l e expansion. A c c o r d i n g to Hodgson the c r e a t i v e e n e r g i e s o f the Is l a m i c world i n the eighteenth century were not any d i f f e r e n t from previous p e r i o d s during which I s l a m i c c i v i l i z a t i o n had f l o u r i s h e d . The e i g h t e e n t h century was a p e r i o d of d e c l i n e f o r the f o u r I s l a m i c empires (Mughal, Uzbek, S a f a v i d and Ottoman) p r i m a r i l y because the Europeans had d i v e r t e d the o v e r l a n d (66) trade of the Middle and Near East away from i t s t r a d i t i o n a l routes; had brought l a r g e amounts of b u l l i o n to A s i a , causing i n f l a t i o n ; and had captured and maintained a t e c h n i c a l l e a d over the I s l a m i c world. M. Athar A l i , l i k e Hodgson, l i n k s the Mughal d e c l i n e to the Europeans' d i v e r s i o n of A s i a n trade from t r a d i t i o n a l routes and markets. However, he goes on to argue that accompanying t h i s economic d e c l i n e there was a l s o a c u l t u r a l f a i l u r e i n Mughal I n d i a , and the e n t i r e I s l a m i c world i n the e i g h t e e n t h century, t h a t c o u l d not s u c c e s s f u l l y deal with both the i n t e r n a l , mainly a g r a r i a n problems, and the e x t e r n a l European t h r e a t . T h i s c u l t u r a l f a i l u r e served to swing the balance o f power to the advantage o f the Europeans long before a c t u a l conquest took p l a c e . A l i a l s o p o i n t s out t h a t the conquest i t s e l f was, of course, a cause as w e l l as an e f f e c t of Mughal d e c l i n e . The conquest of Bengal put acute economic pressure on the a l r e a d y f e e b l e Mughal Empire at the very moment when the sub-continent was extremely prone to fragmentation. By 1765, the conquest had a l t e r e d the Bengal economy and much of the Indian economy. Revenue from Bengal now accrued to the E n g l i s h Company 1 which used i t , i n l a r g e p a r t , to purchase Indian goods f o r export to Europe. By the l a t e e i g h t e e n t h century the E n g l i s h had fundamen-t a l l y a l t e r e d the trade routes of Bengal, B i h a r and the Coromandel and d i s l o c a t e d much of I n d i a n commerce, when the E n g l i s h moved up the Ganges and out i n t o the Deccan the d e c l i n e o f the Mughals only became more r a p i d . As a p r e c o n d i t i o n f o r the conquest of Bengal, Mughal d e c l i n e was l e s s important than the r a p i d i n f l u x of m i l i t a r y men and m a t e r i e l from Europe i n the 1740s. In f a c t , Mughal power over (67) Bengal had, as noted, a l r e a d y d e c l i n e d a b r u p t l y by the e a r l y e i g h t e e n t h century and was f i r s t r e p l a c e d , not by the B r i t i s h , but by s t r o n g independent Nawabs: Murshid Q u l i Khan and h i s s u c c e s s o r s . The Bengal Nawabs maintained r e l a t i v e peace, and u s i n g the e x i s t i n g Mughal s t r u c t u r e they brought a great deal of s t a b i l i t y to the 10 r e g i o n . Apart from the Maratha i n c u r s i o n s of the 1740s and 1750s, which c o n t r i b u t e d to the commercial c r i s i s o f the p e r i o d , and the short war with the B r i t i s h i n 1756-1757, Bengal came under B r i t i s h c o n t r o l with a past h i s t o r y o f r e l a t i v e peace, i n c o n t r a s t to other p a r t s o f the sub-continent. This was due not onl y to the q u a l i t y and s t r e n g t h of the Nawabs, but al s o to the Bengal zamindars. These zamindars combined the f u n c t i o n of government o f f i c i a l s and independent landowners. They procured the Nawab's revenue and i n many cases they had t h e i r own p r i v a t e armies and operated t h e i r 11 own customs houses. The most important zamindars were key a c t o r s i n Bengal p o l i t i c s , forming a l l i a n c e s with the v a r i o u s a s p i r a n t s to the Nawabship, and c o n s p i r i n g with the powerful Indian bankers and merchants and the European companies-. However, t h e i r ascendancy came to an end with B r i t i s h r u l e and t h e i r power d e c l i n e d s u b s t a n t i a l l y i n the second h a l f o f the ei g h t e e n t h century. Although many other p a r t s of I n d i a were s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d econom-i c a l l y by the t u r m o i l o f the ei g h t e e n t h century (the p r e v i o u s l y important commercial p o r t of Surat was almost e n t i r e l y r u i n e d i n t h i s p e r i o d ) i n Bengal the Nawabs and the zamindars and then the B r i t i s h p r e s e r v e d some semblance of law and order throughout the r e g i o n s t r e t c h i n g along the Ganges v a l l e y to Patna. I f i t had not been f o r t h i s r e l a t i v e s t a b i l i t y i t would have been impossible f o r Bengal to have been of such primary economic importance to the (68) E n g l i s h East I n d i a Company, nor c o u l d i t have pr o v i d e d the r i p e 13 ground f o r so many Englishmen to acquire p e r s o n a l f o r t u n e s . The Coromandel Coast, u n l i k e Bengal, was the scene of co n s i d e r a b l e t u r m o i l as the Mughal Empire d e c l i n e d . I t was here, on the Mughal Empire's ana r c h i c f r i n g e , that the E n g l i s h and French f i r s t e n t e r e d i n t o h o s t i l i t i e s and f i r s t became i n v o l v e d i n l o c a l p o l i t i c s . The French presence i n I n d i a was minimal u n t i l the e i g h t e e n t h century. Throughout the seventeenth century the French had formed and d i s s o l v e d a number of East I n d i a Companies, keeping them a f l o a t v i a r e o r g a n i z a t i o n , mergers, and l a r g e sums of 14 money from the King. The Compagnie des Indes, of the ei g h t e e n t h century, was formed i n 1719 and i t l a s t e d u n t i l 1769 when i t was a b o l i s h e d . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the French Company was always much more d i r e c t l y under the c o n t r o l o f the French government>than i t s E n g l i s h and Dutch c o u n t e r p a r t s . The Syndics o f the Company were appointed by the government and there was no groups, such as the E n g l i s h Court o f D i r e c t o r s or the Dutch Seventeen, who r u l e d the Company i n a t l e a s t p a r t i a l .independence of the government. As a r e s u l t , the French Company was much more an e x t e n s i o n o f the government 15 than was the E n g l i s h Company. The French e s t a b l i s h e d t h e i r f i r s t permanent f a c t o r y i n I n d i a a t Swally i n 1664, and by the beginning of the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y they were o p e r a t i n g i n the three areas where the E n g l i s h predominated, the west coast, Bengal,and the Coromandel. Ac c o r d i n g to many h i s t o r i a n s i t was on the Coromandel Coast that the B r i t i s h f i r s t l e a r n e d the s e c r e t of Indian conquest by, a t l e a s t i n p a r t , f o l l o w i n g the example set by Dupleix and the French. Wolpert d e s c r i b e s Madras as "an i n c u b a t i n g ground" (69) where the E n g l i s h Company's serv a n t s , f o l l o w i n g the French l e a d , l e a r n e d "to mix t h e i r q u i e t commercial a c t i v i t y with vi g o r o u s po-l i t i c a l involvement and t e r r i t o r i a l a c q u i s i t i o n on a l a r g e s c a l e . " By the 1740s the E n g l i s h servants on the Coromandel were j u s t as concerned to i n t e r v e n e i n p o l i t i c s as a means to economic g a i n f o r themselves p e r s o n a l l y , as f o r the Company. For Dupleix, attempts to make war and p o l i t i c a l i n t e r v e n t i o n pay were u l t i m a t e l y un-s u c c e s s f u l , nor d i d the E n g l i s h meet with u n q u a l i f i e d success i n the C a r n a t i c . I t was o n l y i n the r i c h r e g i o n of Bengal that the E n g l i s h Company's s e r v a n t s , i f not the Company, were able to reap t r u l y immense p r o f i t s . From the beginiiing^O-f^fchexeighteerith^Gentury the Company's Ind i a n p o l i c y , and i t s a t t i t u d e towards the French Company, had been based on a compromise between the Court of D i r e c t o r s , the o f f i c i a l s on the spot, the government i n B r i t a i n , and, l a t e r on, the heads of the B r i t i s h Navy and Army i n India.- The Court of D i r e c t o r s i n England worked i n c o n s u l t a t i o n with the B r i t i s h government and cooperated with both the A d m i r a l t y and, by the 1740s, with the War O f f i c e . The Company depended on the B r i t i s h government to renew i t s v a r i o u s p r i v i l e g e s and f o r n a v a l and m i l i t a r y support, while the government r e c e i v e d f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e , s u b s t a n t i a l -custom revenues, a s s i s t a n c e i n the t r a n s p o r t a t i o n of m i l i t a r y f o r c e s , a -supply of s a l t p e t r e , and a c e r t a i n amount o f l o y a l t y i n d o m e s t i c : - p o l i t i c s . Since the Company had sole p o s s e s s i o n of an important f a c e t of B r i t a i n ' s f o r e i g n trade i t was i n the govern-17 ment's best i n t e r e s t to a s s i s t and support the Court of D i r e c t o r s . In I n d i a -the Company's servants had i n t e r e s t s that d i d not always c o i n c i d e with those of the Company i t s e l f . F i r s t , they (70) almost a l l had p r i v a t e t r a d i n g operation, which, although depen-dent on the Company's resources often d i d not mesh with the best i n t e r e s t s of the Company i t s e l f . Second, they had f a m i l y and f a c -t i o n a l l o y a l t i e s w i t h i n the Company, r a t h e r than a l o y a l t y to 18 the Company as a whole. Also operating i n A s i a , o f t e n . i n con-j u n c t i o n with the Company's c i v i l employees, were the Company's m i l i t a r y commanders, as w e l l as the o f f i c e r s of the B r i t i s h Navy and B r i t i s h Army. The Company and Royal o f f i c e r s were oft e n as con-cerned with p r i v a t e gain as the c i v i l i a n employees of the Company. Men l i k e Captain Eyre Coote, Major K i l p a t r i c k , and Colonel Forde, a l l Company o f f i c e r s i n t h i s p e r i o d , were b a s i c a l l y adventurers, i n t e r e s t e d i n a c q u i r i n g a fortune by any means. Thomas G r i f f i n , a 'commander df the King's ships i n A s i a f o r a time, noted i n 1748 t h a t h i s squadron ought to be able to make s u b s t a n t i a l gains from c a p t u r i n g p r i z e s . The Governor of Portuguese Goa l a t e r described l c G r i f f i n ' s approach as "more l i k e a c r u e l p i r a t e than a g e n i a l a l l y . " By the 1740s the combination of Royal and Company f o r c e s and the Company's c i v i l establishment was powerful enough to push the Company towards an expansionist or "forward p o l i c y " . I n f l u -e n t i a l Army and Navy commanders sat alongside the Company's c i -v i l i a n servants on the Presidency C o u n c i l s at Fort S a i n t George and elsewhere. Although the o f f i c e r s of the King's and Company's forces were, l i k e the Company's c i v i l i a n employees, concerned w i t h the w e l l b e i n g of p r i v a t e and Company trade, of more importance to them was the p o s s i b i l i t y of a s u c c e s s f u l m i l i t a r y campaign wi t h i t s attendant economic and career b e n e f i t s . That i s not to say that the m i l i t a r y ' s plans were not i n f l u e n c e d by t h e i r l o y a l t y to the government and the Company, but the m i l i t a r y members of the Presidency (71) Council were often at odds with the non-military members ,-• whose paramount interest was their private trade. This divergence of interest, on occasion, actually served to stimulate expansion. An important instance of this was when Admiral Watson repeatedly re-fused to sign a neutrality agreement with the French in Bengal in 1757, something that most of the Company's c i v i l i a n employees and even Clive were willing to do. Because of Watson's unwillingness to sign the British attacked and captured the French fort at Chander nagore, bringing them closer to a position of paramountcy in Bengal. Between 1713 and the 1740s the English had, in fact, been on relatively good terms with their French and Dutch rivals, and this had allowed the Court of Directors to concern themselves with the pursuit of peaceful trade. The Directors in England were strongly opposed to the creation of a 'military establishment of 21 any significance in India.' As a result, the Company had to depend on the British government for military and naval backing in India • and Europe. The Company received support from the government to counter threats from other European powers, as in the case of 22 the Ostend Company, founded in the early eighteenth century. By the 1720s the British government had sent a squadron of King's ships to the Indian Ocean to protect the Company from pirates and after peace was restored in 1748 a British squadron was l e f t in 23 Asia 'to continue to protect the Company's trade from piracy. Thus Royal ships were now permanently available to strengthen the Company's position vis-a-^vis their French rivals and the local Nawabs. By the fourth decade of the eighteenth century the quantity and profit of the Company's trade and English private (72) trade i n India were f a l l i n g o f f . In Asia the Company had reached what K. N. Chaudhuri has described as equilibrium, being unable to expand further i f i t continued to adhere to the p o l i c i e s of 24 peaceful commerce (see pp. 15-16). Under these circumstances the English attitude towards the French began to change. In the eyes of the Court of Directors and the servants on the spot, t h i s commercial c r i s i s was a r e s u l t of the growing strength of the French Company's trade and French private trade. By the early 1740s French involvement i n the "country" trade out of Bengal was equal to that of the B r i t i s h . In 1742 the Council at Fort William claimed that the French were by f a r the biggest threat to private 25 English commerce i n Asia. 1 An opportunity to deal with the French arose i n 1744 when England entered the war of the Austrian Succession. Two years e a r l i e r the Syndics of the French East India Company had proposed that the East Indies remain neutral i f war broke out. However, the response of Harry Gough, Chairman of the English Company at the time, was not favourable. He was concerned with the general decline i n trade and saw the war as a ' C h a n c e to attack the vulnerable French shipping i n Asia.' War was declared i n March 1744 and the Court of Directors promptly proposed that the B r i t i s h government despatch a 'Squadron of King's ships to Asia.' The squadron, under Commodore Curtis Barnett, who had orders to conduct an1 a l l - o u t war against French shipping, arrived i n the Indian Ocean at the end of 1744. Barnett and the Company's o f f i c i a l s at Madras developed an' offensive plan that was as concerned with maintaining and furthering private commercial interests as i t was with the interests 2 6 of B r i t a i n and the Company. The Naval o f f i c e r s were also spurred (73) on, of course, by the thought of p r i z e money from the capture of 27 French ships. At the end of 1744 Dupleix, the French governor at Pondicherry, also proposed an Asian n e u t r a l i t y , but the n e g o t i a t i o n s soon broke down and the E n g l i s h and the French fought openly on the Coromandel f o r the next f o u r years. As f a r as the Court of D i r e c t o r s were concerned the Anglo-French r e l a t i o n s h i p i n I n d i a • 2£ had changed i r r e v o c a b l y and a more o f f e n s i v e approach was i n order. In 1749 news of the end of the war i n Europe a r r i v e d i n India, 1 and Madras, which had been captured i n 1746, was returned to the E n g l i s h . However, t h i s d i d not r e a l l y b r i n g an end to h o s t i l i t i e s i n the sub-continent. The Company's servants on the Coromandel Coast, having strengthened the Company's p o s i t i o n i n the area w i t h the formation of a l l i a n c e s w i t h Indian' r u l e r s , were more prepared than ever to continue the f i g h t against the French, although now i t was waged " u n o f f i c i a l l y and i n d i r e c t l y " under the pretense of 29 a s s i s t i n g l o c a l p r i n c e s . As a 'result of the war there were more European s o l d i e r s , a r t i l l e r y and m a t e r i e l i n I n d i a than' at any previous time. Never before had there been such a large number of w e l l t r a i n e d o f f i c e r s , i n c l u d i n g a -number of German and Swiss s o l d i e r s of fortune. This European i n f a n t r y was- a -great improvement over the motley crew the Companies had been using to guard t h e i r f a c t o r i e s p r i o r to the 1740s. In e a r l y 1749, when the E n g l i s h and the French were informed of peace i n Europe, there were no ships a v a i l a b l e to tr a n s p o r t there European s o l d i e r s back to Europe. That, however, was unimportant, since Charles F l o y e r , the E n g l i s h governor at Fort S a i n t David and Dupleix, at Pondicherry, had no desire to (74) weaken the i r respective m i l i t a r y positions and f u l l y intended to 30 keep the European troops i n India.' Between 1749 and 1763 the French and English generally remained evenly matched, i n terms 31 of European troop strength. Having the troops at t h e i r disposal the English Company's servants began' to use them to a s s i s t Indian' princes and further both personal and corporate in t e r e s t s . The leasing out of the Company1s,now large, m i l i t a r y establishment to l o c a l princes i n exchange for t e r r i t o r i a l revenue rights , or straight cash pay-ments, coincided well with the personal monetary interests of the Company's c i v i l i a n servants and the m i l i t a r y men's dreams of glory and fortune. Many a personal fortune had been l o s t with the f a l l of Madras and even after 1749 the "country" trade remained i n a r e l a t i v e l y depressed condition. However, the furnishing of troops for the use of l o c a l rulers allowed the English servants on the spot to recover some of their losses by the various contracts for barracks and f o r t i f i c a t i o n s and the provisioning and supplying 32 of the troops, as well as the i r transportation. In Ap£ll 1749 the English, under Stringer Lawrence, launched a campaign to re-gain the throne of Tan j ore for the Maratha 'Chieftain, Shahji, i n exchange for permission to establish a factory at Devicottal, and the grant of some Tanjorean t e r r i t o r y . The English were un-successful i n returning Shahji to his throne, but they did re-33 capture the port of Devicottal from h i s enemies. Dupleix also took advantage of h i s large m i l i t a r y establishment and the weakness of the l o c a l princes to continue h i s attempt to eject the English from the Carnatic and p r o f i t personally. By ea r l y 1751 the French had i n s t a l l e d Chanda 'Sahib (75) as Nawab' of Arcot and were rewarded with t e r r i t o r i a l grants that-l e f t the French with more than- twice as much t e r r i t o r y as before. Their next move was to place Salahat Jang on the throne at Hyderabad; however, they found that even after Salahat- Jang was safely on the throne they needed to maintain a substantial m i l i t a r y force under the Marquis de Bussy at Hyderabad. In fact, Bussy ended up spending 34 the next seven years i n the Deccanv Beginning i n May 1751 Chan-da -Sahib, with French a s s i s -tance, l a i d seige to Trichinopoly, home of the l o c a l Nawab, Muhammad A l i , also an aspirant to the Nawabship of Arcot. Muhammad AH; i n turn, received assistance from the English i n exchange for t e r r i t o r y i n the v i c i n i t y of Madras and a promise that the Nawab would cover the entire cost of the operation. In order to draw away some of Chan>da -Sahib1 s force from Trichinopoly the B r i t i s h made a diversionary attack on Arcot on 15 September 1751. Robert Clive along with 210 Europeans and 300 sepoys captured Arcot driving away- 3,000 of Chanda 'Sahib's men. As expected a large body of troops was despatched from Trichinopoly to t r y and recapture the f o r t at Arcot from C l i v e . Clive held the f o r t throughout October and Novem-ber of 1751, u n t i l the Marat-ha -alli e s of Muhammad A l i came to h i s assistance. In 1752 Clive continued to win a number of important v i c t o r i e s against the French and th e i r a l l i e s making a reputation for himself i n India -and i n Europe. Arcot represented the English Company's f i r s t real-success of arms i n the Indian sub-continent, bringing to a close a 'military reputation of f a i l u r e . After Arcot the French were en-t i r e l y on the defensive. This series of m i l i t a r y v i c t o r i e s follow-ing Arcot secured the Nawabship of Arcot for Muhammad A l i and (76) encouraged Dupleix to ask for peace negotiations. In 1753 an armistice was agreed to; however, i t was shortlived and before the end of 1753 the war was again underway. As the war continued i t became increasingly apparent that the English, because of the i r stronger trading p o s i t i o n , i n Bengal e s p e c i a l l y , had resources f a r greater than those available to the French. At the end of 1753 Dupleix, whose treasury was exhausted and whose a l l i e s were d i s -heartened, was?-superseded and he returned to France i n July 1754. At t h i s point the French and B r i t i s h i n India -agreed to a suspension of the unauthorized war i n southern India.-A side e f f e c t of the war i n the early 1750s was the Company's servants' continued p r o f i t e e r i n g on the supplying and o u t f i t t i n g of the English Company's army which seriously increased the Company's m i l i t a r y expenses. This led the l o c a l B r i t i s h o f f i c i a l s to demand more t e r r i t o r y from which to c o l l e c t revenue, thereby further undermining the independence of the Nawab of Arcot's government. The chief benefactors of thi s p r o f i t e e r i n g were Thomas Saunders and Robert Palk,both of whom had been governors of Madras, and, of course, Robert Clive and Major Stringer Lawrence. They a l l made substantia! sums for themselves and were able to d i -spense sinecures to r e l a t i v e s and friends. Clive i s reckoned to have 35 made /40,000 from h i s post as- v i c t u a l l e r . By 1756 the servants at Madras were generally ready and w i l l i n g to embark on further expansion for private p r o f i t . During the same period the French, under Dupleix u n t i l h i s departure i n 1754, also engaged i n flagrant: p r o f i t e e r i n g , as well as using the French Company's p r i v i l e g e s i n t h e i r private trade, and receiving j a g i r s and presents at an unprecedented rate. (77) Despite r i s i n g costs, the Court of Directors i n England continued to support the maintenance of a large m i l i t a r y force i n Madras as a bulwark against French aggression. For a time, i n the early 1750s, the Court of Directors had actually hoped to negotiate a n e u t r a l i t y agreement with the French Syndics and somehow restore t h e i r previous r e l a t i v e l y peaceful relationship i n India.' But, aft e r 1753, when negotiations for a new n e u t r a l i t y agreement f a i l e d , the Directors, more than ever, r e l i e d on a m i l i t a r y solution. Also, by t h i s time, a number of the Company's employees and government o f f i c e r s had returned to England, bringing with them dire c t ex-perience of the war i n the Carnatic. These returned veterans only served to further move the control of the Company's Indian p o l i c y out of the hands of the Directors i n Leadenhall Street. In 1753 both Robert Clive and Robert Orme arrived i n England and rapidly devel-oped close r e l a t i o n s with the more important members of the Court of Directors as well as with those p o l i t i c i a n s most involved with developments i n India. Clive and Orme were very i n f l u e n t i a l i n the evolution of the Company's Asian p o l i c y . Orme eventually returned to India as a member of the Madras Council and private agent of the Chairman of the Company. Clive went back to India i n 1755 as Governor of Fort Saint David. Another member of the "forward p o l i c y " lobby was Joseph Fowke, previously stationed at Madras and now also i n England. He was already an advisor to the Court of Directors i n the 1740s and between 1751 and 1754 he had unwaveringly recommended an 3 6 "aggressive anti-French p o l i c y . " At the end of 1754 the Court of Directors approached the government with a plan developed i n cooperation with Robert C l i v e . The Company's plan c a l l e d for further government assistance i n an •078) e f f o r t to combat the French Company. The Court of Directors and the government eventually agreed to form two land armies, both having powerful a r t i l l e r y complements, which, i n the event of war, would cooperate with a naval force to completely destroy the French m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c v presence i n India. The Company also hoped to gain the support of the Marathas and the t a c i t approval 37 of the Mughal Emperor, i f possible. In A p r i l 1755 Clive l e f t for India accompanied by a large contingent of royal a r t i l l e r y and between 300 and 400 King's s o l d i e r s . Prior to Clive' s departure, Admiral Watson and a squa-dron of King's ships had been sent to India, taking a B r i t i s h regiment with them. By the end of 1755 Clive and Watson had decided to embark on an operation on the west coast of India that can be regarded as the "dress-rehearsal" for the conquest of Bengal, e s p e c i a l l y the seige of Chandernagore i n March 1757. In December 1755, when Clive arrived at Bombay, he discovered that Thomas Saunders, the Company's governor at Fort Saint George, had con-cluded an armistice with Godehu, Dupleix's replacement at Pondicherry. Clive decided that since the anti-French operation was now postponed Watson andjhe could turn themselves to the pirate problem, spe-c i f i c a l l y the pirate c h i e f t a i n , Angria, who had plagued the west coast of India since the early years of the century. In the f i r s t months of 1756 plans for the campaign were formulated. The operation was conceived for two reasons, neither of which were a concern for the Company's in t e r e s t : f i r s t , because of the desire of the m i l i t a r y and naval o f f i c e r s for prize money and second, because of the preoccupation of the Company's employees with the elimination of the pirates as a threat to th e i r private commerce. This was made (79) clear when, i n a l e t t e r to C l i v e , Roger Drake, a member of the Court of Directors (1738-1758) and the father of the then Governor of Fort William, said "I congratulate you on the success against Angria from which the Company may i n time reap some benefit tho 1 at present the advantages seem to be wholly with the gentlemen that 3 8 shar'd the plunder." Admiral Watson and Colonel Clive were the major b e n e f i c i a r i e s of the capture of the pirate stronghold at Gheria and together they acquired some £120,000 to £130,000 i n 39 prize money of a t o t a l prize of £150,000. After vanquishing Angria, Clive departed for Fort Saint David as Deputy Governor and Admiral Watson made s a i l for Madras. The Anglo-French peace remained sh o r t - l i v e d and war again broke out i n Europe i n 1755, soon spreading to India. The English i n India were thus able to revive the plan to eliminate the French i n the sub-continent, by which time Watson and Clive were i n Bengal. The decline of the Mughal Empire and the Anglo-French war after 1740 formed the background for the conquest of Bengal. Mughal decline was due to a number of factors not the least of which was the stagnation of the t r a d i t i o n a l Asian overland trade routes when European maritime trading companies began taking over the Europe-to-Asia trade. The turmoil r e s u l t i n g from Mughal decline encouraged the French and the English to use the i r growing m i l i t a r y power to intervene i n Indian p o l i t i c s i n the Carnatic and by the time Fort William was captured, by the Nawab of Bengal in 1756, the English had a,.substantial ^ 'military establishment and at least ten years of experience i n p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y intervention. Furthermore, a pattern had been established in which the personal economic and career in t e r e s t s of the servants and m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r s (80) on the spot were often the moving force behind the Company's t e r r i t o r i a l and p o l i t i c a l expansion. Notes and References to Chapter Four 1. Marshall, " B r i t i s h Expansion i n India," p. 34. 2. For a discussion and analysis of t h i s view see M. Athar A l i , "The Eighteenth Century—An Interpretation," The Indian  H i s t o r i c a l Review 5 no. 1-2 (1978-1979): 175. 3. Ibid., p. 175. See Jagadish Narayan Sarkar, A Study  of Eighteenth Century India v o l . I_ P o l i t i c a l History 1707-1761 (Calcutta: B. Bhattacharjee at Saraswat Press, 1976). Jadunath Sarkar, F a l l of the Mughal Empire (Calcutta: M.C. Sarkar and Sons Private Ltd., 1964 3rd ed.) 4 vols. 4. A l i , "The Eighteenth Century," pp. 175-176. Satish Chandra, Parties and P o l i t i c s at the Mughal Court 1707-1740 (Aligarh, 1959) . Irfan Habib, Agrarian System of Mughal India 1556-1707 (Bombay, 1963). 5. Michael N. Pearson, "Shivaji and the Decline of the Mughal Empire," The Journal of Asian Studies 35, no. 2 (Feb 1976) See also,Richard B. Barnett, North India Between Empires: Awadh, The Mughals and the B r i t i s h , 1720-1801 (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1980), pp. 5-6. 6. John F. Richards, "The Imperial C r i s i s i n the Deccan," The Journal of Asian Studies 35 no. 2 (Feb. 1976): 237-256. See also Barnett North India Between Empires, pp. 5-6. 7. Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam v o l . I l l : The Gunpowder Empires and Modern Times (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1974), pp. 134-222. See also Barnett, North India  Between Empires, p. 4. 8. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam pp. 134-222. On i n f l a t i o n i n India see K. N. Chaudhuri "The Economic and Monetary Problem of European Trade with A s i a During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," The Journal of European Economic History 4 (1975): 323-358. He t e n t a t i v e l y concludes that there was some i n f l a t i o n i n India i n the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as far as the prices of Indian exports were concerned, but not in the case of domestic goods. See also Om Prakash, "Bullion for Goods: International Trade and the Economy of Early Eighteenth Century Bengal," The  Indian Economic and Social History Review 8 (1976) He supports Chaudhuri's contention that there was no i n f l a t i o n i n the prices of Indian domestic goods. ( 8 1 ) 9 . A l i , "The Ei g h t e e n t h Century," pp. 1 8 0 - 1 8 3 . See a l s o M. Athar A l i , "The Passing of Empire: The Mughal Case," Modern A s i a n S t u d i e s 9 no. 3 ( 1 9 7 5 ) 1 0 . Das Gupta, "Trade and P o l i t i c s i n Ei g h t e e n t h Century I n d i a " , p. 2 0 0 . See a l s o Sarkar, H i s t o r y o f Bengal, p. 3 9 7 . 1 1 . M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 2 9 - 3 1 . 1 2 . S h i r i n Akhtar, The Role of the Zamindars i n Bengal 1 7 0 7 - 1 7 7 2 Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , U n i v e r s i t y o f London ,, 1 9 7 3 . micro-f i l m copy on i n t e r l i b r a r y loan from the Center f o r Research L i b r a r i e s , pp. 2 8 7 - 2 9 0 . 1 3 . M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 3 2 - 3 3 . 1 4 . See S. P. Sen, The French i n I n d i a : F i r s t Establishment  and stT ' i i g o i p ( C a l c u t t a : U n i v e r s i t y o f C a l c u t t a , 1 9 4 7 ) and. The French i n I n d i a 176_3^J_ai6_ ( C a l c u t t a : F i r m a K . L. Mukhopadhyay, 19 5 8 ) 1 5 . Furber, R i v a l Empires, pp. 2 0 1 - 2 1 1 . 1 6 . S t a n l e y Wolpert, A New H i s t o r y o f I n d i a (New York: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 7 7 ) pp. 1 7 4 - 1 7 5 . See a l s o Dodwell, Dupleix and C l i v e , p. 8 3 . 1 7 . N i c h o l , The B r i t i s h i n I n d i a , pp. 6 - 8 . 1 8 . I b i d . , pp. 9 - 1 0 . 1 9 . quoted i n I b i d . , pp. 1 2 - 1 3 . 2 0 . I b i d . , pp. 1 3 - 1 6 . 2 1 . I b i d . , pp. 1 7 - 1 8 . See a l s o Parker, The D i r e c t o r s o f  the East I n d i a Company. 2 2 . See Furber, R i v a l Empires, pp. 2 1 9 - 2 2 6 , on the involvement o f Englishmen, most n o t a b l y Alexander Hume, i n the Ostend Company. 2 3 . N i c h o l , The B r i t i s h i n I n d i a , p. 1 8 . 2 4 . Chaudhuri, The Trading World of A s i a , p. 5 5 . 2 5 . N i c h o l , The - B r i t i s h i n I n d i a , pp. 2 1 - 2 2 . 2 6 . I b i d . , pp. 2 3 - 2 4 . 2 7 . Furber, R i v a l Empires, p. 1 5 0 . 2 8 . N i c h o l , The B r i t i s h i n I n d i a , pp. 2 7 - 2 8 . Cf. Parker, The D i r e c t o r s of the East I n d i a Company, pp. 4 5 0 - 4 5 1 , who c h a r a c t e r i z e s the Court of D i r e c t o r s as, even at t h i s stage, most r e l u c t a n t to r e s o r t to arms and conquest to ..counter the French. (82) 29. Furber, Rival Empires, p. 150. 30. Ibid., p. 150. 31. Gayl D. Ness and William Stahl, "Western Imperialist Armies i n Asia," Comparative Studies i n Society and History 19, no. 1 (January 1977): 8-9. 32. Nichol , The B r i t i s h i n India, pp. 29--30. 33. Furber , Rival Empires, p. 151. 34. Ibid., pp. 151-152. 35. Nichol , The B r i t i s h i n India, p. 31. 36. Ibid., pp. 31-33. 37. Ibid., pp. 33-34. 38. quoted i n Ibid., p. 36. 39. Ibid., p. 36. and " F i r s t Report from the ±- IT — >1 — - — — * - v v w i i v w v i ^ K i ^ f t-to. i.i_4. U W H U X U X « J l l ^ _L 1 / 1 1 C East India Company and of the B r i t i s h A f f a i r s i n the East Indies", presented 26 May 1772, Clive's testimony, i n House of Commons  Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth Century, ed. Sheila Lambert, (Wilmington Delaware: Scholarly Resources Inc. 1975) v o l . 135 p. 146. (83) Chapter Five: From Commerce to Conquest: Bengal in 1756-1757 The period between the death of A l i v a r d i Khan and the Battle of Plassey i n June 1757 was p i v o t a l for the B r i t i s h i n Bengal. During t h i s time Clive and the B r i t i s h went from being one of a number of equally powerful actors i n Bengal p o l i t i c s to being the central character and the power behind the throne. The Company's servants on the spot, i n t h e i r ascent to power, were spurred on, not only by a 'desire to protect the Company's in t e r e s t s , but just as importantly, by a desire to acquire personal fortunes through present-taking and private trade. When A l i v a r d i Khan died on 10 A p r i l 1756 he was suc-1 ceeded by his twenty-three year old grandson, Siraj-ud-daula, whom the old Afghan had been grooming as his replacement for a number of years. The French at Chandernagore, reporting t h i s event to t h e i r factory at Masulipatam, noted that Siraj-ud-daula "had succeeded to the subahdari without the s l i g h t e s t opposition, 2 contrary to our expectations." They had, i n fact, expected a "revolution" and t h e i r expectations would not remain u n f u l f i l l e d . Although Siraj-ud-daula became Nawab without any overt objections being raised he was f a r from a popular choice for Nawab. Ri v a l factions of Bengal's r u l i n g e l i t e had begun in t r i g u i n g to supersede him even before A l i v a r d i ' s death. Moreover the English East India Company was a party to t h i s i n trigue. Just before A l i v a r d i ' s death, Siraj-ud-daula complained, quite accurately, that the English were conspiring with Ghasiti Begum and her chief diwan, Rajah Rajballabh, who were at the head of one of the groups dedicated to 3 preventing Siraj—ud-d ula from assumi g the Nawabship. It i s (84) not surprising then, that the French anticipated a "revolution" as soon as A l i v a r d i died. However, t h e i r own demise i n Bengal would take place before the expected "revolution'Voccurre'.d. At t h i s time both the French and the English Company in Bengal were growing concerned about the disastrous state of t h e i r respective f o r t i f i c a t i o n s , e s p e c i a l l y since news from Europe indicated that there was a p o s s i b i l i t y of another Anglo-French war. War was, i n f a c t , declared on 18 May 1756, although the news did 4 not reach Bengal u n t i l 1757. But, long before the news of the war was received the English at Calcutta had begun to improve t h e i r f o r t i f i c a t i o n s at Fort William. This work on the f o r t , without the Nawab's permission, was used by Siraj-ud-daula as grounds for h i s attack and capture of Fort William and the Company's other ' -\ • 5 f a c t o r i e s , which occurred i n June 1756. The new Nawab also complained about the Company's continual abuse of i t s dastaks, a complaint that was e n t i r e l y j u s t i f i e d . Something that further angered Siraj-ud-daula was the fact that the Council at Calcutta had given protection to Krishna Ballabh, who was the son of Rajballabh, Ghasiti Begum's fellow conspirator. Krishna -Ballabh had come to Calcutta -when the Nawab ordered Rajballabh' s family arrested and t h e i r property confiscated.^ Siraj-ud-daula I s alleged by J. Z. Holwell to have been s p e c i f i c a l l y warned by A l i v a r d i , just before the old Nawab died, that he must watch the English very c l o s e l y . It may have been, i n part, because of t h i s warning that Siraj-ud-daula attacked Fort William, i n an e f f o r t to eliminate the English before they repeated i n Bengal what had happened to the l o c a l r u l e r s on the Coromandel Coast. Regardless of whether or not A l i v a r d i s p e c i f i c a l l y warned (85) Siraj-ud-daul a,' the young Nawab was aware of developments i n the C a r n a t i c and there i s l i t t l e doubt that,' although he was a much weaker and more v a c i l a t i n g Nawab than A l i v a r d i , he was determined to guard a g a i n s t E n g l i s h and French m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l i n t e r -v e n t i o n i n Bengal as best he c o u l d . The Nawab c l e a r l y had a number of l e g i t i m a t e complaints a g a i n s t the E n g l i s h . However, acc o r d i n g to W i l l i a m Watts, the c h i e f f a c t o r a t Kasimbazar, the f a l l o f F o r t W i l l i a m c o u l d have been avoided and was p r i m a r i l y due to the mismanagement o f the Bengal C o u n c i l . Watts argued t h a t S i r a j — u d - d a u l a would have 7 l e f t the E n g l i s h alone i f he had been given a b r i b e or p r e s e n t . Another servant, R i c h a r d Beecher, l a t e r supported Watt's view b a s i n g h i s o p i n i o n on the f a c t t h a t i n e i g h t e e n t h century I n d i a • no o f f i c i a l , h i g h or low, was immune to b r i b e r y . The Nawabs, and g even the Emperor, a l l had t h e i r p r i c e . A f t e r S i r a j — u d - d a u l a ' s capture of Calcutta,' the C o u n c i l and the s u r v i v i n g employees r e t r e a t e d down the H u g l i , took up q u a r t e r s aboard a sh i p anchored at Fulta,' and sent an urgent 9 request f o r help to F o r t S a i n t George. But help was a l r e a d y on the way. Major K i l p a t r i c k a r r i v e d a t the end of J u l y with 200 men, a reinforcement c o n s i d e r e d too small by the f r i g h t e n e d s u r v i v o r s 10 i n Bengal. The F o r t S a i n t George C o u n c i l soon decided to send C o l o n e l C l i v e to Bengal, along with more men. In the words of W i l l i a m Watts, who, because o f h i s c l o s e a s s o c i a t i o n with C l i v e , i s h a r d l y an o b j e c t i v e witness, C l i v e set out fOr Bengal " a f t e r performing wonders i n other p a r t s of the I n d i e s , " i n order "to 11 perform s t i l l g r e a t e r wonders." C l i v e too foresaw wonders. "I f l a t t e r myself t h a t t h i s e x p e d i t i o n w i l l not end with the r e t a k i n g (86) o f C a l c u t t a o n l y , " he t o l d the Secret Committee on 11 October 1756, "and t h a t the Company's e s t a t e i n these p a r t s w i l l be s e t t l e d i n a 12 b e t t e r and more l a s t i n g c o n d i t i o n than ever." C l i v e c l e a r l y i n -tended not o n l y to r e s t o r e the Company to i t s p r e v i o u s p o s i t i o n i n Bengal but to procure new advantages f o r the Company, not to mention h i m s e l f . With o n l y 900 Europeans and 1,500 sepoys C l i v e set s a i l f o r Madras on 16 October, i n f i v e t r a n s p o r t s h i p s , accompanied by A d m i r a l Watson and f i v e o f H i s Majesty's warships. I t was the worst time of year to make a voyage from Madras to Bengal and bad weather caused the squadron to be c a r r i e d o f f course to Burma. Yet the f a c t t h a t they undertook t h i s voyage i n such adverse c o n d i t i o n s r e i n f o r c e s the argument t h a t C l i v e ' s mind was made up: C a l c u t t a would be retaken and the Company's p o s i t i o n i n Bengal not o n l y r e s t o r e d but strengthened. On 15 December C l i v e and A d m i ral Watson and p a r t of the squadron anchored s a f e l y at F u l t a , but i t was not u n t i l Christmas Day t h a t the r e m a i n d e r . a r r i v e d , l e s s two s h i p s that had been f o r c e d to t u r n back to Madras. As a r e s u l t , C l i v e ' s campaign was d e p r i v e d o f approximately 430 sepoys and 250 European t r o o p s , as w e l l as most of the m i l i t a r y and a r t i l l e r y 13 s u p p l i e s . C l i v e had set out f o r Bengal at the wrong time of year, with a small and s h r i n k i n g f o r c e of men; under these c i r -cumstances i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to see why Strachey c h a r a c t e r i z e d t h i s e x p e d i t i o n as the "moment i n h i s t o r y when a daemonic w i l l 14 to conquer and to r u l e s e i z e d the B r i t i s h . " Even be f o r e the remainder of the squadron a r r i v e d at Fulta,- C l i v e and Watson, who had both been given •=seats on the Bengal C o u n c i l , wrote separate l e t t e r s to Siraj-ud-daula.' T h i s i s (87) evidence, i f n o t h i n g e l s e , o f the r i v a l r y t h a t e x i s t e d between the Company and Royal o f f i c e r s , a r i v a l r y t h a t i n C l i v e and Watson's case was to s u r f a c e r e g u l a r l y during the Bengal campaign. C l i v e and Watson impressed upon : the Nawab th a t they had a r r i v e d w i t h the b i g g e s t E n g l i s h m i l i t a r y f o r c e ever to be seen i n Bengal, and, t h a t i f S i r a j - u d - d a u l a wished to a v o i d war he must compensate the E n g l i s h f o r t h e i r l o s s e s and r e s t o r e the Company to i t s former 15 p o s i t i o n i n the p r o v i n c e . A f t e r f a i l i n g to r e c e i v e a r e p l y to t h e i r l e t t e r s C l i v e and Watson and t h e i r e x p e d i t i o n a r y f o r c e s a i l e d up the H u g l i on 27 December 1756. They soon captured two o f the Nawab's f o r t s and on the morning of 2 January C l i v e and h i s t r o o p s went ashore to march the remaining d i s t a n c e to F o r t W i l l i a m . A d m i r a l Watson continued u p r i v e r i n the Kent and the Tyger and to C l i v e ' s c h a g r i n r e c a p t u r e d F o r t W i l l i a m by noon before he c o u l d a r r i v e on the scene. C l i v e was q u i c k : t o complain about the a t t i t u d e of the Bengal C o u n c i l upon t h e i r reinstatement at F o r t W i l l i a m . A p p a r e n t l y the C o u n c i l members, who had a l l been r u i n e d f i n a n c i a l l y by the 17 capture of Calcutta,' regarded C l i v e and Watson simply as instruments to make good t h e i r p e r s o n a l l o s s e s . C l i v e complained t h a t "the l o s s of p r i v a t e p r o p e r t y , and the means o f r e c o v e r i n g i t , seem to be the 18 o n l y o b j e c t which takes up the a t t e n t i o n of the Bengal gentlemen." However, the C o u n c i l ' s a t t i t u d e was not a t y p i c a l and p e r s o n a l f i n a n -c i a l g a i n was, o f course, a major concern of C l i v e ' s and a l l the other Company se r v a n t s i n India.' About t h i s time news of the war i n Europe a r r i v e d i n Bengal prompting the S e l e c t Committee at F o r t W i l l i a m to seek an agreement of n e u t r a l i t y with the French i n Bengal f o r they ( 8 8 ) 19 f e a r e d a p o s s i b l e a l l i a n c e between the French and the Nawab. The French d i d not respond and C l i v e .: suspected that they d i d not possess the nece s s a r y a u t h o r i t y to n e g o t i a t e a t r e a t y o f n e u t r a l i t y . The E n g l i s h a l s o began to n e g o t i a t e a peace t r e a t y with S i r a j - u d - d a u l a . 1 However, at t h i s stage the Nawab, who pr o b a b l y f e l t he s t i l l possessed the upper hand m i l i t a r i l y , was u n w i l l i n g to come to terms. Instead of n e g o t i a t i n g he set out f o r C a l c u t t a with a l a r g e f o r c e , a r r i v i n g at H u g l i i n the l a s t days of January. Then, on 1 February, the Nawab changed h i s mind and wrote to C l i v e p r o -p o s i n g that he send an agent to d i s c u s s a settlement. C l i v e , r e -c e p t i v e to any o v e r t u r e , promised to send someone the next day. Ominously, however, S i r j a - u d - d a u l a a l s o t o l d C l i v e that h i s army had moved to a more s u i t a b l e camping s i t e , c l o s e r to C a l c u t t a , 21 but t h a t C l i v e should not be uneasy about the move. Luke S c r a f t o n , who e v e n t u a l l y became Resident at Mir J a f a r ' s durbar, and John Walsh, C l i v e ' s s e c r e t a r y , were giv e n an audience with the Nawab on the evening of 4 February. Nothing o f substance was d i s c u s s e d and the two dep u t i e s , a f t e r r e t i r i n g to t h e i r tent f o r the n i g h t , s l i p p e d from the Nawab's camp and r e j o i n e d C l i v e . They warned him that the Nawab was simply buying time i n order to move h i s men i n t o p l a c e f o r an a t t a c k on F o r t W i l l i a m the next day. C l i v e immediately r e s o l v e d to a t t a c k the Nawab f i r s t , which he d i d , marching r i g h t through S i r a j - u d - d a u l a ' s camp, emerging with l e s s than 200 dead and wounded on h i s s i d e 22 and l e a v i n g a t o t a l o f 1,300 o f the Nawab 1s men dead or wounded. C l i v e 1 s quick a c t i o n had the intended r e s u l t and on 9 23 February a t r e a t y was signed. However, the Nawab d i d not s i g n the t r e a t y simply as a r e s u l t o f C l i v e ' s a t t a c k on h i s camp. J u s t (89) a day or two before the t r e a t y was signed S i r a j - u d - d a u l a l e a r n e d t h a t the Afghans had taken D e l h i and they might soon be moving towards Bengal. I t was h i s combined f e a r o f the E n g l i s h and the 24 Afghans t h a t f o r c e d S i r a j - u d - d a u l a ' s hand. In the t r e a t y the Nawab agreed to r e s p e c t the farman of 1717, to allow a l l goods c a r r y i n g the E n g l i s h dastaks to t r a v e l duty f r e e , and to r e t u r n a l l the E n g l i s h f a c t o r i e s that had been s e i z e d , as w e l l as the money, belongings and merchandise taken from the Company and i t s s e r v a n t s . Furthermore, he allowed C a l c u t t a to be f o r t i f i e d at the Company's d i s c r e t i o n and gave i t the r i g h t 25 to c o i n i t s s i l v e r i n t o rupees. Wi t h i n days of the s i g n i n g o f the t r e a t y the S e l e c t Committee at F o r t W i l l i a m decided that i t had been too generous. I t thought t h a t the Company was i n a stro n g enough p o s i t i o n to d r i v e a harder b a r g a i n . Both C l i v e and Major K i l p a t r i c k d i s a g r e e d , however, b e l i e v i n g t h a t the Company's present m i l i t a r y s t r e n g t h was i n s u f f i c i e n t to support f u r t h e r demands. Moreover, C l i v e was needed on the Coromandel Coast, and to demand b e t t e r terms would simply endanger those b e n e f i t s a l r e a d y gained. R e l u c t a n t l y the S e l e c t Committee decided to abide by the t r e a t y as i t stood. However, $ +V,e i t i s c l e a r t h a t the a t i t u d e o f a t l e a s t some ofVCompany's o f f i c i a l s i n Bengal, a f t e r w i t n e s s i n g an e f f e c t i v e m i l i t a r y establishment i n a c t i o n , was to seek f u r t h e r economic advantages at the p o i n t of a gun. In mid-February Watts was appointed to S i r a j — u d - d a u l a ' s 27 durbar to i n s u r e the performance of the t r e a t y . When he l e f t f o r the Nawab's camp he took as h i s a s s i s t a n t Omichund, a C a l c u t t a merchant, a l r e a d y w e l l acquainted with the Nawab and h i s c o u r t . (90) Watts a r r i v e d at H u g l i on 17 February and sent Omichund to see Nandakumar, the f a u j d a r of H u g l i , to f i n d out, d i s c r e e t l y , what the Nawab's government would do i f the E n g l i s h attacked Chandernagore. The E n g l i s h were s t i l l w o r r i e d about the French since no t r e a t y with them had, as ye t , been made. Nandakumar informed Omichund t h a t he had r e c e i v e d o r d e r s from the Nawab to come to e i t h e r Company's a i d i f i t was a t t a c k e d by the other. But, at the same time, the Nawab had j u s t given the French a t Chandernagore a present o f a lakh of rupees. The Nawab c l e a r l y wanted to maintain the support of both the E n g l i s h and the French f o r as long as p o s s i b l e . However, Watts h i m s e l f regarded the l a k h o f rupees as a c l e a r " d e c l a r a t i o n i n favour of the French" and he immediately recommended that C l i v e a t t a c k Chandernagore. He gambled that the Nawab .would not, i n f a c t , l i f t a f i n g e r to help the French. N e v e r t h e l e s s C l i v e decided not to 2 8 take the r i s k and made no move at t h i s time. The E n g l i s h were s t i l l determined to take some a c t i o n to n e u t r a l i z e the French t h r e a t and on 18 February C l i v e brought h i s troops a c r o s s from C a l c u t t a to the west sid e o f the H u g l i R i v e r i n p r e p a r a t i o n f o r a march on Chandernagore. However, he had no i n t e n t i o n o f going any f u r t h e r u n t i l he r e c e i v e d S i r a j - u d - d a u l a ' s c o o p e r a t i o n . Although he had r e c e n t l y d e a l t a severe blow to S i r a j , C l i v e s t i l l wanted the Nawab's pe r m i s s i o n to a t t a c k the French, showing t h a t , a t t h i s stage,the E n g l i s h i n Bengal f e l t t h a t they were unable to d e a l m i l i t a r i l y with both the French and 29 the Nawab. The troops movment and the request f o r p e r m i s s i o n to a t t a c k Chandernagore prompted the French to q u i c k l y reopen neu-t r a l i t y n e g o t i a t i o n s , s i n c e any s o r t of a l l i a n c e between the Nawab and the E n g l i s h would q u i c k l y put an end to the French presence (91) i n Bengal. The E n g l i s h i n t u r n responded with apparent i n t e r e s t , 30 p r i m a r i l y out of a d e s i r e not to upset the Nawab who was, in:."fact, by no means ready to t u r n h i s back on the French. He had r e c e n t l y warned the E n g l i s h a g a i n s t molesting the French, and, at French encouragement, had a l s o accused the E n g l i s h o f p r e p a r i n g to a t t a c k 31 Murshidabad. Since the E n g l i s h , l i k e the other two p a r t i e s i n t h i s game of b l u f f and i n t r i g u e , d i d not f e e l s t r o n g enough to take on both of t h e i r a d v e r s a r i e s , they continued to n e g o t i a t e with the French. By 3 March i t appeared that a t r e a t y with them was imminent. However, a t the l a s t minute, Admiral Watson r e f u s e d to give h i s approval, so the E n g l i s h again asked the Nawab f o r p e r m i s s i o n 32 to a t t a c k Chandernagore. T h i s time, d e s p i t e S i r a j — u d - d a u l a 1 s / y vac Hating., nature, o r maybe because o f i t , Watts, by p l a y i n g on the Nawab 1s f e a r o f the Afghans and by b r i b i n g h i s f i r s t s e c r e t a r y , was able to get p e r m i s s i o n to attack: the French. By 23 March 33 Chandernagore had been captured. Given the Nawab 1s r e l u c t a n c e to lose the French as a counterweight to the E n g l i s h i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t , j u s t p r i o r to the f a l l o f Chandernagore, he suddenly changed h i s mind and informed C l i v e t h a t he would no longer look f a v o u r a b l y on the cap-ture of Chandernagore. Then, once the French had a c t u a l l y been 34 defeated, he sent a c o n g r a t u l a t o r y l e t t e r to C l i v e . Of course, h i s approval was not to be taken too s e r i o u s l y . He continued to encourage Law de L a u r i s t o n at h i s durbar, he soon brought French s o l d i e r s i n t o h i s army, and was al s o i n communication with Bussy i n the Deccan, a l l i n an e f f o r t to keep the French as a "counter-35 p o i s e " to the E n g l i s h . (92) C l i v e and Watson had o r i g i n a l l y been sent to Bengal to recapture F o r t W i l l i a m and the E n g l i s h f a c t o r i e s taken by S i r a j - u d -daula,' but by March 1757 they were able to take advantage of the outbreak of war i n Europe to e r a d i c a t e the French presence i n Bengal. C l i v e saw the commercial advantages i n e l i m i n a t i n g the Company's r i v a l 3 ^ and was q u i c k l y proved r i g h t f o r , when word of Chandernagore 1s f a l l reached England, Company stock rose 37 38 twelve percent, and the Court of D i r e c t o r s were d e l i g h t e d . The a t t a c k on Chandernagore was more than simply a d e f e n s i v e move to p r o t e c t the Company's e x i s t i n g i n t e r e s t s . I t was designed to d r i v e the French from Bengal i n order to improve the E n g l i s h Company's p o s i t i o n i n the r e g i o n . Undoubtedly the French would have done the same t h i n g given the o p p o r t u n i t y . Despite e f f o r t s to come to an agreement wi t h the French, C l i v e and the E n g l i s h i n Bengal never r u l e d out the p o s s i b i l i t y o f a t t a c k i n g Chandernagore. I f a n e u t r a l i t y agreement had been reached i t would have been f o r no other reason than m i l i t a r y expediency. Such an agreement would have o n l y postponed the E n g l i s h p l a n to e j e c t the French u n t i l such time as the E n g l i s h m i l i t a r y p o s i t i o n i n the province improved. I t must not be f o r g o t t e n t h a t C l i v e had r e t u r n e d to I n d i a i n 1755 as the author and executor of a p l a n to e l i m i n a t e the French p r e -39 sence everywhere i n the sub-continent. The f a l l of Chandernagore had s t i l l wider r a m i f i c a t i o n s f o r i t was a l s o a t u r n i n g p o i n t i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the Nawab,and the powerful Jagat Sheth. The Jagat Sheth and other members of the Bengal f i n a n c i a l e l i t e - w e r e the r e a l power i n Bengal, g i v i n g t h e i r l o y a l t y to whoever was w i l l i n g to pay the h i g h e s t i n -t e r e s t on loans and p r o v i d e them with the most help i n t h e i r com-(93) m e r c i a l a c t i v i t i e s . They had, i n f a c t , made l a r g e loans to the French and with the f a l l of Chandernagore the Jagat Sheth hoped t h a t S i r a j - u d - d a u l a would help the French to r e t a l i a t e a g a i n s t the E n g l i s h . The Nawab was s t i l l g i v i n g support to the French but he was q u i t e u n w i l l i n g to take a stand. T h i s , combined with S i r a j ' s contemptuous and i n s u l t i n g a t t i t u d e towards the Jagat Sheth, en-couraged the l a t t e r to form an a l l i a n c e with the E n g l i s h Company. 4 0 Soon a f t e r the f a l l o f Chandernagore a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of Mir J a f a r , with the backing o f the Jagat Sheth and the Diwan, Rai Durlabh, approached Watts with a scheme to b r i n g Mir J a f a r to the Nawab-s h i p . C l i v e was i n t e r e s t e d as Mir J a f a r was an important man i n 41 Bengal and would be a r e l a t i v e l y popular Nawab. By the b e g i n n i n g of May the F o r t W i l l i a m S e l e c t Com-mittee had l e a r n e d of Mir J a f a r ' s p r o p o s a l and decided that S i r a j -ud-daula was no longer r e l i a b l e , i f he ever had been. The Committee was convinced t h a t the Nawab would e v e n t u a l l y t u r n on the E n g l i s h and attempt to e j e c t them from Bengal. Furthermore, S i r a j - u d - d a u l a was so g e n e r a l l y unpopular t h a t a r e v o l u t i o n might be attempted whether the Company was i n v o l v e d or not: " i n t h i s case we t h i n k i t would be a g r e a t e r r o r i n p o l i t i c s to remain i d l e and uncon-42 cerned s p e c t a t o r s . " By i n v o l v i n g the Company i n the coup the C o u n c i l c o u l d more e a s i l y expand the Company's trade with Bengal 43 and i n s u r e the complete e l i m i n a t i o n of the French. Although the E n g l i s h i n Bengal were not contemplating empire at t h i s stage they were c l e a r l y concerned not only to defend e x i s t i n g economic i n -t e r e s t s , but to secure f u t u r e economic advantages. They were i n -t e n t upon f u l l y e x p l o i t i n g the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n a n d . t h e i r new m i l i t a r y power. (94) In mid-May the S e l e c t Committee at F o r t W i l l i a m drew up an agreement and sent i t to Watts f o r Mir J a f a r " s s i g n a t u r e . The Committee members, never ones to n e g l e c t t h e i r own p e r s o n a l needs, a l s o t o l d Watts to request p r e s e n t s amounting to twelve 44 l a k h s f o r the Committee and f o r t y lakhs f o r the Army and Navy. There were a l s o a number of other b r i b e s , or p r e s e n t s , agreed on and d i s t r i b u t e d to the Company's servants a f t e r Mir J a f a r became Nawab. Watts, a c c o r d i n g to R i c h a r d Beecher, wrote the Committee before P l a s s e y s a y i n g t h a t Mir J a f a r "would make some c o n s i d e r a t i o n to the Navy, Army and o t h e r s who should be i n s t r u m e n t a l i n pro-.. 45 moting h i s advancement." By " o t h e r s " Beecher understood Watts to mean h i m s e l f and a t l e a s t a l l the Company's servants at Murshi-dabad. Mir J a f a r s i g n e d the t r e a t y on 5 June 1757 and Watts i n -formed C l i v e t h a t as soon as i t was known at Murshidabad t h a t the E n g l i s h favoured Mir J a f a r most of the Nawab''s supporters would 46 d e s e r t him. Watts,along w i t h C o l l e t and Sykes, abandoned Murshidabad on the f o l l o w i n g evening on the p r e t e x t of going to do some hu n t i n g at Mandipur. As soon as Watts l e f t Murshidabad C l i v e wrote to S i r a j - u d - d a u l a c h a r g i n g him w i t h breaking the t r e a t y 47 and t e l l i n g him he intended to wait on him i n person. On the same day C l i v e and h i s army l e f t Chandernagore and headed up r i v e r . They a r r i v e d o p p o s i t e the Nawab's f o r t a t Cutwa on 19 June. The f o r t was vacated at the f i r s t s i g n of a t t a c k , l e a v i n g C l i v e i n c o n t r o l of the major waterway to Murshidabad. C l i v e then asked Mir J a f a r to j o i n the E n g l i s h s i d e at P l a s s e y , i f not b e f o r e , 48 adding t h a t he p r e f e r r e d "conquering by open f o r c e . " There was, as yet, no r e a l t r u s t between C l i v e and Mir J a f a r ( i n f a c t , Mir J a f a r had, j u s t aefew days b e f o r e , assured S i r a j - u d - d a u l a of h i s c o n t i n u i n g l o y a l t y ) . Mir J a f r r e p l i e d t h a t h  c o u l d not come over to the (95) E n g l i s h yet and t h a t he was marching f o r P l a s s e y on 20 June where he would take up a p o s i t i o n to the r i g h t or the l e f t of the Nawab's main army. At t h i s j u n c t u r e C l i v e r e f u s e d to c r o s s the r i v e r to the 49 P l a s s e y s i d e u n t i l he was more c e r t a i n o f Mir J a f a r ' s i n t e n t i o n s . For the next three days C l i v e and Mir J a f a r p l a y e d a • game of cat and mouse. Then, when i t was found t h a t the Nawab was a l r e a d y a t P l a s s e y , C l i v e informed Mir J a f a r t h a t he intended to 50 set out f o r P l a s s e y immediately. C l i v e ' s army had, i n f a c t , been 51 marching a l l day on the 22nd, re a c h i n g P l a s s e y at midnight. Next day, C l i v e with 1,100 Europeans and 2,000 sepoys backed by e i g h t six-pound cannons, prepared to do b a t t l e . They f a c e d 40,000 to 50,000 n a t i v e i n f a n t r y and 18,000 c a v a l r y , accompanied by f i f t y -5 2 three a r t i l l e r y p i e c e s of eighteen.and twenty-four pounds. As i s w e l l known C l i v e and h i s small army routed the young Mawab, while Mir J a f a r and h i s men stood by, coming to the a s s i s t a n c e of n e i t h e r s i d e . P l a s s e y was, as Panikkar has noted, l e s s a ' m i l i t a r y engagement than' a 'transaction "by which the compra-53 dores o f Bengal s o l d the Nawab to the East I n d i a Company." The b a t t l e i t s e l f was, i n one h i s t o r i a n ' s words, "the most 54 miserable s k i r m i s h ever to be c a l l e d a d e c i s i v e b a t t l e . " But C l i v e , given the s i z e of h i s f o r c e , was by no means sure o f success b e f o r e hand, e s p e c i a l l y s i n c e t h a t morning he was s t i l l u n c e r t a i n what Mir J a f a r might do. The b a t t l e was won p a r t l y by C l i v e 1 s d e t e r m i n a t i o n and h i s more d i s c i p l i n e d t r o o p s , but of e q u a l im-portance was the f a c t t h a t Siraj'-ud-daula l a c k e d the r e s o l u t i o n to f i g h t and many of h i s supporters, most n o t a b l y , of course, 55 Mir J a f a r , were d i s a f f e c t e d . Another f a c t o r t h a t c o n t r i b u t e d to S i r a j - u d - d a u l a ' i s d e f e a t was t h a t one o f h i s most t r u s t e d m i l i t a r y (96) commanders, Ramnarayan, had been f o r c e d to remain deployed along the north western border of Bihar. This was because of the danger represented by the Afghan Ahmad Shah' A b d a l i (Nadir Shah's successor) 56 who was p i l l a g i n g the country west of Bih a r . When Mir J a f a r a r r i v e d i n C l i v e ' s camp the day a f t e r P l a s s e y he was, not s u r p r i s i n g l y , u n c e r t a i n as to what h i s r e -ce p t i o n would be. He had not received any word from C l i v e since before the b a t t l e and he was w e l l aware th a t he had done nothing to a i d C l i v e d i r e c t l y . ,However, h i s worries were unfounded and when C l i v e greeted him he immediately h a i l e d him as the Nawab of Bengal. Mir J a f a r i n tu r n assured C l i v e that he had every i n t e n t i o n of a b i d i n g by t h e i r t r e a t y . A f t e r - t h i s meeting Mir J a f a r returned to Murshidabad, f o l l o w e d s h o r t l y by C l i v e , where, on 28 June, C l i v e 57 f o r m a l l y seated Mir J a f a r on h i s throne. Nov/ t h a t Mir J a f a r was Nawab i t was necessary t h a t he make good the promises of presents t h a t he had made before Plassey. The large p r i v a t e demands ex t r a c t e d from the Nawab's t r e a s u r y 5 8 by the Company's servants a f t e r Plassey, and \'• subsequent presents f o r which Plassey provided the precedent, have been described as the r u i n a t i o n of "the experiment of a sponsored Indian s t a t e " and a development th a t would u l t i m a t e l y '-'destroy the p r o s p e r i t y of Bengal, 59 and b r i n g the Company i t s e l f near to bankruptcy." The o f f i c e r s of the Army and Navy received f i f t y lakhs between them. The S e l e c t Committee r e c e i v e d seventeen lakhs of rupees, while the s i x members of the Fort W i l l i a m Council who were not on the Committee r e c e i v e d a l a k h each. C l i v e himself r e c e i v e d s i x t e e n lakhs, not i n c l u d i n g h i s share i n the Selec t Committee's present. W i l l i a m Watts was given e i g h t lakhs and John Walsh r e -(97) c e i v e d a ' " g i f t " o f f i v e l a k h s . Major Ki/patrick was presented with three or f o u r lakhs and Luke S c r a f t o n was g i v e n two l a k h s , not to mention numerous s m a l l e r p r e s e n t s given to other servants. I t was e v e n t u a l l y estimated by a 'Select Committee of the House o f Com-mons t h a t a ' t o t a l of j£l,238,575 was given out by Mir J a f a r i n 1757. The p r e s e n t s were u s u a l l y made i n the form of j e w e l r y or c o i n e d 6 0 money, h a l f immediately and the balance over three years. C l i v e ' s defense of the r e c e i p t of p r e s e n t s , which was r e l i e d on r e p e a t e d l y by him and o t h e r s , was that p r e s e n t - t a k i n g ought to be p e r m i t t e d i f the presents were given v o l u n t a r i l y f o r l e g i t i m a t e help p r o v i d e d during a servant's r e g u l a r d u t i e s . A l s o , the t a k i n g of the p r e s e n t s should not endanger the i n t e r e s t s of the Company i t s e l f . On the other hand, they should not be allowed, i f they were o b t a i n e d by c o e r c i o n , or i f the r e c e i p t of the present was dependent on anyone n e g l e c t i n g h i s duty to the Company. I t i s q u e s t i o n a b l e , however, i f the p r e s e n t - t a k i n g c o u l d be regarded as v o l u n t a r y given the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Mir J a f a r and the Company. The new Nawab was almost e n t i r e l y dependent on C l i v e and the Company's support to gain and r e t a i n h i s p o s i t i o n . Furthermore, there i s l i t t l e doubt that the sheer magnitude of the p r e s e n t - t a k i n g d i d , i n f a c t , help'.to j e o p a r d i z e the Company's own p o s i t i o n i n Bengal. C l i v e a l s o maintained that although these s u b s t a n t i a l p r e s e n t s would have been an-<3verwhel'mlhg-aincentive to b r i n g about a " r e v o l u t i o n " , he had r a i s e d Mir J a f a r to the Nawabship s o l e l y f o r the good of the Comp.any and B r i t a i n . And, as f a r as he was concerned the p r e s e n t s he r e c e i v e d were t o t a l l y u n s o l i c i t e d , a l b e i t j u s t i f i e d f o r the s e r v i c e s he had p e r f o r m e d . ^ (98) M a r s h a l l , at l e a s t , i s convinced that C l i v e was sincere i n c l a i m i n g that he helped to make Mir J a f a r Nawab simply because i f S i r a j - u d - d a u l a was not replaced the Company's trade would not prosper. C l i v e was n a t u r a l l y a party to the bargaining between Mir J a f a r and the Company; however, i n Marshall's view, he does not appear to have considered the sums f o r the presents and r e s t i t u t i o n s as of primary importance and was w i l l i n g to leave t h e i r determination to Mir J a f a r . Of course, given Mir J a f a r ' s dependence on the Company, he could not have determined the s i z e of the presents i n a t r u l y independent f a s h i o n , e s p e c i a l l y when, u n l i k e C l i v e , the other mem-bers o f " S e l e c t Committee at Fort W i l l i a m were very concerned about the presents and t h e i r s i z e . C l i v e admitted t h a t , despite h i s own a l l e g e d d i s i n t e r e d n e s s , he had had to pay close a t t e n t i o n to the Committee's demands because i f he had not he "should have found i t a d i f f i c u l t task to have executed the l a t e g l o r i o u s e x p e d i t i o n . " While i t may be inaccurate to accuse C l i v e of orche-s t r a t i n g the events of 1757 merely to secure a personal fortune, he was hardly t e l l i n g the t r u t h when he claimed that he had been given no guarantee as to the s i z e of the presents p r i o r to the 64 " r e v o l u t i o n " . C l i v e knew, once the s t i p u l a t i o n s of presents f o r the S e l e c t Committee and Army had been made, that h i s own p o r t i o n was very s u b s t a n t i a l . At the time of the " r e v o l u t i o n " C l i v e was w e l l aware that i t s s u c c e s s f u l outcome would b r i n g b e n e f i t s not only to the Company but to himself p e r s o n a l l y and t h i s must have f i g u r e d importantly i n h i s and the Council's d e c i s i o n to support Mir Jafar.° 5 I t was very c l e a r to Mir J a f a r that C l i v e was the "maker of h i s f o r t u n e a n d the presents were an important means (99) of p urchasing the c o n s i d e r a t i o n and p r o t e c t i o n of C l i v e and the B r i t i s h i n order to secure h i s f u t u r e . A c c o r d i n g to Majed Khan, Mir J a f a r ' s g r a t i t u d e soon became genuine a f f e c t i o n . C l i v e , i n r e -tu r n , soon addressed M i r J a f a r i n f i l i a l terms: "whenever I w r i t e your e x c e l l e n c y i t i s the same as i f I was w r i t i n g to my f a t h e r . Such regard and f r i e n d s h i p as a son has f o r h i s f a t h e r such have 6 8 I f o r your e x c e l l e n c y . " I t i s ve r y u n l i k e l y , however, that C l i v e was s i n c e r e i n e x p r e s s i n g such sentiments and there i s ample ev-dence to suggest that h i s o p i n i o n of Mir J a f a r was, i n f a c t , v e r y poor (see Chapter S i x pp.108-109). Sincere or not, t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p i s important i n i l -l u m i n a t i n g the Company's connection with the Bengal Nawabs i n the wake of the B a t t l e o f P l a s s e y . Mir J a f a r , i n In d i a n f a s h i o n , saw h i s government as a pe r s o n a l government, and h i s a t t i t u d e to C l i v e was p e r s o n a l . The Nawab saw h i m s e l f as having an o b l i g a t i o n to C l i v e p e r s o n a l l y , not to an a b s t r a c t i o n such as the Company. Mir J a f a r ' s g r a t i t u d e was d i r e c t e d at C l i v e , the man who had r a i s e d him to the Nawabship. The employees of the Company i n Bengal were aware o f t h i s and i t was f o r t h i s reason that the C o u n c i l decided, i n June 1758, to appoint C l i v e Governor, r a t h e r than have each C o u n c i l member serve i n t h a t post i n r o t a t i o n as the Court of D i r e c t o r s 69 had o r g i n a l l y decided. The Company i t s e l f r e c e i v e d one hundred lakhs a c c o r d i n g to the same p l a n as the p r i v a t e p r e s e n t s . The C a l c u t t a C o u n c i l was quick"' to assure the Court of D i r e c t o r s that f o r the next three years these payments would exceed the Company's investment needs i n Bengal and i t would t h e r e f o r e be Tnecessary f o r the Company to 70 send any b u l l i o n from Europe. C l i v e a l s o estimated that the (100) twenty-four pargannas south of C a l c u t t a , which t o t a l l e d 880 square m i l e s , and had been granted to the Company by Mir J a f a r , c o u l d r e -71 t u r n ten lakhs a year i n revenue f o r the Company. T h i s , however, proved to be an overestimate. Mir J a f a r a l s o had to give f i f t y lakhs to the p r i v a t e European merchants of C a l c u t t a and twenty lakhs to 72 the Hindu merchants. C l i v e gave Mir J a f a r ' s Diwan, Rai Durlabh, a commission of f i v e percent of the payments to the Company, since the payments were to be c a r r i e d out through h i s o f f i c e s . A l s o , the Jagat Sheth, who was owed seven lakhs by the French, was gi v e n a l l the goods i n the v a r i o u s French f a c t o r i e s and i f t h i s d i d not t o t a l 73 at l e a s t seven l a k h s the Company was to make up the d i f f e r e n c e . At the time o f h i s a c c e s s i o n to the Nawabship Mir J a f a r was assured by C l i v e t h a t the Company had no i n t e n t i o n o f c o n s t a n t l y i n t e r f e r i n g i n the government o f Bengal but would leave that en-t i r e l y i n h i s hands. As long as the Nawab's " a f f a i r s r e q u i r e d i t , we.were ready to keep the f i e l d , a f t e r which we should r e t u r n to C a l c u t t a and a t t e n d s o l e l y to commerce, which was our proper sphere 74 and our whole aim i n these p a r t s . " N. C. Chaudhuri has claimed t h a t t h i s i s a c l e a r statement of "the view taken of the conquest of Bengal by those who brought i t about." He argues that the B r i t i s h i n Bengal r i g h t a f t e r P l a s s e y "saw o n l y the s o l u t i o n of a commer-75 c i a l problem f o r the time being." At the same time Chaudhuri i g -nores the f a c t t h a t commerce i n I n d i a , and elsewhere, was i n e x t r i -c a b l y r e l a t e d to p o l i t i c s . The Company's serv a n t s , to preserve and improve t h e i r p r i v a t e i n t e r e s t s and the i n t e r e s t s o f the Company, had e x e r c i s e d s u b s t a n t i a l p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y power i n the C a r n a t i c si n c e the 1740s and now i n Bengal, and they c o u l d not simply r e t u r n to t h e i r former s t a t u s even i f they had wanted t o . (101) A l s o , the r a i s i n g of Mir J a f a r had proved i n c r e d i b l y l u c r a t i v e f o r the Company's s e r v a n t s , and at f i r s t s i g h t f o r the Company i t s e l f . C l i v e and the C a l c u t t a C o u n c i l were undoubtedly aware, as Chaudhuri i s not, that they c o u l d not simply " r e t u r n to C a l c u t t a and a t t e n d s o l e l y to commerce." T h i s was simply r h e t o r i c to please the new Nawab. A more accurate p i c t u r e of the Bengal C o u n c i l and C l i v e ' s view on vmatter can be had i n t h e i r request, l e s s than a month a f t e r P l a s s e y , to the Court of D i r e c t o r s to improve Bengal's m i l i t a r y e s t a b l i s h m e n t . The C o u n c i l argued that the p r e s e r v a t i o n of grants and p r i v i l e g e s a c q u i r e d by t h i s : : r e v o l u t i o n . . . can be done o n l y by keeping up a l a r g e body of troops i n the country. As i t i s i n the Company's i n t e r e s t to e x e r t themselves on t h i s occa-s i o n , we make no doubt you w i l l immediately e n l i s t and send out a r e s p e c t a b l e g a r r i s o n i n Bengal, which should c o n s i s t of a body of two thousand Europeans at l e a s t ; which expenses we t h i n k w i l l be o v e r p a i d by the advantages of our a c q u i s i t i o n s . . . . T h i s , we are of o p i n i o n , w i l l be the o n l y method of p r e v e n t i n g i n f u t u r e the encroachments of the country government, to make our f r i e n d s h i p and a l l i a n c e c o u r t e d , to c a r r y on our trade on the s e c u r e s t f o o t i n g , and to oppose the r e s e t t l e m e n t o f the French i n these p r o v i n c e s . n a The C o u n c i l i n Bengal was concerned, a f t e r P l a s s e y , with pro-t e c t i n g i t s p o s i t i o n , which had, i n i t s eyes, improved compared to p r e - P l a s s e y years. Since P l a s s y had not o n l y recovered the Company's pr e v i o u s advantages, but i n t r o d u c e d new ones, and s i n c e the r a l s o n d'etre o f the Company's servants and the Company i t s e l f was the constant p u r s u i t of economic gain the B r i t i s h i n Bengal were not going to r e t r e a t from t h e i r new found s t a t u s and (102) power and the new o p p o r t u n i t i e s that might open up. The Court of D i r e c t o r s i n London agreed to the C o u n c i l ' s request f o r more r e c r u i t s , although they were doub t f u l of t h e i r a b i l i t y to send 2,000 men. The Court a l s o o f f i c i a l l y appointed C l i v e Governor of F o r t W i l l i a m — h e was a l r e a d y Governor by l o c a l agreement. The Court hoped that as Governor, C l i v e would have the " o p p o r t u n i t y of s e c u r i n g the f o u n d a t i o n you have l a i d " and be s u c c e s s f u l " i n p u t t i n g the Company's m e r c a n t i l e and c i v i l a f f a i r s 77 on a proper and advantageous f o o t i n g . " The i m p l i c a t i o n here.again i s not o n l y t h a t ^ h e ? S^&any&s.-iexi.§*ing^©sl.fel^®ss^p^%b§rr,s©pnsgd, but t h a t "an advantageous f o o t i n g " , a p o s i t i o n from which f u r t h e r g a i n s can be made, should a l s o be e s t a b l i s h e d . The Court of D i r e c t o r s d i d not f o r e s e e , or want, empire, but they d i d d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y encourage t h e i r s e r v a n t s to engage i n m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l i n t e r v e n t i o n to c o u n t e r a c t the French and l o c a l r u l e r s . As f o r the servants on the spot, they h a r d l y needed t h i s encouragement, g i v e n t h e i r p e r s o n a l ambitions and t h e i r r e l a t i v e independence. In 1756-1757 C l i v e and h i s c o l l e a g u e s were a l r e a d y aware of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s t h a t were opening up, although they may have been somewhat s u r p r i s e d at how e a s i l y t h e i r v i c t o r y at P l a s s e y was accomplished. Two months a f t e r P l a s s e y , C l i v e claimed t h a t "those who b u i l d most upon m i l i t a r y successes c o u l d never have conceived the. p r e s e n t e x p e d i t i o n would have ended so g l o r i o u s l y f o r the Company.... t h i s f o r t u n a t e event...puts i t i n your power to be as great as you please i n the kingdom of Bengal. The sinews of war are i n your p o s s e s s i o n , and t h e i r wants nothing but s u p p l i e s o f men and m i l i t a r y s t o r e s to keep up your i n f l u e n c e and preserve 7 8 a l l your p r i v i l e g e s and a c q u i s i t i o n s . " C l i v e was aware t h a t (103) the Company was i n a p o s i t i o n to be, or a l r e a d y was, the p r e -eminent p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y i n f l u e n c e i n Bengal and, although the Court of D i r e c t o r s may have been r e l u c t a n t at times, he.obvious-l y saw i n c r e a s i n g p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y i n t e r v e n t i o n as "worth the e f f o r t . " Notes and References to Chapter Fi v e 1. For a r e c e n t biography of S i r a j - u d - d a u l a see K a l i k i n k a r Datta,« S i r a j - u d - d a u l a (London: Longman Group Ltd.., 1971). For a study o f h i s r e l a t i o n s with the E n g l i s h a f t e r he became Nawab see B r i j e h K. Gupta, S i r a j - u d d a u l a h and the East I n d i a Company  1757-1757: Background to the Foundation of B r i t i s h Power i n I n d i a ( L e i d e n , Netherlands: E. J . B r i l l , 1966) 2. Chandernagore to Masulipatam, 26 A p r i l 1756, i n S. C. H i l l ed., Bengal i n 1756-1757: A S e l e c t i o n of the P u b l i c  and P r i v a t e Papers D e a l i n g With the A f f a i r s of the B r i t i s h im-sr BengalIDuring the Reign of S i r a j - u d - d a u l a (London: John Murray, 1905), v o l . I p. 1. 3. G h a s i t i Begum was A l i v a r d i ' s e l d e s t daughter and the widow of Shahamat Jang, A l i v a r d i ' s nephew. Shahamat Jagg had d i e d i n December 1755. D a t ta, S i r a j - u d - d a u l a , p . 10. 4. D i r e c t o r s to Bengal, 29 December 1756, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House,vo1. I p. 171. 5. Watts, C o l l e t and Batson to C o u n c i l , F o r t W i l l i a m , 25 May 1756, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757 v o l . I p. 2. See a l s o " F i r s t Report", John Cooke's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed. v o l . 135, pp. 140-141. and Gupta, S i r a j u d d a u l a h and the East  I n d i a Company, p. 82. 6. Datta, S i r a j - u d - d a u l a h , p. 13. 7. Watts and C o l l e t to C o u n c i l , F o r t S a i n t George, 2 J u l y 1756, H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757, pp. 45-48. Watts and C o l l e t to D i r e c t o r s , 16 J u l y 1756, F o r t William-India;-: House v o l . I p. 1012. See a l s o Watts and C o l l e t to D i r e c t o r s , 17 J u l y 1756, I b i d . , v o l . I p. 1026. 8. " F i r s t Report," R i c h a r d Beecher's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed. v o l . 135, p. 139. See a l s o Gupta, S i r a j u d d a u l a h and the East I n d i a Company, pp. 56-57. 9. C o u n c i l at F u l t a to C o u n c i l , F o r t S a i n t George, 13 J u l y 1756, H i l l , Bengal i n 17-56-1757 v o l . I p. 71. (104) 10. C o u n c i l at F u l t a to C o u n c i l , F o r t S a i n t George, 18 August 1756, I b i d . , v o l . I p. 197. 11. W i l l i a m Watts (pseudonym John Campbell), Memoirs of the Re v o l u t i o n i n Bengal Anno. Pom. 1757 (London: A. M i l l a r , 1760y~ p. 17. 12. C l i v e to Secret Committee, London, 11 October 1756, H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757 v o l . I pp. 232-233. 13. I b i d . , v o l . I p. c x x v i i . See a l s o Wolpert, A New  H i s t o r y of I n d i a , p. 180. 14. Strachey, The End of Empire, p. 23. 15. Watson to Nawab, 17 December 1756, H i l l , Bengal i n  1756-1757, v o l . I I pp. 70-71. C l i v e to Nawab, 16-17 December 1756, I b i d . , v o l . II p. 71. 16. I b i d . , v o l . I. pp. c x x x i - c x x x i i i . 17. " F i r s t Report", John Cooke's testimony, House of  Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135. p. 144. 18. H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757, p. c x x x i i i . 19. S e l e c t Committee Proceedings, F o r t W i l l i a m , 7 January 1757, i n I b i d . , v o l . I I p. 88. 20. C l i v e to D i r e c t o r s , 1 February 1757, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House v o l . II p. 197. 21. Nawab to C l i v e , 1 February 1757, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . I I p. 208. C l i v e to Nawab, 3 February 1757, I b i d . , v o l . II p. 208. Nawab to C l i v e , 3 February 1757, I b i d . , p. 209. 22. C l i v e to D i r e c t o r s , 22 February 1757, F o r t WiHiam-I n d i a House, v o l . II p. 200. 23. C l i v e to D i r e c t o r s , 22 February 1757, I b i d . , v o l . I I , p. 200. 24. Spear, I n d i a , pp. 196-197. 25. Orme, A H i s t o r y of the M i l i t a r y T r a n s a c t i o n s , v o l . II pp. 135-136. See a l s o C l i v e to D i r e c t o r s , 22 February 1757, F o r t  W i l l i a m - I n d i a House, v o l . II p. 201. 26. C l i v e a n d K i l p a t r i c k to S e l e c t Committee, F o r t W i l l i a m , 12 February 1757, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . II pp. 222-223. 27.Select Committee For t W i l l i a m to watts, 16 February 1757, I b i d . , V Q l > 1 X p p > 2 2 5 _ 2 2 7 -28. Watts, Memoirs, pp. 32-33. (105) 29. Mason (pseudonym Woodruff), Men Who Ruled India, v o l . I p. 98. 30. Bengal to Directors, 22 February 1757, Fort WiHiam-India House, v o l . II p. 203. 31. H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . I p. clx. 32. Bengal to Directors, 26 March 1757, Fort Wi11iam-India House, v o l . II pp. 211-212. 33. Mason (pseudonym Woodruff) Men Who Ruled India, v o l . I p. 98. 34. Ram Gopal, How the B r i t i s h Occupied Bengal: A Corrected Account of the 1756-1765 Events (London: Asia Publishing House, 1963), p. 179. 35. Mason (pseudonym Woodruff), Men Who Ruled India, v o l . I p. 99. 36. Cliv e to Directors, 16 A p r i l 1757, Long Selections, p. 91. 37. H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . I p. clxx i v . 38. Directors to Bengal, 3 March 1758, Fort William-India House, v o l . II p. 63. 39. Nichol, The B r i t i s h i n India, pp. 33-34, 40. K. M. Panikkar, Asia and Western Dominance: A Survey  of the Vasco Da Gama Epoch of Asian History (London: George A l l e n and Unwin Ltd., 1953), pp. 99-100. 41. Orme, A History of the M i l i t a r y Transactions, v o l . II pp. 148-149. 42. Select Committee Proceedings, Fort William, 1 May 1757, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757 v o l . II pp. 370-371. 43. Bengal to Directors, 14 July 1757, Fort Wi11iam-India House, v o l . II p. 226. 44. Proceedings of the Select Committee, Fort William, 17 May 1757, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . II p. 383. 45. " F i r s t Report", Richard Beecher's testimony, House  of Commons Papers, Lambert ed. v o l . 135 p. 145. 46. Watts to Cli v e , 11 June 1757, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . II p. 404. 47. Clive to Nawab, 13 June 1757, Ibid., v o l . II p. 407. (106) 48. Clive to Mir Jafar, 19 June 1757, Ibid., v o l . II p. 417. 49. Clive to Select Committee, Fort William, 19 June 1757, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 417-418. 50. Clive to Mir Jafar, 22 June 1757, Ibid., v o l . II p. 421. 51. " F i r s t Report", Clive's testimony, House of Commons  Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 155. 52. P h i l i p Mason, A Matter of Honour: An Account of the  Indian Army Its O f f i c e r s and Men (New York: Penguin Books, 1974), p. 82. 53. Panikkar, Asia and Western Dominance, p. 100. This point was re i t e r a t e d most recently by L. S. Stavrianos, Global  R i f t : The Third World Comes of Age (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1981), p. 233. 54. Mason-.-(pseudonym Woodruff) Men Who Ruled India v o l . I p. 100. 55. Mason, A Matter of Honour, pp. 82-83. See also " F i r s t Report", Clive's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 155. 56. Gupta, Sirajuddaulah and the East India Company, p. 25. Nichol, The B r i t i s h i n India, p. 41. For a more detailed account of the battle see Michael Edwardes, Plassey: The Founding of An Empire, (London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1969), pp. 130-143. or Michael Edwardes, The Battle of Plassey and the Conquest of Bengal (London: B. T. Batsford, 1963), pp. 134-152. For Clive's account see H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . I l l pp. 433-436 and pp. 427-428 and pp. 440-441. For Eyre Coote 1s account see Ibid., v o l . I l l pp.•55-56. See also, Gayl D. Ness and William Stahl "Western Imperialist Armies i n Asia" e s p e c i a l l y p. 9. and P. Sensarma, The M i l i t a r y History of Bengal""(Calcutta: Naya Prakash, 1977), pp. 193-203. 57. H i l l , Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . I pp. c c i - c c i i . 58. The treasury was allegedly found to contain 150 lakhs. Bengal to Directors, 26 July 1757, Fort William-India House v o l . II p. 233. See also " F i r s t Report", Clive's testimony, House  of Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135. p. 155. 59. Spear, India, p. 198. For a recent discussion and reconsideration of the "drain of wealth" thesis see Marshall, East  Indian Fortunes, pp. 261-271. 60. Marshall, East Indian Fo'r tunes, p. 165. See also " F i r s t Report", Clive's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed. v o l . 135. p. 150. (107) 61. " F i r s t Report", Olive's testimony, House of Commons  Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 148. See also Marshall, East Indian  Fortunes, p. 166. 62. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, p. 166. 63. quoted i n Ibid., p. 166. 64. " F i r s t Report", Clive's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 147. 65. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, p. 167. 66. Abdul Majed Khan, The Transition i n Bengal 1756-1775: A Study of Saiyid Muhammad Reza Khan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969) p. 9. See also " F i r s t Report", Syke 1s testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 154. 67. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, p. 163. 68. Majed Khan, The Transition i n Bengal, p. 10. 69. Ibid., p. 10. 70. Bengal to Directors, 14 July 1757, Fort William-India House, v o l . II pp. 229-230. 71. Clive to Directors, 26 July 1757, Ibid., p. 233. 72. Clive to Select Committee, Fort William, 2 July 1757, H i l l Bengal i n 1756-1757, v o l . II p. 444. 73. Clive to Select Committee, Fort William, 30 June 1757, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 437-438. 74. Clive to Select Committee, Fort William, 30 June 1757, Ibid., pp. 437-438. 75. N. C. Chaudhuri, Clive of India, p. 237. ° 76. Bengal to Directors, 14 July 1757, Fort William-India House, v o l . II p. 228. 77. Directors to Bengal, 8 March 1758, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 99-105. 78. Bengal to Directors, 22 August 1757, Ibid., p. 250. (108) Chapter Six: C l i v e ' s F i r s t Governorship June 1758-January 1760 Clive was appointed Governor of the Presidency of Fort William on 26 June 1758 and remained i n that o f f i c e u n t i l January 1760. During the one and a half years of his governorship the Company gained pre-eminent influence and power over the Nawab of Bengal and his government. The Company, more than ever before, took on a p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y role as well as a commercial one i n order to better insure that the Nawab meet the demands of the Company and i t s servants. A res u l t of the Company's new m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l role was, of course, the acqui s i t i o n by the Company servants, of large amounts of money i n the form of presents or bribes. The Company's servants also took advantage of the Company po s i t i o n to tremendously expand their private^trade and more than ever abuse th e i r trading p r i v i l e g e s , to the consternation of the Nawab and his o f f i c i a l s . And the expansion of private trade and present-taking only got even more out of hand after Clive l e f t i n 1760. Thus, the declared hope that the Company would be able to return to i t s former status of a mere trading organization did not come to pass. It i s highly improbable, however, that Clive and h i s colleagues a c t u a l l y believed that such a return was pos-s i b l e , or that they ever seriously considered i t . The personal economic advantages that developed for the Company's servants i n India as a r e s u l t of the Company's p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y power had, since the 1740s at least, provided s u f f i c i e n t reason for the servants on the spot to continue to engage i n sub-imperialism, expanding their ' s and the Company's influence whenever possible. (109) Five months before h i s o f f i c i a l appointment, and a mere six months afte r Plassey, Clive was already having doubts about the s u i t a b i l i t y of the Company's new Nawab. On 23 December 1757 he complained that Mir Jafar " i s a prince of l i t t l e capacity and not at a l l blessed with the talent of gaining the love and con-fidence of his p r i n c i p a l o f f i c e r s . " Three rebellions occurred i n Bengal shortly a f t e r Mir Jafar's accession, since, despite the support he got from the Company and the Jagat Sheth, there were many in Bengal who were i n i t i a l l y opposed to Mir J a f a r 1 s Nawabship. However, according to C l i v e , the r i s i n g s i n Midnapur, Purnea,and under Ramnarayan, the Naib of Patna, were a dir e c t result of 1 Mir Jafar's rashness. Fortunately, the s i t u a t i o n was not p a r t i c -u l a r l y serious and C l i v e , with some assistance from Mir Jafar, was able to put down the rebels i n short order. By the end of 1757 Clive was also concerned about over-due treaty.payments. Every request for payment was attended with delays and he suspected t h i s would only get worse as Mir Jafar's power increased and the Company became "less necessary." This, of course, never happened. Clive intended to bring as much pressure to bear as was necessary to insure that the outstanding money was paid. He was determined to obtain tuncaws on d i s t r i c t s near Calcutta equal to the money due by treaty. The Nawab had already agreed to t h i s arrangement i n p r i n c i p l e and although the Jagat Sheth had objected at f i r s t , because he himself was already re-ceiving payments from the Nawab using t h i s method, he was per-suaded by the English to agree. Clive thought the Diwan,Rai Durlabh, might also be opposed to such an arrangement, as i t would undermine hi s importance to the Company. However, given the Company's i n -(110) fluence, Clive was confident that Rai Durlabh could, l i k e Jagat Sheth, be persuaded to comply, i f he was made aware that to do 2 otherwise would lose him the support and friendship of the Company. Before the end of the year Mir Jafar and Rai Durlabh had, with a minimum of opposition, signed over twelve and a h a l f lakhs in treasury orders on the Murshidabad treasury to Colonel C l i v e , as well as tuncaws due on the faujdar of Hugli and on the Rajahs of Krishnagar and Burdwan t o t a l l i n g ten and a h a l f lakhs. Also, tuncaws on the same three d i s t r i c t s , t o t a l l i n g nineteen lakhs, were given to the Company to cover the sum which would come due 3 as of A p r i l 1758. The Company also received the o f f i c i a l patents 4 for the lands south of Calcutta, where i t was now zamindar. At t h i s time Mir Jafar also made i t known that he wanted to replace Ramnarayan, Naib of Patna, with one of his own supporters, because of Ramnarayan1s role i n the recent r e b e l l i o n . The Nawab asked Clive to a s s i s t him i n t h i s task, but Clive was w i l l i n g only to mediate between the two and had no intention of taking troops into the f i e l d to oust the Naib. Clive prefered to maintain Ramnarayan, rather than drive him out of his post since i t was expected that at the f i r s t sign of h o s t i l i t y Ramnarayan would enter into an a l l i a n c e with Shuja-ud-daula of Oudh, a s i t u a t i o n that would only threaten the s t a b i l i t y of Bengal. The fact that, despite h i s own wishes Mir Jafar deferred to Clive, showed where the r e a l power now lay i n Bengal. A meeting between Mir Jafar and Ramnarayan was arranged under Clive's auspices and a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n was reached. 5 Clive and the rest of the Council at Fort William knew that t h e i r new power gave them de facto control of Bengal and the (111) maintenance and reinforcement of this power became the i r constant preoccupation. They understood the important relationship between p o l i t i c a l influence and superior m i l i t a r y strength. The Council showed th i s i n several l e t t e r s to London, i n which they also worried about the danger of a renewed French attack. They asserted that the Company's influence could not be maintained without s u f f i c i e n t m i l i t a r y strength, constantly reinforced. They feared a resurgence of French strength and repeatedly urged the Directors to take a l l necessary steps to preserve the B r i t i s h p o sition in Bengal, empha-7 s i z i n g the need for well-armed and well-equipped troops from Europe. The enhancement of the Company's m i l i t a r y and thus i t s p o l i t i c a l influence i n India,- and the attendant economic benefits, both corporate and personal, were uppermost i n the minds of the members of the Fort William Council. The advantages which flowed from the Company's m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l power and the central role now played by the English i n Bengal were displayed dramatically i n March 1758 when Clive procured for the Company a monopoly of the purchase of saltpetre in Bihar. In exchange, the English had to pay Mir Jafar a mere Rs. 15,000 a year. This extraordinary concession r e f l e c t e d Mir Jafar's increasingly feeble p o l i t i c a l position, already demonstrated by the rebellions and h i s continued dependence on the Company Q for m i l i t a r y support. After obtaining the saltpetre monopoly relations between the Company and the Nawab continued,to be good for the rest of 1758 and by the °^ ^ e y e a r a H "the money due under the treaty had 9 been received by the Company. But, although peace prevailed i n Bengal, the Council did not relax i t s pressure on the home authorities (112) to send, m i l i t a r y reinforcements, arguing that with them the Company's 10 pos i t i o n i n Bengal would become unassailable. They had a wider v i s i o n . In fact, as a resu l t of the r e l a t i v e calm i n Bengal and the "forward p o l i c y " prevalent at Fort William, the Council had already, i n early 1758, begun looking for an opportunity to further the Company's and B r i t a i n ' s interest, not to mention the private i n t e r e s t s of the Company's servants. To t h i s end the Council decided to send troops to the Deccan to eliminate the French presence there, seizing the oppor-tunity provided by a l o c a l raja who had already asked for the 11 Company's assistance on more than one occasion. The Indians could not, or did not, see the danger of i n v i t i n g the B r i t i s h to a s s i s t them. The Council had three objectives i n the Deccan. I t sought to end the French threat there, to strengthen B r i t i s h i n -fluence, and, much as Clive's march on Arcot had done i n 1751, to draw the French away from Madras, where they were currently con-12 verging i n some strength. For thi s purpose a small force of about 300 or 400 European sol d i e r s and 2,000 to 3,000 sepoys commanded by Colonel Forde was sent. Two c i v i l i a n employees, John Johnstone and George Gray, were also despatched with in s t r u c -tions to reassure the princes i n the area that the Company did not intend to "make new conquests or possess ourselves of the i r country", 13 but simply to eject the French. Forde and his troops l e f t f or Vizagapatam by ship on 12 October 1758, a r r i v i n g eight days l a t e r , and they were soon engaged i n what proved to be a successful cam-14 paign. Only a l i t t l e more than a year after their departure Forde and h i s men returned to Bengal having decisively defeated the French i n the Deccan and acquired part of the Northern C i r -(113) c a r s f o r the Company, although the exact nature of the grant was 15 not worked out u n t i l 1765-66. The a c q u i s i t i o n of the Northern C i r c a r s c e r t a i n l y made the F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l ' s e a r l i e r a s s e r t i o n t h a t i t had no d e s i r e to "make new conquests" r i n g hollow. With a small f o r c e of mostly I n d i a n troops the B r i t i s h had been able to q u i c k l y d r i v e the French from the Deccan and acquire new t e r r i t o r y . T h i s was accomplished because of B r i t i s h naval sup-e r i o r i t y i n A s i a . Sea power allowed them to deploy men and m a t e r i a l from Bengal to the Deccan q u i c k l y . At the same time, the p a r o c h i a l o utlook of l o c a l r u l e r s i n I n d i a , i n c o n t r a s t to the B r i t i s h g l o b a l , or at l e a s t India-wide, p e r s p e c t i v e , prevented any k i n d o f u n i t e d f r o n t a g a i n s t the B r i t i s h even as i t became apparent that B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y c o n t r o l was c o n t i n u a l l y expanding d u r i n g the course of the Anglo-French wars i n I n d i a . By the time of Forde's r e t u r n to Bengal i n 1760 the French had a l s o been d r i v e n from t h e i r seige of Madras and Eyre Coote, now Commander-in-Chief on the Coromandel Coast, had de-f e a t e d the French at Wandewash, which was, i n many ways the end of the French, d e s p i t e the f a c t t h at the war continued on f o r another couple of y e a r s . Meanwhile, the B r i t i s h had f u r t h e r demonstrated the s t r e n g t h of t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n Bengal. At the end of 1758 Law de L a u r i s t o n , the former French c h i e f i n Bengal, p e t i t i o n e d the Court at D e l h i f o r a s s i s t a n c e i n the French f i g h t a g a i n s t the E n g l i s h and f a i l e d . Even more d r a m a t i c a l l y , the Emperor's V i z i e r asked C l i v e s e v e r a l times to use h i s i n f l u e n c e with Mir J a f a r to hasten the Nawab 1s revenue payments to the Emperor. T h i s c l e a r l y shows both the weakness of the I m p e r i a l government and i t s (114) appreciation of the s i t u a t i o n i n Bengal. In fact,- the Emperor saw the Company's pos i t i o n as being so powerful that he also expressed a desire to appoint Clive as Diwan to c o l l e c t the Bengal revenue, which amounted to at least f i f t y lakhs annually. Such a pos i t i o n would give the Company complete control over Bengal's purse strings. In the Council's view the Diwani, an o f f i c e that was second only to that of Nawab, would make the Company's position i n Bengal and 17 India i n v i n c i b l e . I t was not uncommon for the Mughals to i n -corporate o f f i c i a l s from a variety of national and ethnic back-grounds into t h e i r administration and there was no reason why Clive 18 and the Company could not also be included i n the imperial system. However, despite the Mughal!:s repeated proposals, Clive and the Council decided that to accept the Diwani at thi s time would serve only to alienate Mir Jafar, which would be a bad move when much of th e i r m i l i t a r y force was with Colonel Forde i n the Deccan and since the Court of Directors were s t i l l extremely reluctant to despatch 19 reinforcements from England. The -offer of the Diwani and i t s refusal at t h i s point, provided an opportunity for the Council to again t r y and convince the Court of Directors to pursue "more vigorous measures than has hitherto been the plan." The Council urged that i f a "forward p o l i c y " was not wholeheartedly adopted "the opportunity of making the Company, a l l and a l l i n the r i c h kingdom of Bengal 20 should be l o s t . " The Company's servants at Fort William, not surp r i s i n g l y , approached matters from a l o c a l perspective, sur-rounded by constantly changing events. In England, on the other hand, f a r removed from the turmoil of Indian p o l i t i c s , the Direc-tors had a di f f e r e n t perspective. They were more cautious and (115) l e s s i n s p i r e d by the day to day concerns and ambitions of t h e i r 21 s e r v a n t s i n India. 1 In the view of the F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l the o p p o r t u n i t y should be s e i z e d , as at present the E n g l i s h had no r i v a l s , European or otherwise, i n Bengal. The Dutch were e n t i r e l y s u b ordinated to the E n g l i s h , the French had no presence at a l l i n Bengal, the Mughal Empire was i n d i s a r r a y , as were the Marathas. The C o u n c i l urged the D i r e c t o r s that the permanent presence of 2,000 Europeans i n Bengal would put them " i n a c o n d i t i o n of embracing the f i r s t o c c a s i o n t h a t s h a l l o f f e r of f u r t h e r a g g r a n d i z i n g the 22 Company." Undoubtedly, the aggrandizement o f the p r i v a t e i n t e r e s t s o f the Bengal s e r v a n t s was a l s o a c o n s i d e r a t i o n . The importance of a B r i t i s h m i l i t a r y presence i n Bengal was demonstrated when the Mughal Emperor's renegade son appeared on the scene, a t a time when the Nawab's own f o r c e s were i n con-s i d e r a b l e d i s a r r a y . In e a r l y 1759, P r i n c e A l i Gauhar, the Shahzada, 23 who e v e n t u a l l y became Emperor Shah Alam I I , f l e d the Court at D e l h i , e n t e r i n g Lucknow l a t e i n January 1759 where he was j o i n e d by a number of s u p p o r t e r s before s e t t i n g out f o r Patna. I t was b e l i e v e d by the E n g l i s h i n Bengal t h a t P r i n c e A l i Gauhar intended 24 to usurp the Nawabship of Bengal from Mir J a f a r . The Nawab 1s 25 army's pay was b a d l y i n a r r e a r s , while many o f h i s o f f i c e r s were a l s o d i s s a t i s f i e d because he had r e c e n t l y executed two important zamindars. In order to counter the p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y t h r e a t p resented by P r i n c e A l i Gauhar, and as he c o u l d not t r u s t h i s own army, Mir J a f a r asked C l i v e and some Company troops to go to Patna,-to b l o c k the Shahzada's approach, which C l i v e d i d . 2 ^ He was con-f i d e n t t h a t the 450 Europeans and 2,500 sepoys that he had with him would be able to deal with the Shahzada's army of some 30,000 (116) men with, or without, the support of Mir Jafar's army. Again, a t i n y force, mostly Indian, o p t i m i s t i c a l l y marched of f to face a force ten times i t s s i z e . This points to the fact that the B r i t i s h strength lay i n superior t r a i n i n g , organization and equipment and not i n sheer numbers. It also says something about the self-con-fidence of the B r i t i s h . On 16 March 1759 the Shahzada was on the border of Bihar and Bengal by which time he had despatched several l e t t e r s to Clive seeking an alliance of friendship and cooperation 27 between the English and himself, to which Clive did not respond. Two days l a t e r the Prince was on the o u t s k i r t s of Patna; however, Clive and his troops arrived at Patna In time and Prince A l i Gauhar 2 8 backed o f f . In May Clive went so f a r as to give the Prince 500 gold mohurs "to r e l i e v e him i n h i s d i s t r e s s " although Clive con-29 tinued to refuse to take him under the Company's protection. The h e i r to the Mughal throne was obviously i n dire straights. He was well aware that the Company was the r e a l power i n Bengal and had the kind of force he needed on his side i f he was to improve hi s p o s i t i o n against a r i v a l who had just k i l l e d his father and usurped 30 the imperial throne. The Shahzada''S turn to the Company for sup-port c l e a r l y reveals the weakness of the Mughal Empire i n the same way that Mir Jafar's reliance on the Company indicates the weak-ness of the Bengal government. The Bengal government, however, did not subordinate i t -s e l f to the B r i t i s h without at least attempting, unsuccessfully, to r e t a i n some of i t s power. A regular and growing source of conten-ti o n between the Company and the Nawab was the private inland trade of the Company's servants, which had expanded after Plassey as a -result of the Company's servant's new power over the Nawab (117) and h i s o f f i c i a l s . At the request of the Nawab the Fort W i l l i a m C o u n c i l , i n December-,1759, reafirmed, on paper at l e a s t , i t s commitment to prevent the Company's servants from t a k i n g advantage of t h e i r p o s i t i o n and o b t a i n i n g s p e c i a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s f o r t h e i r p r i v a t e trade and the trade of others, which only served to de-31 p r i v e the Nawab's government of customs d u t i e s . In p r a c t i c e t h i s had l i t t l e e f f e c t , however, since the Nawab's i n f l u e n c e was minimal. The t r a d e r s were now the masters with no one to r e s t r a i n them. Thus, f o l l o w i n g C l i v e ' s v i c t o r y , the B r i t i s h presence was r a p i d l y extended to i n c l u d e p r e v i o u s l y p r o t e c t e d regions and govern-ment monopolies, while many Indian merchants were e l i m i n a t e d from the i n l a n d trade. A f t e r Plassey, Englishmen, both Company servants and f r e e - t r a d e r s , were, as never before, i n a p o s i t i o n to ignore ' 32 the Bengal government and create t h e i r own t r a d e . r e g u l a t i o n s . Soon a f t e r Plassey a l a r g e number of the Company's European servants were posted throughout Bengal rather than r e -maining concentrated at C a l c u t t a -and i n the handful of e s t a b l i s h e d i n l a n d f a c t o r i e s , as had p r e v i o u s l y been the case. Mir J a f a r and h i s successors had to accept a -Resident at t h e i r court, an o f f i c e which h e l d a great deal of p o t e n t i a l i n terms of p r i v a t e trade. Furthermore, a f t e r Plassey, the Company's armed forces q u i c k l y became, i n e f f e c t , the Nawab's army and, r a t h e r than being gar-r i s o n e d at C a l c u t t a , they soon took up residence i n cantonments at Patna -and Murshidabad and e v e n t u a l l y even i n Oudh. This pre-sented army o f f i c e r s w i t h h i t h e r t o unprecedented o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r p r i v a t e trade. A f t e r 1760, with the c e s s i o n of Burdwan, Midnapur and Chittagong to the B r i t i s h , the Europeans sent to administer the v a r i o u s aspects of the revenue c o l l e c t i o n i n these d i s t r i c t s (118) also engaged i n private trade. When the Company became Diwan i n 1765, the rest of Beftgal and Bihar gradually came under the admin-i s t r a t i o n of Europeans, and "European administration meant European t r a d e . " 3 3 In the lands south of Calcutta,' ceded to the Company in 1757, and also i n those d i s t r i c t s ceded i n 1760 after Clive's departure, the Nawab's capacity to regulate European traders was b a s i c a l l y destroyed. Beyond these areas, Mir Jafar, and l a t e r Mir Kasim even more so, attempted to continue to exercise authority over the Company's servants engaged i n private trade. However, the events of 1757 had undermined the Bengal government's pre-stige i n the eyes of the Company's servants and everyone else i n Bengal. It was soon evident to a l l that the English Company was the true power i n Bengal. The various o f f i c i a l s of the Nawab's government fought a 'losing battle i n attempting to control and regulate the inland trade of Europeans. The regulation of the inland trade could only be done by the Company i t s e l f and t h i s 34 did not come about quickly. Prio r to 1757 the Governor of Fort William usually managed the biggest private trading operation in Bengal. C l i v e , however, had already made his fortune by presents and his j a g i r and was thus not p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n private trade while he was Governor. In f a c t , he suggested, with only very l i m i t e d success, that the Company's servants try and be more moderate 35 i n t h e i r private trading a c t i v i t i e s . However, after Clive l e f t t h i s was not, i n i t i a l l y at least, the approach taken by Governor Van s i t t a r t , who was one of the biggest private traders i n Bengal. On 23 January 1760 Clive resigned i n order to return (119) to Europe. Over the course of his governorship the Company's servants began the process whereby they transformed piecemeal from being administrators of a 'commercial empire to administrators of a t e r r i t o r i a l and p o l i t i c a l one. The f i r s t years after Plassey were unsettled years i n which the reins of power were seized, but the servants had not yet assumed the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that went with power. When Clive l e f t Bengal the Company's p o l i t i c a l and milit a r y , i n f l u e n c e was at an a l l time high, but, unfortunately for the Nawab and the Court of Directors the power lay i n the hands of the Company's servants on the spot. The power remained personal; i t had not been i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d . There were no checks and balances to r e s t r a i n i n d i v i d u a l rapacity,..and Clive had not been able to develop them. In f a c t , he was not t o t a l l y disinterested himself. The next f i v e years saw the consequences of Clive's f a i l u r e , unwillingness or i n a b i l i t y to construct the necessary safeguards. As Spear has argued "the fi v e years after Clive's departure may be r i g h t l y described as the period of open and unashamed plunder, which took twenty years of e f f o r t , both i n B r i t a i n and on the spot, to i .,36 correct." Notes and References to Chapter Six 1. Clive to Directors, 23 December 1757, Fort William-India 'House, v o l . II p. 257. 2. Clive to Directors, 23 December 1757, Ibid., v o l . II p. 259. 3. Bengal to Directors, 23 January 1758, Ibid., v o l . II p. 307. Bengal to Directors, 27 February 1758, Ibid., v o l . I I . p. 311. (120) 4. Orme, A History of the M i l i t a r y Transactions, v o l . II pp. 276-277. 5. Ibid., v o l . II p. 277, and Bengal to Directors, 2 March 1758, Fort William-India House, v o l . II p. 316. 6. Bengal to Directors, 10 January 1758, Ibid., v o l . II p. 299." See also Clive to Directors, 23 December 1757, Ibid. , v o l . II p. 260. 7. Bengal to Directors, 23 January 1758, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 306-307. 8. Select Committee Proceedings, Fort William, 31 March 1758, Walter K. Firminger ed., Proceedings of the Select Committee  at Fort William i n Bengal 1758 (Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Room, 1914), p. 24. See also Bengal to Directors, 22 October 1758, Fort  William-India House, v o l . II p. 325. 9. Bengal to Directors, 31 December 1758, Ibid., v o l . II p. 343. 10. Bengal to Directors, 26 August 1758, Ibid, v o l . II p. 320. Bengal to Directors, 30 December 1758, Ibid., v o l . II p. 327 See also Bengal to Directors, 31 December 1758, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 391-392. 11.Select Committee Proceedings, Fort William, 23 August 1758, Firminger, Proceedings, p. 46. 12. Mason, A Matter of Honour, p. 87. 13. Select Committee Proceedings, Fort William, 23 August 1758, Firminger Proceedings, p. 46. 14. Mason, A Matter of Honour, p. 87. 15. See J. Spencer to Directors, 14 March 1765, Fort  William-India House, v o l . IV p. 327. 16. Mason, A Matter of Honour, p. 91. 17. Bengal to Directors, 31,December 1758, Fort William-India House, v o l . II pp. 392-393. 18. Majed Khan, The Transition i n Bengal, p. 12. 19. Bengal to Directors, 31 December 1758, Fort William-India House, v o l . II p. 393. See also Bengal to Directors, 9 March 1763, Ibid., p. 189. 20. Bengal to Directors, 31 December 1758, Ibid., v o l . II p. 393. 21. For a prosopographical study of the Court of Direc-tors see Parker, The Directors of the East India Company. (121) 22. Bengal to Directors, 31 December 1758, Fort William-India House, v o l . II p. 393. See also Bengal to Directors, 8 February 1759, Ibid., p. 413. 23. For a study of Shah Alam's relations with the East India Company see Kalikinkar Datta, Shah Alam II and the  East India Company (Calcutta: The World Press Private Ltd., 1965) 24. Hastings to J. Creswicke, 27 February 1759, D. C. Ganguly ed. Select Documents of the B r i t i s h Period of Indian  History (Calcutta: Trustees of the V i c t o r i a Memorial, 195 8) p. 59. Bengal to Directors, 8 February 1759, Fort William-India House v o l . II pp. 412-413. 25. " F i r s t Report", Clive's testimony, House of Commons  Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 155. 26. Bengal to Directors, 8 February 1759, Fort William-India House, v o l . II pp. 412-413. Bengal to Directors, 5 March 1758, Ibid., v o l . II p. 414. 27. Clive to Directors, 16 March 1759, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 427-428. 28. Bengal to Directors, 24 March 1759, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 431-432. 29. Select Committee Proceedings, Fort William, 30 May 1759, S. C. H i l l ed., An Abstract of the Early Records of the Foreign  Department Part 1 1756-1762 (Calcutta: Government of India, 1901) 30. Bengal to Directors, 29 December 1759, Fort William-India House, v o l . II pp. 460-461. 31. Bengal to Directors, 29 December 1759, Ibid., v o l . II pp. 460-461. 32. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, p. 113. 33. Ibid., pp. 113-114. 34. Ibid., p. 114. 35. Ibid., p. 115. 36. Spear, India, pp. 199-200. (122) Chapter Seven: Vansittart's Governorship July 1760-December 1764 During Vansittart's governorship the increasing i n -volvement of the Company's servants i n the inland trade and p o l -i t i c s of Bengal became even more of a problem than i t had been during Clive's governorship. In this period the Bengal government's po s i t i o n was completely undermined by the p o l i t i c a l and economic expansion ca r r i e d out at the i n i t i a t i v e of the Company's servants. The s i t u a t i o n could only be restored by facing up to the f u l l im-p l i c a t i o n s of what had occurred since the death of A l i v a r d i Khan: the B r i t i s h would have to assume control of the government of Bengal. This was what Va n s i t t a r t , whose-own fortune hunting was at least as responsible as anyone else's for the sad state of a f f a i r s , recommended to the Court of Directors i n late 1763. In order to bring s t a b i l i t y to Bengal he f e l t that the Company would have to usurp what l i t t l e remaining authority the Bengal Nawab had. Before Vansittart took over from Holwell, the s t a b i l -i t y of Bengal was already i n some jeopardy due to both external and internal problems. In late February 1760 the Shahzada once more made an appearance i n Bihar only to be defeated and turned back by a force of Company troops led by Major Caillaud and Mir 1 Jafar's son, Miran. But, Major Caillaud and Miran did not per-manently disable the Shahzada and he was able to regroup by the 2 end of the year. Also i n early 1760 the Marathas entered Bengal and Orissa from the south, apparently to create a diversion for 3 the Shahzada with whom they were i n a loose a l l i a n c e . During t h i s unsettled period the English grew increasingly d i s a t i s f i e d with Mir Jafar. As far as many of the Company's leading employees (123) were concerned and as C l i v e had already concluded i n 1758, Mir J a f a r was a r e l a t i v e l y i n e f f e c t i v e head of s t a t e , who would pro-bably not be able to meet h i s f i n a n c i a l commitments to the Company ( e s p e c i a l l y given the present-taking and p r i v a t e t r a d i n g of the Company's s e r v a n t s ) , nor deal with the v a r i o u s m i l i t a r y t h r e a t s to the province. Also Mir J a f a r was a l l e g e d to be searching f o r other a l l i e s , p o s s i b l y the Dutch 4, or the Shahzada (which may e x p l a i n the Shahzada's i n v a s i o n i n February), whom he could p l a y o f f against the E n g l i s h . At t h i s p o i n t Governor H o l w e l l developed a plan to f o r c e Mir J a f a r to a l l o w h i s son-in-law, Mir Kasim, to e x e r c i s e what l i t t l e r e a l power the Nawab had l e f t , while Mir J a f a r continued as Nawab i n name only. H o l w e l l was motivated l e s s by the f a c t that Mir Kasim was more s u i t a b l e than Mir J a f a r than by Mir Kasim's promise of a s u b s t a n t i a l present i n exchange f o r the Governor's support. But t h i s scheme d i d not a c t u a l l y come to pass u n t i l October 1760, by which time Holwell had stepped down and 5 Henry V a n s i t t a r t had taken h i s place. Henry V a n s i t t a r t had no sooner assumed the governorship than Hol w e l l presented a report to the S e l e c t Committee at Fort W i l l i a m l i s t i n g the p r i n c i p a l complaints against Mir J a f a r and proposing that he be replaced. On top of the charges that Mir J a f a r had attempted to a l l y h i m s e l f with the Dutch and the Shahzada, H o l w e l l also claimed that Mir J a f a r ' s general mismanagement of the m i l i t a r y and economic a f f a i r s of the province were e n t i r e l y r e s p onsible f o r the present disorder. Given Holwell's r e p u t a t i o n and h i s vested i n t e r e s t i n seeing Mir J a f a r deposed, as w e l l as the g e n e r a l l y i r r e s p o n s i b l e behaviour of most Company servants at the time, the l a s t charge e s p e c i a l l y i s o b v i o u s l y devoid of sub-stance . (124) Further reason to consider r e p l a c i n g Mir J a f a r was soon found by the S e l e c t Committee. The Committee had become con-cerned that the Company's growing army could no longer be main-t a i n e d on the l a k h of rupees a l l o t t e d monthly by the e x i s t i n g 7 t r e a t y . In mid-September Governor V a n s i t t a r t , who had been doing some i n t r i g u i n g of h i s own behind the scenes, informed the S e l e c t Committee at Fort W i l l i a m that he had spoken with Mir Kasim. Mir Kasim was anxious to take over the government of Bengal and i n exchange f o r E n g l i s h support he was w i l l i n g to grant more g t e r r i t o r y to meet the Company's m i l i t a r y expenses. At the end of September the S e l e c t Committee made a t r e a t y with Mir Kasim which gave the Company c o n t r o l of the d i s t r i c t s of Burdwan, Midnapur., 9 and Chittagong. The t r e a t y s t i p u l a t e d that Mir Kasim become deputy Nawab u n t i l Mir J a f a r ' s death at which time he would become Nawab. The S e l e c t Committee also agreed to an o f f e n s i v e and defensive 10 a l l i a n c e with Mir Kasim. A f t e r Mir Kasim had signed the t r e a t y Mir J a f a r s t i l l needed to be informed of the change. In mid-October V a n s i t t a r t ordered him to agree to the Treaty and make Mir Kasim Naib  Subahdar. Mir J a f a r i n i t i a l l y refused but because of h i s u t t e r dependence on the Company he was soon coerced i n t o a b d i c a t i n g out-r i g h t and Mir Kasim became Nawab. Mir J a f a r spent the next few 11 years as a pensioner of Mir Kasim's government. Apart from the o b l i g a t i o n s of the t r e a t y i t s e l f , Mir Kasim also had to give the customary presents or b r i b e s to a number of the Company.'s servants i n r e t u r n f o r t h e i r support. Apparently the new Nawab had o f f e r e d b r i b e s worth at l e a s t twenty lakhs to H o l w e l l , V a n s i t t a r t , and h i s p a r t i s a n s . In f a c t , Mir Kasim even (125) proposed to Vansittart that he accept a written agreement stating that he would pay the English the twenty lakhs (approx. /225,000). Vansittart supposedly refused the off e r because of the Bengal government's outstanding debt to the Company and because the pay of the Nawab's army was overdue. However, the Governor made i t clear that such an o f f e r , i f made at a future time, would not 12 be turned down. Over a year after Mir Kasim 1s accession, Vansittart's opponents at Fort William, who had only just become aware of the o f f e r , proposed i n Council that, since the Nawab's debt to the Company was now paid, an e f f o r t should be made to get the twenty lakhs that had been pledged. Furthermore they suggested that i n -stead of being given to Vansittart and h i s supporters the money 13 should be credited to the Company i t s e l f . When the Nawab was presented with t h i s demand for twenty lakhs he r e p l i e d indignantly 14 that he owed "noboby a single rupee." The reason for Mir Kasim's indignation was that at least part of the twenty lakhs had already been distributed. Holwell had already received at least Rs. 50,000, although he claimed that Mir Kasim had promised him two lakhs. Years l a t e r , a Council member and supporter of V a n s i t t a r t ' s , William Sumner, divulged that he himself had received £28,000 from Mir Kasim during 1761 and 1762. Apart from payments s p e c i f i c a l l y for Mir Jafar's overthrow, an investigation c a r r i e d out i n 1765-1767 revealed that Vansittart had received 7 lakhs of rupees from Mir Kasim i n October 1762, when the Treaty of Monghyr was signed (see below pp. 136-137). Vansittart never r e a l l y denied the charge and i n 1772 a number of other individuals also admitted receiving bribes at that time. John Caillaud received 2 lakhs, William Mcgwire (Macguire), a (126) member of the Council was given Rs. 180,000, while Council member, 15 C u l l i n g Smith and a Major Yorke received Rs. 134,000 each. Others who were implicated, but avoided public exposure, included Warren Hastings, who was alleged to have received four lakhs from Mir Kasim. Even i f t h i s figure i s exaggerated there i s l i t t l e doubt that Hastings received something as the Company's Resident at Mir Kasim's court and Vansittart's closest supporter. In 1772 a Select Committee of the House of Commons concluded that about /200,000 i n presents and bribes had been received as a re s u l t 17 of, or i n the wake of, Mir Kasim's accession. It i s not surprisinj then that h i s t o r i a n s have styled the B r i t i s h i n Bengal at t h i s time as p i l l a g i n g conquistadores. Vansittart defended the taking of presents from Mir Kasim i n much the same way that Clive had defended the presents he had received from Mir Jafar. In a l e t t e r to the Court of D i r -ectors on 15 September 1768 Vansittart claimed that Mir Kasim had offered the presents u n s o l i c i t e d and that-they had had no influence on Mir Kasim's accession to the Nawabship or on the Treaty of Monghyr. However, Vansittart had apparently made i t very clear to Mir Kasim that some sort of payment would not go un-appreciated. In the case of Holwell i t i s even clearer that the present he received was s o l i c i t e d . As mentioned above Holwell had already schemed with Mir Kasim to overthrow Mir Jafar during his governorship and with Vansittart's a r r i v a l Holwell s t i l l remained a major actor i n the coup d'etat. I t was apparently well known that Holwell intended to take f u l l advantage of h i s interim governorship. He had become Governor too late to be able to get any money from Mir Jafar so, i n John Caillaud's words, Holwell (127) decided that "since the channel was stopped from whence i t was expected some advantage would flow, i t was necessary that another should be opened." This meant replacing Mir Jafar. There was no doubt i n the minds of anyone i n Bengal that Holwell had entered 18 into a f i n a n c i a l arrangement with Mir Kasim to overthrow the Nawab. Thus, the avarice of Holwell and the personal ambition of Mir Kasim conspired to undermine Mir Jafar. It i s abundantly clear that Holwell received a prearranged payment. And, although Vansittart and some others may not have re-ceived t h e i r presents from Mir Kasim i n exchange for e x p l i c i t agreements of support, Mir Kasim obviously knew that h i s p o s i t i o n was e n t i r e l y dependent on the good w i l l of the Company. In t h i s s i t u a t i o n he n a t u r a l l y sought the backing of as many important Company employees as possible. He knew that his Nawabship was not uni v e r s a l l y popular within, or outside, the Company. In f a c t , Mir Kasim was ultimately able to purchase the backing of only part of the Fort William Council, while i n 1757 Mir Jafar had been able to buy the support of a l l i t s members. Partl y as a res u l t of the less than unanimous support for Mir Kasim, the Fort William Council, between 1760 and 1764, was plagued by an excessive amount of d i v i s i o n , and V a n s i t t a r t had d i f f i c u l t y gaining and maintaining 19 support for himself as governor. Lack of support for himself and Mir Kasim on the Council was, of course, not the only problem confronting Vansittart during h i s governorship. Three months after he became Governor the Marathas p u b l i c l y proclaimed t h e i r support for Shah Alam I I , the Shahzada. Vans i t t a r t hoped that t h i s would encourage Shah Alam to cease causing trouble i n and around Patna and to turn his energies towards (128) 20 Delhi. However, Shah Alam continued to be a problem and i n the middle of January 1761 Major Carnac, who had replaced Major Caillaud as commander of the Company's forces at Patna, soundly defeated Shah Alam i n a battle west of Bihar c i t y . In t h i s b a t t l e , Law de Lauriston and a French force, who were a l l i e d with Shah Alam, were captured. After the battle a settlement was e a s i l y reached. Shah Alam went over to the English side and agreed to any exactions.. the Company wished to impose, i n return for which he wanted the Company to support him i n his e f f o r t to gain the throne at Delhi. The English w i l l i n g l y agreed, although they were concerned as to 21 how much support the Prince could actually muster. The Company was now moving towards involvement i n Imperial or Mughal p o l i t i c s . Shah Alam's weakness mirrored that of Mir Jafar i n Bengal with s i m i l a r r e s u l t s . After turning to the Company both Shah Alam and Mir Jafar became increasingly dependent on and eventually almost e n t i r e l y subordinate to the B r i t i s h . The day before Carnac's defeat of Shah Alam a decisive b a t t l e had been fought between the Afghans (who had probably been "i n v i t e d " into India by the Mughals to help defend Islam) and Shah Alam's now erstwhile a l l y the Marathas, which ultimately served to improve Shah Alam's and the Company's position i n India. The Battle of Panipat, on 14 January 1761, l e f t over 75,000 Marathas dead, eliminating them as contenders for the control of India. After the battle Shah Abdali, the Afghan leader, recognized Shah Alam II as Emperor and then returned with most of his men to Kabul; however, he did leave h i s R o h i l l a Afghan supporter, Najib-ud-daula, as Governor of Delhi who continued to be the real power at the 22 c a p i t a l . The way was now clear for the B r i t i s h to exploit the (129) s i t u a t i o n . Shah Alam, the t i t u l a r head of the Mughal Empire, was under the Company's protection and the Company's position i n Bengal had never been stronger. On top of t h i s the B r i t i s h had defeated the French commander, L a l l y , i n the south and captured 23 Pondicherry the day after the Battle of Panipat. At Murshidabad on 29 June 1761 Shah Alam II was o f f i c i a l l y recognized by the Company as the Mughal Emperor. Cl e a r l y the Company's pos i t i o n in India had undergone an incredible change. The Company now had the power to recognize, indeed proclaim, a,..;:. Mughal Emperor whose predecessor i t had humbly petitioned for a farman forty-four years e a r l i e r . The substance- and r e a l i t y of power in India was passing from Indian to B r i t i s h hands, though the process would take some time. Shah Alam continued to reside at Patna u n t i l the beginning of June hoping to secure a force of the Company's troops to march with him on the dangerous journey to Delhi. Shah Alam was not yet universally recognized and the previous V i z i e r and h i s a l l i e s were preparing to block his march. The B r i t i s h i n Bengal did not f e e l strong enough to spare Shah Alam the nec-essary escort, so the Emperor went without i t . However, the Fort William Council was less concerned with insuring a v i c t o r y for Shah Alam than i n seeing that the various imperial factions remained outside Bengal and that the province remained peaceful. Nevertheless the Council did have the foresight to ask Shah Alam to recognize a l l the Company's various p r i v i l e g e s i n Bengal once he secured his throne, to which he agreed, as long as the Company presented him with the proper t r i b u t e . At the same time Shah Alam again proposed that the Company take over the Diwani of Bengal but the Council once again declined, claiming that i t would only create (130) 24 a r i f t between them and the Nawab. However, their desire to avoid a r i f t with Mir Kasim may have been less important than a general reluctance, at t h i s stage, to relinquish t h e i r position of informal power i n the province for a more formal position. At the same time there was c e r t a i n l y discord between the Company and Mir Kasim. On 26 June 1761 the Nawab charged the Council 25 with p l o t t i n g against him. The English promptly denied i t . However, Mir Kasim's fears were not e n t i r e l y dispelled, and f r i c t i o n over other problems remained. There was a.y.gre.at deal of opposition between Mir Kasim and l o c a l Company o f f i c i a l s over the l a t t e r ' s private inland trade. Mir Kasim wanted to l i m i t this trade since, as Harry Verelst f r e e l y admitted, i t "was ca r r i e d on without payment of duties i n the prosecution of which i n f i n i t e oppressions were committed." The English and their Indian agents ignored the Bengal 26 government and i t s o f f i c i a l s and did not tolerate any interference. At t h i s stage Warren Hastings was sent to reach an agreement with 27 the Nawab. Hastings, who was not sympathetic with the Nawab's pos i t i o n p r i o r to h i s meeting with him, had commented on an e a r l i e r occasion that, with regard to the Company's servants' private trade, the English had been "at the expense of so much blood and treasure to l i t t l e purpose, i f we are to be bound by the precedents drawn from the abject state i n which we remained before the Battle of p Q Plassey." However, after meeting with Mir Kasim, Hastings changed his mind concluding that unless the constant oppression ca r r i e d out by the Company's servants was c u r t a i l e d , relations between the Company and the Nawab could never be established on a s o l i d 29 footing. Vansittart also quickly changed his own point of view and agreed with Hastings's assessment saying that he himself had (131) "always thought i t a great grievance injurious to the Nabob in h i s revenues and government, and to us i n our reputation." He also claimed, untruthfully, that he had always done everything i n h i s 30 "power to remedy i t . " Vansittart promptly i n s t i t u t e d new regulations designed to check the i l l e g a l a c t i v i t i e s of the Company's servants, Indian and European, although the Nawab, with some j u s t i f i c a t i o n , 31 remained sce p t i c a l about these measures. It i s , of course, d i f f i c u l t to reconcile the avowed concern of Vansittart and Hastings for the elimination of private trade abuses with the fact that they, l i k e other servants, were engaged extensively i n inland trade. As of 1762 Vansittart had i n his employ a minimum of four European agents to deal with his own private trade. By 1763, Hastings's private trade, which included a share i n the timber, tobacco, opium, s a l t and boat-building well as trades of Bengal, occupied f i v e Europeans f u l l - t i m e , as^innumerable Indians. When Hastings departed for England i n 1765 his t o t a l i n -vestment i n private trade was Rs. 300,000. Another private operation on the same scale as these two, and in acrimonious r i v a l r y with them, was the one managed by William Bolts, William Hay, and John Johnstone, a l l senior Company servants. At the time of Hay's death— he was k i l l e d in 1763 at Patna by Mir Kasim's t r o o p s — h i s c a p i t a l share invested i n the three-way partnership amounted to Rs. 190,805 and the partnership as a whole had an operating c a p i t a l of around /67,000. Company servants of less stature, who were unable to obtain the kind of c r e d i t that men l i k e Vansittart and Hastings could get, engaged in more li m i t e d operations having only one European agent, or relying e n t i r e l y on native gomastas. By the middle of Vansittart's governorship the number of Europeans engaged i n private trade i n (132) Bengal was calculated to be thirty-three, while the number of gomastas was much higher. William Bolts claimed he employed at least f i f t e e n "head gomastas" and other Company servants probably employed almost as many, although some had as few as two or three. Mir Kasim himself claimed that by 1762 there were 400 or 500 gomastas operating the private trade of the Company's servants in Bengal. Although t h i s figure i s probably an overestimate, even h a l f t h i s amount i s a s i g n i f i c a n t number. By the end of 1762 32 B r i t i s h inland trading i n Bengal had an estimated value of /500,000. Starting i n A p r i l 1762 then, Vansittart and Hastings had, at least s u p e r f i c i a l l y , sought to improve relations with Mir Kasim and avoid war. But, given t h e i r vested interest i n the inland trade, i t i s not surprising that nothing substantive occurred, nor apparently did Mir Kasim r e a l l y expect that anything would change. By the end of the year relations between the Nawab and the Company were as poor as ever. William E l l i s , the chief at Patna, complained that at Ishanabad the Company's Indian employees had been instructed by the Nawab's o f f i c i a l s to halt a l l business and leave the place. When they did not comply they were threatened and harrassed. E l l i s saw force as the only solution, but the Council forbade i t , for the-moment, and rebuked him for not p e t i t i o n i n g 33 the Nawab. Similar complaints came from f a c t o r i e s at Lakshmipur, 34 Chittagong and Dacca. The Council also instructed these f a c t o r i e s to avoid using force at th i s stage. The Council's moderate stance was due, i n part at le a s t , to the fact that, i n the case of Dacca, there was evidence that the Company's servants had been extremely 35 dishonest i n t h e i r trade there. To clear up the si t u a t i o n Vansittart 36 decided to meet the Nawab. (133) When Van s i t t a r t , attended by Hastings, did meet with Mir Kasim the Nawab complained at great length about the trading practices of gomastas working for the B r i t i s h , e specially i n the more remote parts of Bengal. The trade of these areas, which was mainly i n l o c a l goods, had previously been out of bounds for a l l Europeans and the Nawab regarded their involvement i n t h i s trade as a v i o l a t i o n of the farman of 1717. Vansittart acquiesced on t h i s point and he and Mir Kasim agreed that although the farman gave the Company and i t s employees freedom to trade free of customs duties on import and export goods i t could not be interpreted to include inland trade as customs free. The English were to en-gage i n the inland trade on the same basis as Indian traders and must pay customs. As a result of t h i s meeting, which took place at Monghyr, Vans i t t a r t and Hastings drew up nine regulations that they hoped would serve to prevent any future f r i c t i o n between the 37 Nawab1s o f f i c i a l s and the Company's servants and their gomastas. B a s i c a l l y the Treaty of Monghyr c a l l e d for a l l inland trade items car r i e d by the Company's servants or t h e i r agents to pay customs duty of nine percent and subjected the Indian gomastas to the control 3 8 of the Nawab's o f f i c i a l s . Vansittart and Hastings decided that the Company's servants must not have any special p r i v i l e g e s i n the Inland trade as i t would only jeapordize the Company's position 39 and the private a f f a i r s of the Company's servants. It should be noted here that the fact that Hastings and Vansittart were able to come around to the Nawab's point of view lends support to the claim that they received money from the Nawab at this time. Prior to Vansittart's return to Calcutta the Fort William Council received a copy of the Treaty of Monghyr. It (134) immediately proposed that the treaty be discussed before i t was 40 a c t u a l l y implemented. However, by t h i s time, 10 January 1763, the proposed regulations had already been given to Mir Kasim, who 41 had r a t i f i e d them, and begun to act upon them. In response to t h i s f a i t accompli the Council declared that Vansittart had exceeded his authority. It sent directions to Dacca to suspend the regu-42 l a t i o n s u n t i l a f u l l Council had discussed them. Thus, when Vansittart returned to Calcutta at the beginning of February he 43 found that he and h i s treaty of Monghyr had been repudiated. The Fort William Council, which was the Company's supreme authority i n Bengal, consisted of twelve members and Governor Vansittart only held a deciding vote i n the event of a 44 t i e . After a protracted debate the Council overruled the Governor, refused to r a t i f y the Treaty, and ordered that i t be dissolved im-45 mediately. It directed that the Nawab be allowed to c o l l e c t a two and one h a l f percent duty on s a l t , but a l l other goods car r i e d by the English or t h e i r employees were to be allowed to tra v e l free of duty. The Council also decided that gomastas working for the L Company's servants should not be subjected to the control of the Bengal government o f f i c i a l s but should be under the j u r i s d i c t i o n 46 of the English factory chiefs. In Marshall's view, Vansittart convincingly defended his own actions at t h i s time i n his Narrative of the Transactions  i n Bengal, while those Council members opposed to him appear i n a much less favourable l i g h t . Certainly, the only reason that Council members, William E l l i s and John Johnstone, for example, opposed the treaty was that i n t h e i r r e l e n t l e s s e f f o r t to acquire a personal fortune, they had borrowed large sums of money and invested them (135) i n private trade throughout Bengal. They would have l o s t a great 47 deal i f the Monghyr agreement had been allowed to go through. However, the fact that Vansittart himself was very active i n private trade and would also have suffered severe losses under t h i s agreement, supports the claim, by Johnstone and Hay, that Mir Kasim p r i v a t e l y agreed to exclude Vansittart's trade from 48 the payment of customs duties. Given the discovery, l a t e r , that Vansittart had l i e d about receiving presents from Mir Kasim (see above p. 125) the Governor's denial of any arrangement regarding hi s own trade i s suspect, e s p e c i a l l y when his private trade was l e f t alone at the same time that the private trade of other Company 49 servants was obstructed. However, i t was not the nine percent duty per se that r e a l l y annoyed the private traders; what they were most concerned about was Mir Kasim*s infringement on t h e i r autonomy which was exemplified not only by t h e i r immunity from customs duties but by the independence of th e i r gomastas. R. Leycester claimed, i n January 1763, that the increase i n customs duties alone "won't h u r t — b u t to oblige us to withdraw our protection from our gomastas and s a c r i f i c e at once the p r i v i l e g e of our 50 dusticks must ruin us a l l . " With the n u l l i f i c a t i o n of the Treaty of Monghyr, ten-sion remained high. On the one hand the Company's servants con-tinued to abuse t h e i r p r i v i l e g e s while Mir Kasim, understandably exasperated by the apparently insatiable demands of the Company's servants, was s t i l l determined to remedy the situation and assert h i s authority as Nawab. Unfortunately, he lacked the m i l i t a r y resources to confront the Company^ and h i s actions, which merit (136) both p i t y and admiration, are a measure of his desperation. In the middle of March 1763 he informed Vansittart that "I have put 5 up with everything u n t i l now that my patience i s quite exhausted." He presented the Company with an ultimatum saying that i f the English did not trade on the same basis as other traders he would have no recourse "but to make use of the same expressions favouring disagreement that ye do." Mir Kasim t o l d the English that i f they were " i n c l i n e d to l e t friendship subsist between us, i t behooves you to lay aside these disturbances and al t e r c a t i o n s . . . and i f you 52 are i n c l i n e d to break with me, l e t me know immediately." The Fort William Council's response to t h i s was to off e r to send someone to meet with the Nawab. Mir Kasim refused, so the Council 53 promptly repeated i t s request but prepared for war. A momentary breakthrough was achieved when Mir Kasim agreed to a meeting after 54 a l l ; however, i n June, before the deputation arrived at the Nawab1s durbar, f i g h t i n g between the Company and Mir Kasim began 5 5 at Patna. Shortly thereafter the Council drew up a formal declar-ation of war against Mir Kasim..and reinstated Mir Jafar as Nawab, 56 with even less power than he had had before. During the war with Mir Kasim the Company's trade and the private trade of i t s servants suffered, while many s e r v a n t s — including Amyatt, Hay and E l l i s — w e r e k i l l e d , and the Company's fa c t o r i e s were looted. But catastrophe was halted and the English soon achieved an overwhelming v i c t o r y followed by the formal accession to the Nawabship of Mir Jafar i n July. Now, an even more p l i a b l e government was obliged to compensate the trading losses and give new p r i v i l e g e s to the Company. Vansittart and the Council eventually requested Rs. 4,800,000 (approx. /520,000) i n (137) r e p a r a t i o n s . f o r l o s s e s i n trade as a r e s u l t of the war with Mir Kasim. T h i s f i g u r e was, i n f a c t , l e s s than the Rs. 5,300,000 decided on by a committee e s t a b l i s h e d by the F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l to de-termine the amount of money that had been l o s t . S e v e n t y - f i v e per-cent of the 4,800,000 t o t a l was c o l l e c t e d by May 1766, while the 57 r e s t was r e c e i v e d by the mid-1770s. Now with a d e c i s i v e m i l i t a r y v i c t o r y behind them, there was nothing to stop the..Company1 s o f f i c i a l s from e n f o r c i n g t h e i r w i l l . Mir J a f a r , f o r h i s p a r t , was i n no p o s i t i o n to r e f u s e t h e i r demands. He granted them the r i g h t to c a r r y on "an u n l i m i t e d trade i n the country f r e e of customs i n a l l commodities exce p t i n g s a l t , " 5 8 upon which they were to pay a duty of two and a h a l f p ercent. Thus, Mir Kasim's o u s t e r served to s i g n i f i c a n t l y change the c i r -cumstances under which the Company's ser v a n t s c a r r i e d on t h e i r p r i v a t e trade i n Bengal. I t a l s o p r o v i d e d the opening f o r the s e r -vants to expand t h e i r i n l a n d trade beyond Bengal i n t o p r e v i o u s l y untapped areas. During the war with the Company Mir Kasim had r e t r e a t e d i n t o Oudh where he found an a l l y i n Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Oudh. The Company's f o r c e s f o l l o w e d him and proceeded to occupy p a r t s of Oudh f o r a number of months. A f t e r Shuja-ud-daula, as purchasable as any o t h e r I n d i a n p r i n c e , had gone over to the Company and Mir Kasim had been vanquished, a l a s t i n g bond be-tween the Company and the Nawab of Oudh was e s t a b l i s h e d , which meant that an i n c r e a s i n g number of the Company's servants e n t e r e d the p r o v i n c e . These men q u i c k l y took advantage of the t r a d i n g o p p o r t u n i t i e s t hat they d i s c o v e r e d , e s p e c i a l l y i n and around Banaras, which was occupied b r i e f l y by the Company. By 1765, when (138) the Company's forces and administration withdrew from Banaras and the rest of Oudh there were at least 500 gomastas carrying on private 59 trade on behalf of the Company's servants i n Oudh. Of course, compensation for losses and extension of trading p r i v i l e g e s were only part of the price Mir Jafar had to pay for his reinstatement as Nawab. Inevitably presents were demanded and given. Although one may question the morality of such presents or bribes, i n the context of the times they were an accepted part of "getting things done". The Royal Navy Squadron, under Commodore Tinker, which had been anchored at Hugli the whole time, received twelve and a h a l f lakhs, two of which went 6 0 to Tinker personally. Mir Jafar eventually agreed to "donate" twenty-five lakhs to the Army, the same amount i t had received i n 1757. Army o f f i c e r s also received personal presents on top of the twenty-five lakhs. Major Munro received two lakhs, while Major Carnac, Munro 1s predecessor, was given Rs. 50,000 and was assured of another Rs. 50,000 which he never received. Colonel C a i l l a u d also received Rs. 150,000. Presents such as these c e r t a i n l y provided an incentive for the Company's servants to oust Mir Kasim and return Mir Jafar to the Nawabship. With Mir Jafar as Nawab again the Company's power i n Bengal was greater than ever and many of the Company's servants were very pleased with the state of a f f a i r s . However, Vansittart himself, whoiintended to resign at the end of 1764, 6 2 was far from optimistic about the future. He intended to do his utmost to sup-port Mir Jafar "as long as I remain i n Bengal but the present system i s such that i t i s with great . d i f f i c u l t y a friendship can 63 be maintained with any Nabob." He summed p the d i f f i c u l t i e s (139) facing the Company's operation i n Bengal i n a cogent assessment of the situation, derived from his lengthy experience. In his view the Company's connections: i n the country are so extended by the pursuit of private trade through a number of new channels i n distant parts of the country and the authority-of our agents so over grown by the i n -fluence they derive from the English name that the Nabob's Fougedars and Collectors dare not exercise the duties of the i r o f f i c e s where any English agent or gomastah or any merchant or inhabitant of the country dealing with them i s in the least concerned. This occasions continued complaints from the Nabob. Already many such have come for Meer J a f f e r i n terms just the same as were before used by Meer Cossim. I f on the other hand a f u l l power be given to the Nabob's o f f i c e r s nine of them out of ten w i l l abuse i t and t o t a l l y obstruct the business of the English gomastah i n which case a vio l e n t clamour i s immediately raised on our side.,-,, 64 Looking ahead he predicted continued clashes between the Nawab1s government and the Company. S i g n i f i c a n t l y Vansittart recommended that there was no other way to r e s t r a i n private traders and bring s t a b i l i t y to Bengal than "to extend the Company's authority further 65 and render the Nabob e n t i r e l y dependent" on the Company. At the end of February 1764, two months after Vansittart's l e t t e r to the Court of Directors, problems arose when a l l the Company's European troops, many of whom were French now e n l i s t e d i n the English Company's Army, encamped at the Karamnasa River, just west of Patna, mutinied with the intention of going over to Mir Kasim and Shuja-ud-daula because of an alleged plot to deprive them of the i r portion of the presents received at the time of / Mir Kasim's overthrow. The mutiny was quickly put down with (140) assurances that the f i r s t installment would be distributed when the troops returned to camp. This, however, prompted the Company's native infantry to mutiny i n t h e i r turn; they were soon m o l l i f i e d by the payment of Rs. 20 a man. The mutiny had, i n fact, resulted i n the desertion of one hundred and f i f t y French troops,to Mir Kasim, an event which, combined with the unrest among the remaining troops, encouraged Mir Kasim and Shuja-ud-daula to prepare an invasion of Bengal. At t h i s juncture, the Council predictably reminded the Court of Directors of the importance of maintaining "a respectable European force" i n Bengal i n order to protect and strengthen 6 7 the Company's pos i t i o n i n the province. By September 1764 the danger of an invasion of Bengal was imminent. Shuja-ud-daula and Mir Kasim and t h e i r army were encamped at the Karamnasa River, while the Company's forces had moved back a short distance to Buxar. Prior to September, Major Carnac, i n command of the Company's forces i n Bengal had, despite constant requests by the Council to take the f i e l d against Shuja-ud-daula, continued to hold back. Then, i n June 1764 Major Hector Munro arrived from Bombay with a force of King's troops and superseded Carnac. Munro was much more i n c l i n e d to take the offensive. Both sides, the B r i t i s h and Shuja-6 8 ud-daula, prepared for war as soon as the Rains were over. On 23 October 1764 the Company's forces, under Major Munro, took the f i e l d and, as i s well known, the resu l t i n g Battle of Buxar was a resounding v i c t o r y for the Company. At the Battle of Buxai a battle whose results were more important by f a r than Plassey—the English considerably enhanced th e i r reputation and secured unchallenged pre-eminence i n the province of Bengal and (141) beyond. At Buxar the English vanquished a number of prominent p o l i t i c a l figures: Mir Kasim, the former Nawab of Bengal, Shuja-ud-daula/ the Nawab of Oudh and-., the V i z i e r of the Mughal Empire, and the Emperor himself who, i n spite of the fact that he was more a prisoner than an a l l y of Shuja-ud-daula and had gone from one misfortune to another over the past few years, s t i l l had "a moral halo around his name as the theoretical head of an empire." After Buxar the Emperor, who had i n fact escaped from the hands of Shuja-^ud-daula the night p r i o r to the b a t t l e , sent his con-gratulations to Major Munro and asked to be again sheltered by the Company. The gentlemen at Fort William, who had already declared t h e i r support for Shah Alam as Emperor i n June 1761, agreed and the Emperor and his retinue were established i n the T- 1 • V, 70 English camp. The Battle of Buxar completed the process begun at Plassey whereby the English East India Company gained unchallenged suzerainty over the province of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. At the same time i t opened the door to the prospect of extending i t s control beyond the border of Bengal into Oudh and the rest of the sub-continent. The Council at Fort William quickly decided that " i n consideration of the risque (sic) and expences of the war as well as to assert our superiority" the Company should take over the control and revenue c o l l e c t i o n of the area up to Banaras, in Oudh. However, they claimed that the reason for demanding t h i s t e r r i t o r y from Shuaj'-ud-daula was "to give publick (sic) testimony to a l l the powers of India of the success of our arms" and not to increase the Company's revenue.. The Council was adamant that t h i s a c q u i s i t i o n was purely defensive, to insure the s t a b i l -i t y of Bengal: "we do not wish to extend our connections beyond (142) what may appear necessary for securing the future t r a n q u i l i t y of these provinces which i s the f i r s t object of our consideration and i f we enter into any further engagements they s h a l l be such 71 as tend to that point." However, i n practice, of course, the Company's occupation of Oudh opened up a multitude of new opportun-i t i e s for the Company's servants to acquire personal fortunes i n private trade, sinecures and extortion. Less than two months after the Battle of Buxar Henry Vansittart embarked for England. His four and one h a l f years as Governor had seen an incredible expansion of the Company's influence i n and beyond "Bengal i n m i l i t a r y , p o l i t i c a l , and economic terms. The power of the Bengal Nawabs had been, for most purposes, completely eliminated as the Company's servants, spurred on by a desire to gain personal fortunes v i a trade and presents, had ignored and abused the Nawab' s o f f i c i a l s and schemed and intrigued, i n Bengal p o l i t i c s . V ansittart himself had played no small role i n t h i s process, although by the end of his governorship he was acutely aware of the implications for the Nawab and for the Company. In h i s view the Company's only recourse now was to involve i t s e l f more f u l l y i n the government of Bengal and bring i t s own servants to heel before t h e i r fortune-hunting ruined the Bengal government and the Company. Notes and References to Chapter Seven 1. Bengal to Directors, 3 March 1760, Fort William-India House Correspondence, v o l . I l l , 1760-1763, ed. R. R. Sethi, (New Delhi: Government of India,- 1968-) . p. 261. 2. Bengal to Directors, 12 November 1760, Ibid., v o l . I l l p. 272. Bengal to Directors, 12 January 1761, Ibid. ,-• v o l . I l l pp. 275-276. 262. (143) 3. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 3 March 1760, I b i d . , v o l . I l l 4. " F i r s t Report", C l i v e ' s testimony, House of Commons  Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 158. and C a i l l a u d to H o l w e l l , 29 May 1760, appended to I b i d . , v o l . 135 p. 160. 5. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 167-168. 6. S e l e c t Committee Proceedings, F o r t W i l l i a m , 4 August 1760, H i l l , A b s t r a c t , p. 65. 7. S e l e c t Committee Proceedings, F o r t W i l l i a m , 11 September 1760, I b i d . , p. 67. 8. S e l e c t Committee Proceedings, F o r t W i l l i a m , 16 September 1760, I b i d . , p. 68. 9. See Alamgir Muhammad S e r a j u d d i n , Revenue A d m i n i s t r a t i o n  of the East I n d i a Company i n Chittagong 1761-1785 (Chittagong, 1971) See a l s o Maz-aharul Huq, The East I n d i a Company's Land P o l i c y and  Commerce i n Bengal 1698-1784 (Dacca:- A s i a t i c S o c i e t y o f P a k i s t a n , 1963). 10.. Henry V a n s i t t a r t , ed. , O r i g i n a l Papers R e l a t i v e to  the Disturbances i n Bengal (OP) :.' (London: J . Newberry, 1765).vol. I pp. 38-39. 11. Datta,- Shah Alam I I , p. 15. Majed Khan, The Tran-s i t i o n i n Bengal, pp. 35-36. 12. " T h i r d Report", W i l l i a m Macguire's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 310. See a l s o M a r s h a l l , East I n d i a n Fortunes, pp. 166-168. 13. Bengal C o u n c i l Proceedings, March 1762, V a n s i t t a r t OP, v o l . I pp. 159-160. 14. Mir Kasim to Bengal C o u n c i l , March/April 1762, I b i d . , v o l . I p. 171. 15. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 168-169. 16. I b i d . , pp. 169-170. In Penderel Moon, Warren Hastings  and B r i t i s h I n d i a (London: Hodder and Stoughton L t d . , 1947) p. 58. the author c l a i m s , e r r o n e o u s l y i n the l i g h t o f present evidence, t h a t , although H a s t i n g s "had witnessed s e v e r a l r e v o l u t i o n s i n Bengal, he had not, l i k e o t h e r s , made money out of them. H i s hands were c l e a n . " .17. " T h i r d Report", House of Commons Papers,Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 311. 18. quoted i n M a r s h a l l , East Iridian Fortunes, p. 170. (144) 19. I b i d . , pp. 170-171. 20. V a n s i t t a r t to D i r e c t o r s , 12 November 1760, Fort  W i l l i a m - I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 273. 21. V a n s i t t a r t to D i r e c t o r s , 23 January 1761, I b i d . , v o l . I l l p. 328. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 20 February 1761, I b i d . , v o l . I l l pp. 328-329. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 23 February 1761, I b i d . , v o l . I l l pp. 329-331. Datta, Shah Alam I I , pp. 17-18. 22. Wolpert, A New H i s t o r y of I n d i a , pp. 183-184. 23. Dodwell, Dupleix and C l i v e , p. 207. 24. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 12 November 1761, Fort W i l l i a m -I n d i a House v o l . I l l pp. 363-364. 25. I b i d . , p. 365. 26. Harry V e r e l s t , A View of the R i s e , Progress and  Present State of the E n g l i s h Government i n Bengal (London: J . Nourse, 1772) pp. 46-47. 27. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 8 A p r i l 1762, Fort Wi11iam-I n d i a House v o l . I l l p. 421. 28. quoted i n Majed Khan, The T r a n s i t i o n of Bengal, p. 44. 29. Hastings also noted that " t h i s e v i l I am w e l l assured i s not co n f i n e d to our dependents alone, but i s p r a c t i c e d a l l over the country by people f a l s e l y assuming the h a b i t s of our Seapoys, or c a l l i n g themselves our Gomastahs....I have been s u r p r i s e d to meet wi t h several E n g l i s h f l a g s f l y i n g i n places which I have passed, and on the r i v e r I do not b e l i e v e I passed a boat without one. By whatever t i t l e they have been assumed,... I am sure t h e i r frequency can bode no good to the Nabob's revenues, the quiet of the country, or the honour of our n a t i o n , but e v i d e n t l y tend to lessen each of them. A party of Seapoys who were on the march before us, a f f o r d e d s u f f i c i e n t proofs of the rapacious and i n s o l e n t s p i r i t of those people where they are l e f t to t h e i r own d i s c r e t i o n . Many complaints were made me on the road, and most of the petty towns and s e r a i s were deserted at our approach, and the shops shut up from the apprehension of the same treatment from us." Hastings to V a n s i t t a r t , 25 A p r i l 1762, V a n s i t t a r t , OP v o l . I pp. 188-189. 30. V a n s i t t a r t to Hastings, 2 May 1762, I b i d . , p. 191. 31. Hastings to V a n s i t t a r t , 18 May 1762, I b i d . , pp. 194-195. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 117-118. 32. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 115-116. 33. E l l i s to Council Fort W i l l i a m , 7 October 1762, V a n s i t t a r t , OP v o l . I pp. 207-208. (145) 34..Lakshmipur to C o u n c i l F o r t W i l l i a m , 14 October 1762, I b i d . , p. 209. Chittagong to C o u n c i l , 14 October 1762, I b i d . , pp. 210-211. Dacca 'to C o u n c i l , 8 October.. 1762, I b i d . , p. 211. 35. C o n s u l t a t i o n s F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l , 18 October 1762, I b i d . , p. 212. 36. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 30 October 1762, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 442. 37. V a n s i t t a r t and Hastings to C o u n c i l F o r t W i l l i a m , 15 December 1762, I b i d . , pp. 222-226. 38. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 125. 39. H a s t i n g s and V a n s i t t a r t to C o u n c i l F o r t W i l l i a m , 15 December 1762, V a n s i t t a r t OP v o l . I p. 226. 40. C o u n c i l F o r t W i l l i a m to V a n s i t t a r t and H a s t i n g s , 27 December 1762, I b i d . , p. 238. 41. V a n s i t t a r t to Mir Kasim, January 1763, I b i d . , pp. 250-252. 42. C o n s u l t a t i o n s F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l , 17 January 1763, I b i d , p. 255. 43. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 125. 44. Mason (pseudonym Woodruff) Men Who Ruled India,' v o l . I p. 117. 45. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 125. 46. C o n s u l t a t i o n s F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l , 1 March 1763, V a n s i t t a r t OP v o l . II p. 86-87. 47. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 126. 48. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 18 A p r i l 1763, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 488, See a l s o " T h i r d Report", Stanlake Bat-son's testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed. v o l . 135 p. 301. S. Batson, a former Company employee, t e s t i f i e d that Mir Kasim gave s p e c i f i c o r d e r s to h i s o f f i c i a l s that a l l p r i v a t e trade be stopped except f o r that of Hastings and V a n s i t t a r t . 49. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 126. 50. quoted i n I b i d . , p. 126. 51. Mir Kasim to V a n s i t t a r t , 14 March 1763, V a n s i t t a r t OP v o l . II p. 117. 52. Mir Kasim to V a n s i t t a r t , 15 March 1763, I b i d . , v o l . I I pp. 121-122. (146) 53. C o n s u l t a t i o n s F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l , 1 A p r i l 1763, I b i d . , p. 159. C o n s u l t a t i o n s F o r t W i l l i a m C o u n c i l , 14 A p r i l 1763, I b i d . , pp. 178-179. and Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 18 A p r i l 1*763, F o r t  W i l l i a m - I n d i a House, v o l . I l l pp. 488-489. 54. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 20 A p r i l 1763, Fo r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 505. 55. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 127. 56. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 29 September 1763, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 525. 57. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, p. 127. 58. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 29 September 1763, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 525. For complete t r e a t y see V a n s i t t a r t OP v o l . I I pp. 289-294. 59. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 127-128. 60. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 30 September 1765, Fo r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . IV p. 356. 61. M a r s h a l l , East Indian Fortunes, pp. 171-172. 62. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 18 A p r i l 1763, F o r t W i l l i a m -I n d i a House, v o l . I l l p. 501. 63. V a n s i t t a r t to D i r e c t o r s , 24 December 1763, I b i d . , v o l . I l l pp. 567-568. 64. V a n s i t t a r t to D i r e c t o r s , 24 December 1763, I b i d . , v o l . I l l pp. 567-568. 65. V a n s i t t a r t to D i r e c t o r s , 24 December 1763, I b i d . , v o l . I l l p. 568. 66. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 20 February 1764, I b i d . , v o l IV p. 247. 67. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 19 March 1764, I b i d . , pp. 251-252. 68. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 27 September 1764, I b i d . , p. 258. See a l s o " F i r s t Report", Munro 1s testimony, House of Commons Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 pp. 166-167. 69. D a t ta, Shah Alam I I , pp. 24-25. 70. " F i r s t Report", Munro's testimony, House of Commons  Papers, Lambert ed., v o l . 135 p. 168. 71. Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 26 November 1764, I b i d . , v o l . IV pp. 263-264. See a l s o Bengal to D i r e c t o r s , 6 February 1765, I b i d . , v o l . IV pp-. 294-295. (147) Conclusion Over the past one hundred years the conquest of Bengal and the r i s e of the B r i t i s h to power i n India hat^ been interpreted i n many di f f e r e n t ways. In the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century the conquest was explained as inadvertent;' that i s , i t was a defensive move to protect the English Company's e x i s t i n g interests from l o c a l turmoil and French aggression. This explanation i s s t i l l subscribed to by some historians, with modifications; however, today the attention i s on the role \ of the sub-imperial a c t i v i t i e s of the Company's servants on the spot at the time of conquest, who were much less reluctant than the authorities i n B r i t a i n to embark on campaigns of conquest. Although most hi s t o r i a n s agree that sub-imperialism was a factor there i s considerable debate over exactly how important the servants on the spot were i n bringing about a B r i t i s h empire i n India. At the same time there are h i s t o r i a n s , writing i n the Marxist t r a d i -t i o n , who make l i t t l e or no d i s t i n c t i o n between the servants on the spot and the Court of Directors i n B r i t a i n . Writing with varying degrees of sophistication, they attribute the B r i t i s h conquest of Bengal and India to the expansion of the c a p i t a l i s t world-economy or the merchant bourgeoisie. These historians em-phasize the economic motive, to the exclusion of a l l other motives. These scholars, and others, also draw attention to the century and one h a l f of B r i t i s h commercial expansion that preceded conquest as a prerequisite to conquest i t s e l f . This period saw a building up of pressure that almost inevitably led to conquest. By the mid-eighteenth century the English East India Company, faced with increasing French competition and possessed of a trading network (148) that already covered a l l of Asia,found i t had reached the l i m i t s of commercial expansion unless i t turned to m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l intervention, something the servants on the spot were more w i l l i n g to undertake than the Court of Directors. The Court of Directors and the B r i t i s h government de-spatched a large m i l i t a r y force to India i n the 1740s and 1750s to f i g h t the French and defend the Company against l o c a l anarchy. This move r e f l e c t e d the view at the center: the cardinal importance of engaging the French on a l l fronts. The rapidly expanding m i l i t a r y establishment ultimately provided the sub-imperialists on the periphery, where personal factors were as important as national and corporate concerns, with the necessary power to conquer Bengal. There i s some debate as to whether or not the motivation behind the despatch of men, ships, and arms to India i s best characterized as p o l i t i c o - s t r a t e g i c or as economic. This i s , however, a rather a r t i f i c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n , since the Anglo-French c o n f l i c t , although obviously transcending economics, was f i r m l y rooted i n economic and commercial competition. Long before the Anglo-French c o n f l i c t i n India took on a m i l i t a r y aspect i t was an economic and com-mercial battle and after the two nations began to wage war the stakes i n India continued to be economic. The purpose of t h i s thesis has been to gain as accurate a picture of the conquest of Bengal as possible when ...faced with numerous and often contradictory theories of conquest. The i n t e r -pretation presented here i s b a s i c a l l y a synthesis and modification of ex i s t i n g explanations. It has been argued that in order to best understand the B r i t i s h conquest of Bengal, starting i n 1757, i t has to be put i n a broader context'in both time and space. (149) The English East India Company was established i n 1600 and for 150 years p r i o r to conquest the Court of Directors i n England watched over the growth and development of a commercial empire i n Asia. This sprawling network of f a c t o r i e s provided the foundation from which, in the mid-eighteenth century, the Company's employees i n India were able to launch the Company on a campaign of conquest that would only end with B r i t a i n as the pre-eminent power i n a l l of the sub-continent. Throughout the f i r s t 150 years a pattern of confrontation between the Company and the various lev e l s of Indian government developed, i n which either side often resorted to force and occasionally war as a means of dealing with each other. Thus long before the Company had the c a p a b i l i t y to conquer India i t was none the less accustomed to conducting business with i t s sword in hand, a l b e i t on a very small scale. This approach became considerably more pronounced as the eighteenth century pro-gressed. In the eighteenth century the sub-continent grew increa-sin g l y unstable p o l i t i c a l l y as the previously great Mughal Empire declined. In f a c t , the European commercial expansion, of which the English Company was a representative, contributed to Mughal decline because i t diverted European-—Asian trade from i t s t r a d i t i o n a l overland routes, a development which undermined the Mughal Empire's economic base. , By the 1740s the Company's trade and the private trade of i t s servants were suffering due to both the increasing anarchy i n the sub-continent, and the accelerating competition of the French. This was occurring within the context of a global contest between the French and the B r i t i s h for hegemony over the expanding c a p i t a l i s t world-economy dominated by Europe. Under these c i r -(150) cumstances, the Court of Directors i n London shed i t s previous reluctance to resort to large scale military.operations to protect and expand the Company's trade, although i t did not-, foresee.«that s. t h i s p o l i c y would end with the acquisition of a t e r r i t o r i a l empire. The Court of Directors'and the B r i t i s h government's concern for t h e i r interests i n India led, by the mid 1740s, to the a r r i v a l i n the sub-continent of a substantial B r i i s h m i l i t a r y and naval force operating mainly on the Coromandel Coast. In the early years of conquest the ascent of the B r i t i s h was due less to the decline of the Mughals, which was gradual, and more to the rapid esca-l a t i o n of the Anglo-French c o n f l i c t . On the Coromandel Coast in the 1740s the Company's servants, beyond the surveillance of the authorities i n B r i t a i n , were able to wield t h e i r newly acquired m i l i t a r y power in a r e l a -t i v e l y independent fashion, using i t to serve t h e i r own personal ambitions and economic needs, as well as the interests of the Company. This sub-imperialism was often the moving force i n the Company's a c t i v i t i e s i n the Carnatic. And when Fort William i n Bengal was captured i n 1756 the Company's servants already had ten years of experience i n m i l i t a r y and p o l i t i c a l intervention on a 'large scale. Clive and Watson were able to quickly recapture Calcutta which was regarded as essential to the well-being of the Company's trading operation. But t h i s was only the beginning. After 1756 the servants and o f f i c e r s who controlled the B r i t i s h m i l i t a r y force i n Bengal, were able to use i t not only to protect and expand the Company's interests i n the province, but to acquire substantial fortunes for themselves through present-taking and private trade. The desire for a personal fortune, combined and (151) overlapped with t h e i r concern to protect the Company's pos i t i o n i n Bengal, spurred on Clive and the rest of the Englishmen to i n -volve themselves ever more deeply i n the p o l i t i c s of the province so that the Company had become the v i r t u a l r u l e r of Bengal: byithe early 1760s. (152) Postscript In 1765 Clive was sent back to Bengal by the Court of Directors to restore order to the Company's a f f a i r s t h e r e S h o r t l y after h i s a r r i v a l the Company was made Diwan. I n i t i a l l y Clive was not sure how the Company's new power should be exercised. However, he soon decided to i n s t i t u t e a "dual system" wherein, although the Company provided the m i l i t a r y force i n the province and managed the o f f i c e of Diwan i t s e l f , most of the administration remained i n Indian hands, while Englishmen, i n theory, were more r e s t r i c t e d i n t h e i r involvement i n Bengal's government and trade than previously. Clive' s "dual system" was not successful and, although he did eliminate the more flagrant abuses, Company ser-vants continued to use the Company's power i n the province to serve t h e i r own personal i n t e r e s t s . In 1773, by which time Warren Hastings was Governor of Bengal, the Nawab's remaining power was eliminated, making the Company the sole authority i n the province. 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