Asia 1796-1809 – part 2


Saturday 26th March 1796

The Peshwa’s minister Nana Furnavese has fled Poona and we hear his brother Moroba will be released from prison to replace him as minister.

Saturday 26th March 1796

The Company has decided to remove its establishment from the Andamans to Penang.

The Andamans Islands are not readily defensible. It is expected that British merchants will also remove once the troops have left.

Saturday 2nd April 1796

A Dutch frigate has arrived at Batavia with a copy of the treaty between France and the Netherlands. The Batavian government is directed by Amsterdam to act in accordance with the spirit of the treaty.

Saturday 9th April 1796

The English squadron in Eastern seas comprises Suffolk, Centurion, Resistance, Orpheus, Hobart and Swift.

The French and Dutch eastern fleets comprise Cybelle, Prudente, Minerva, Courier, Amazon, two armed Dutch ships and two cruisers as pilots.

Saturday 23rd April 1796

The establishment of the Indian Army is detailed. This is the revision ratified by parliament after consultation between Cornwallis for the Company and British Generals. It is supposed to assimilate service in the Indian army to the British terms.

Bengal: native cavalry – 4 regiments (about 500 men each); artillery – three battalions (half a regiment) each comprising five companies; small European engineering unit; European infantry – 3 regiments (each ten companies, totally 1,100 men per regiment); native infantry – 12 regiments (each totally 1,900 men).

Madras: Native cavalry – 4 regiments; artillery – 2 battalions; small European engineering unit; European infantry – 2 regiments; native infantry – 10 regiments.

Bombay: artillery – 1 battalion; small European engineering unit; European infantry – 1 regiment; native infantry – 4 regiments; Marine battalion

These establishments are based on the peace establishment fixed in 1786. Any additional corps since then will be likely formed into regiments under the new system.

Company’s officers will hold King’s commissions retrospective to 1783. Subalterns of 15 years service will become brevet captains. Infantry officers will rise through their own regiments to Lt Colonel and thereafter rise by rotation.

Commanders of corps with responsibility to provide the clothing of their men will continue to enjoy that perk except when on leave on which occasions it inures to the Lt Colonel.

General officers will be selected by CiC from Colonels of regiments in India. The peacetime establishment will be 6 Generals in Bengal, 4 at Madras and 2 at Bombay. They hold the appointment for 4 years and are liable to removal thereafter. They get 4,000 rupees a month in lieu of all former claims except camp equipment. For that they get 400 rupees in peace and 1,000 rupees in war, each per month. Each General officer is allowed a Brigade Major and an Aide-de-Camp with the usual allowances.

Leave – one third of field officers, one quarter of captains and one sixth of subalterns (after 10 years service) may take leave at any one time for up to 3 years without loss of rank or pay.

Retirement – permitted after 20 years service (including leaves). Retirement whilst on leave must take effect within 12 months arrival in England. Failure to notify retirement requires a return to India or loss of retirement benefits.

Double full batta is abolished. Revenue money to field officers is abolished.[67] Full batta will be assessed by the Company and is the highest allowance available to officers (except those in the Vizier’s service who will get what the Company deems fit). Half batta is allowed to officers of King’s companies and those officers at all the Presidencies.

Regulations are being made to establish reasonable costs of passage to / from Europe.

Recruiting to the Company’s service will be assimilated to the King’s service. A depot, similar to that for King’s regiments serving in India, will be established.

Saturday 23rd April 1796

Sallia Chilabi, the great Surat merchant, has several ships to conduct his own trade. His main export is cotton.

Saturday 23rd April 1796

Our expectation that Bajarow’s arrival at Poona would end the succession struggle in the Nizam’s lands was premature.

A confrontation continues between Bajarow and Dowlet Rao Sindhia who both have armies a few miles from Poona and have destroyed the local economy by plundering the farmers.

Nana Furnavese is at Sattarah and is using his considerable treasure to forge new alliances.

Dowlet Rao Sindhia has removed the Peshwa’s own guards and replaced them with those of several other Sirdars. We suppose he wishes to squeeze the Peshwa but he may have other reasons.

Saturday 30th April 1796

Three large ships are being built at Rangoon. One belongs to a Parsee and the other two are for Avery (the ingenious artist formerly of Bombay) and Dyer. Avery’s ship is said to be one of the strongest and finest ships ever built in Pegu. She will be launched later this month and be commanded by Kemp.

Saturday 30th April 1796

A list of 35 merchant ships passing St Helena between 2nd March – 5th May 1796 is published. They are 6 Americans, 1 Portuguese, 1 Dane, 1 Genoese and 26 British (including one warship). All the British, 4 Americans and the Portuguese ship are trading from India. The Dane is Batavia to Copenhagen and the Genoese from Manila to Hamburg.

Saturday 7th May 1796

The Danish ship Norway has arrived at Bombay from Batavia with news of a mortal plague that has taken off 30% of the town’s population. Many more are sick. Twenty Indiamen are laid-up in the roads as their crews are infected. Only two Dutch frigates could be sent to sea to patrol the straits.

Saturday 7th May 1796

Letters from London say the Dart has sailed to the Cape where she delivered £20,000 in specie to the garrison to pay the troops. She is to load stores for St Helena on her return to London.

At about the time of her sailing from the Downs, the Company chartered three more ships – Georgina, Spaeke and Carolina – for India.

Saturday 14th May 1796

To Let – The house at 11 Rampart Row is available to lease from 1st June at 70 rupees per month.

Saturday 21st May 1796

The return of the southerly winds has brought the Surat cotton fleet to Bombay.

Saturday 21st May 1796

This edition contains more detail of the plans to assimilate the Indian army to the British army.

  • Commission on Diwani[68] will no longer be allowed to field officers in either the King’s or Company army.
  • The Chief Engineer of a Presidency is to have the same allowances as a Commandant of Artillery and in return he may no longer partake in the value of public works or the materials used in their construction.
  • Senior officers will no longer be responsible for clothing their men. Clothing will be provided according to contract.
  • The rates of passage charged by commanders of Company ships have occasionally been exorbitant. They are to be regularised on reasonable terms.
  • The Company’s European force will be recruited on the same basis as H M forces. A depot will be created for both the Company’s and H M’s officers coming to India. The Company’s recruits will serve at this depot under officers on leave in England from India.[69]
  • A table of monthly pay and allowance for the Bombay army is shown at the end of the document. Half batta (payable in garrison or cantonment) exceeds salaries for all officers above Lieutenant. Full batta is payable in war time e.g. a Lieutenant gets 60 rupees pay, 24 rupees gratuity, 60 rupees half-batta = 144 rupees whilst in garrison or cantonment; in war he gets 60 rupees pay, 24 rupees gratuity, full batta of 120 rupees and 50 rupees for tent carriage = 254 rupees.

Saturday 28th May 1796

The Company’s fleet to Mocha departed 1st April from Surat under convoy of HMS Argonaut and the Company’s armed schooner Alert. This is a fleet of country ships for the Mocha trade.

On arrival on 26th April they found the 500 ton Dutch 20-gun ship Welfare in port. She belongs to the trader Rymsdyck of Batavia. She was seized by the Alert. She contained a rich cargo of sugar, spices and red wood but most of it had been landed and escaped the prize-takers.

Saturday 4th June 1796

Following the assimilation of the Indian and British armies, a long list of brevet promotions for senior Company officers is published. The Company has an aide-de-camp to the King in this list – Lt Colonel Colebrooke Nesbitt of the 52nd foot.

Saturday 4th June 1796

The long and difficult negotiation amongst the Marathas is concluded and the youngest son of Ragoba, Chimnajee Appa, has been selected as Peshwa. The widow of the late Peshwa first adopted the boy as her son. He was then invested at Poona on 26th May.

Most of the principal rulers – Dowlat Rao Sindhia, Purseram Bhow, Baba Firkia, etc., and the principal Brahmins gave obeisance. The lawful heir appears to be Badjerow, Chimnajee’s brother, and the latter was reluctant to take power whilst Badjerow remains a prisoner of Dowlat Rao Sindhia. Another (2nd) brother, Amrut Row, is living in religious seclusion at Juneer.

Saturday 4th June 1796

Jonathan Duncan, the new Bombay Governor, has toured his new Presidency and wishes to build a bridge to link Salsette with the mainland. He supposes the production of Salsette could relieve Bombay of most of its food imports. He commits government to pay a major part of the costs of the bridge.

Saturday 4th June 1796

A Tuscan ship arrived at Tranquebar via Mauritius recently with a cargo of brandy but caught fire and was totally destroyed.

Saturday 11th June 1796

Sir Charles Malet, the Company’s Resident at Poona, has arrived at Bombay to pass the rains (the summer monsoon June – September)

Saturday 11th June 1796

The Governor’s aide-de-camp Lt Wilson has left for Coolabah (Kolhapur) to remonstrate with the King, Ragojee Angria, concerning depredations on ships passing his shores that are supposedly protected by the Company’s pass.

Saturday 2nd July 1796

Letter from a British officer serving in the Maratha army, 18th June 1796:

The sudden death of the Peshwa precipitated the recent disturbances. Nana Furnavese sought to prevent Bajarow from succeeding as he expected it meant his (Nana’s) execution. He worked assiduously to this end for six months during which time the Empire was without a leader. He successively found and produced three children as potential Peshwa’s, each related in some way to the late departed. The concept of an infant succeeding to power is always popular with Maratha ministers as it permits a long Regency .

The only powerful supporter of Bajarow is Sindhia. Bajarow is a likable lad of 25 years with a clear sense of honour. Purseram Bhow and Bapu Firkia remain committed to Nana Furnavese. Holkar maintains a strict neutrality. After all three of Nana’s candidates had been discussed and rejected, Sindhia moved his army towards Juneer, where Bajarow was gaoled, apparently to release him and, it is supposed, place him on the musnud.

Nana could not oppose Sindhia so he sent Purseram to Juneer to release Bajarow first and create a debt of gratitude for his group. Alternatively, if he had the power, he might have been considering executing Bajarow, but this seems unlikely as the Bhow gave Bajarow an undertaking of support. On this occurrence, Sindhia brought his army close to Poona and came to interview Bajarow. Nana requested the Bhow to hand-over Bajarow to him but the Bhow refused. Nana has a reputation amongst the Marathas similar to Metternich or Talleyrand in European diplomacy.

On this refusal, Nana seems to have abandoned his personal career plans. He came to Bajarow with a promise of support. Nana admitted he had sought to thwart Bajarow’s chances but failed and he now submitted to Bajarow’s leadership. He said everything he had done was in the interests of the state. Bajarow was so impressed he forgave Nana, who is in any event an old man and won’t be around much longer, and gave him protection from Sindhia who would swat him (Nana) like a mosquito if he had a chance.

It was then discovered that the Imperial Treasury of the Marathas, containing some 200 million rupees according to the accounts, was actually empty. Nana departed for Sattara where he has 8,000 troops, while Bajarow and his supporters awaited the arrival of the Khelat with the special clothes and implements for his investiture. These were delayed. During the delay, Sindhia discovered the compassionate willingness of Bajarow to forgive Nana and sought to amend the former’s views by imprisoning him. He was unsuccessful. Sindhia then gaoled Bajarow’s brother Opporow (11 years old) in Poona and offered the Peshwa-ship to him but he declined it with considerable animation. Later the Bhow and Firkia returned to Poona and a few days later the Khelat arrived. By that time Opporow had been won-over and agreed to be installed as Peshwa. Bajarow’s wish to be friendly with all has left him deserted and friendless. The Bhow is created minister and Firkia is CiC. Sindhia got 10 million rupees from the Nizam for his military expenses but remains discontented.

Nana is renounced by all parties but is supposed to have the missing 200 million rupees of the Maratha Empire’s Treasury somewhere. He has left Sattara (after some of Sindhia’s force approached there) and is at Ryegur. Some of his family have been arrested to persuade him to come and talk. Bajarow has much popular support but democracy does not signify in Hindu politics. He has a talented adopted elder brother we should watch – he would be a useful man, either in politics or the army.

Saturday 9th July 1796

A bi-weekly postal service by sea has started between Surat and Bombay on Wednesday 13th July. It departs Bombay on Wednesdays and Saturdays and departs Surat on Mondays and Thursdays. Every letter and newspaper (up to 2 ozs) will cost 1 Candareen to post.

Saturday 9th July 1796

The conquest of the Moluccas was achieved by Admiral Rainier’s fleet on 16th February by obtaining the surrender of Amboinya (Ambon Island) and its dependencies without resorting to violence. The agreed terms of surrender are those offered by the Prince of Orange in his letter to Governors of Dutch colonies (The letter referred to in the Europe chapters that was required of the Prince as a term of his protection in England – it directed colonial governors to accept British garrisons in their ports, etc., for the duration of the war).

The fleet sailed from Malacca on 6th January after that place was conquered but a French squadron in the Banka Straits caused Rainier to put back for reinforcements. He then set out again on 18th January. The Orpheus captured a small Dutch brig near Banka that had been sent out from Batavia to investigate the progress of the British invasion.

On 16th February Rainier arrived off Amboinya and sent the Prince of Orange’s letter ashore which was accepted. The grenadiers landed next morning and the British flag was raised above the fort.

On 4th March Captain Gordon was left in command and the squadron sailed on to capture Banka Island which contains the famous tin mines.

Amboinya is famous for its production of nutmeg and sago. The nutmeg tree is similar to a small mango. Sago comes from a palm tree like the coconut. It is produced from the pith of the fruit by a process we learned from the natives.

Saturday 9th July 1796

The Editor of Bombay Courier has commenced translating and publishing items from the Mughal’s Court newspaper. The originals are Persian. Few ships are visiting and he has little European news to offer.

Extraordinary Tuesday 12th July 1796

Another extensive slew of Indian army promotions (2 pages) following the assimilation of the Indian and British armies.

Saturday 23rd July 1796

Some secret information has been received by the Company from London via Suez. No-one will say what it is but Calcutta insurers have concurrently raised premiums on voyages through the Bay of Bengal.

Saturday 23rd July 1796

Madras Presidency has appointed a commercial agent to the Spice Islands to supervise the spice monopoly we have just acquired there.

Saturday 30th July 1796

The reorganisation of the Indian army continues. 11 new surgeons are required to complete the establishment of 142 surgeons.

Saturday 30th July 1796

The Marathas have some democratic institutions. Any Maratha soldier who has not been paid for his services has a claim which he can take to the Peshwa and expect a personal audience and redress.

The Company would consider it mutiny but the Marathas allow such practices. The Peshwa has on occasions even been restrained by such claimants.[70]

Saturday 30th July 1796

Some part of the Peshwa’s treasure, removed from Poona by Nana Furnavese (and Sri Munt Bahadur), is said to be buried under the fort of Lowghur.

Purseram Bhow heard of it and sent men to secretly discover if it was true. The Governor of Lowghur heard of Purseram’s move and arrested the Brahmins of Lowghur who were helping him.

Saturday 6th August 1796

The Company’s armed cruisers Rodney, Queen, Princess Royal and Princess Augusta will in future be stationed at Surat to protect the trade between Surat and Cambay.

Saturday 6th August 1796

The troops and stores who will perform garrison duties at Amboinya will sail from Bombay on 19th September.

Saturday 6th August 1796

Nana Furnavese has written to Dowlat Rao Sindhia in July saying he will return the money taken from the Poona treasury if Sindhia will support the coronation of Bajarow as Peshwa and allow Nana to be minister. Sindhia is poor – he cannot pay his troops until this year’s harvest is in – he might find this offer irresistible.

Saturday 6th August 1796

M/s Steuart Maudsley & Co of Calcutta are making a magnificent state carriage for the King of Ava. It will be ready in December. The King asked for a European carriage long ago and, during Capt Symes recent embassy to Ava, its design and general appearance were agreed.

The Company is paying the bills in the hope this gift will make the King more tolerant of our trade.

Extraordinary, Sunday 7th August 1796

The Laurel has arrived at Bombay from Basra with despatches for government dated up to 19th April. She has continental newspapers to 12th April and London papers to 26th March.[71]

The India Company has agreed to supply the British government with 3,000 seamen at 35 guineas per head.

Saturday 20th August 1796

When the Indiaman Earl Wycombe left the Cape, the 2nd battalion of the 78th regiment which had been brought there in six transports, had just arrived. The transports were then loaded with wheat and sent back to London.

Saturday 3rd September 1796

The Directors have written to the Governor-General on 22nd March to say they have appointed 48 cadets to the Company’s service in India this year.

Saturday 10th September 1796

India news;

  • Ahmed Khan, son of the late Nabob of Broach, has returned to India. He left a few years ago with his two brothers to petition the Company’s Court in London for a pension.
  • His brother Aherodeen Khan received the pension on behalf of the family and returned 2 years ago. Ahmed and the remaining brother went to France to research the revolution. They stayed for over a year. Ahmed’s brother then died and Ahmed joined Verniac’s French embassy to Constantinople to bring the body home. Whilst in Turkey he was introduced to the Vizier and the Grand Seignior (Porte).[72]
  • The King of Baba, on Madagascar, whose subjects saved many of the crew of the Winterton, has been sent some piecegoods, liquor and guns by the Company in recognition of the kind services of his people. In view of the passage of time, he was unsure why we were giving him presents.When we finally got him to understand, he considered it a part of his peoples’ duty. He was pleased with the cloth and the alcohol but did not know what to make of the guns.

Saturday 17th September 1796

Local news:

  • The Governor-General directed that an assessment of all land and buildings in the towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras (excluding houses worth less than 30 rupees and all religious institutions) be held for the purpose of raising a tax to fund the watching, cleaning and maintenance, etc., of the said towns.
    In Bombay the process concluded on 31st January 1796. The rate is 5% of the assessed value of the lands and / or buildings. Captain Brookes made the schedule of involved properties. He will superintend a police for Bombay and receive a monthly salary of 100 rupees for the service. His police establishment will cost 750 rupees monthly.
    Governor Duncan has appointed James Douglas Richardson as scavenger and Francis Warden as temporary Collector of Rates on a salary of 260 rupees until the arrival of James Hallett, the permanent Collector. The Company has been providing watchmen since February 1794 at its own expense and this has promoted tranquillity. The rates will be backdated to that date.
  • The axle length of all wheeled vehicles used in Bombay must be 5’ 9” and the wheels themselves must be 2½” – 4” wide. Carpenters are to construct all future wheeled vehicles to these specifications.
  • All slaves are to be registered free of charge with the Superintendent of Police. Any slave who is not registered will be considered as a freeman.
  • All commercial activity obstructing the streets of Bombay is to cease. Street festivals must be approved by the Superintendent of Police.

Saturday 17th September 1796

The disputes of the Marathas may be complicated by the arrival in Bombay of two Portuguese from Goa. They have been given 5,000 rupees by one of the Hindu factions to raise a battalion.

Saturday 24th September 1796

The state carriage for the King of Ava is completed and will be taken on the Swallow packet to Pegu by Captain Cox, who will then become the Company’s Resident at Pegu, but living at Rangoon.

Saturday 1st October 1796

The Fax Cawdry, a ship of the great Surat cotton merchant Chilabi, was chartered by the Company to bring its annual coffee purchases to Bombay from Mocha but has foundered on the Arabian coast. Some of the crew and the Company’s supercargoes have been saved.

The Company’s broker (Resident) at Mocha reports two ships arrived recently from the Far East, one Arab and the other Danish, bringing sugar and nutmegs which have sold so well they have returned to the East for another cargo.

On the Arab ship also went the Captain of Batavia’s Welfare, the Dutch ship which was captured at Hodeidah by HMS Arrogant. He has sufficient funds remaining to him to invest in the venture.

Saturday 1st October 1796

The Dublin has arrived Madras on 10th September from Europe bringing Company officers and men, four cadets and a writer. The cadets are J P Benfield, M Kitchen, Jackson and Wakefield.[73]

Saturday 1st October 1796

The Muslims Mustapha Khan, Mahomed Punnah and others have petitioned Dowlat Rao Sindhia concerning a violent confrontation between the Muslims and Hindus of Ujjain, the capital of Malwa.

The town’s governor supports the Hindus and has confined the Muslims to their houses. Mustapha Khan and his group seek for permission to visit Ujjain and assist their fellow believers.

Saturday 1st October 1796

The great appeal that was to be heard in the House of Lords in the financial dispute between Muhammed Ali Khan Wallajah, the Nabob of Arcot (the Carnatic), and the Company has been postponed.

The Nabob has died and James MacPherson, his Agent in England, has co-incidentally also died.[74]

Saturday 8th October 1796

There are occasional Notices concerning disciplinary proceedings against the Company’s military officers. One involving Captain Robert Honner is in this edition. They seldom succeed – military defendants seem to be always discharged.

Saturday 8th October 1796

The American ship Louisa has arrived here from Batavia. She reports the only exports available from that port are sugar ($4.50 per picul) and arrack. There was a single frigate afloat – all the other shipping is rotting and most has been hauled up on shore. There are no crews to man them.

Saturday 15th October 1796

M/s Ramsey and Elphinstone (the Company’s coffee buyers) have returned from Mocha and confirm the loss of the Faz Cawdry with her cargo of the Company’s Mocha coffee. She left Mocha on 25th August for Bombay and was off Socotra when a storm commenced. They threw 300 bales of coffee overboard to lighten the ship but were unable to save her. They took to the boats.

On 3rd September they landed in Oman and hired two small ships. They bought a quantity of dates and water for the voyage. They sailed after 11 days (14th September) to Muscat. The remainder of the Faz Cawdry cargo and one million rupees in cash has been lost.

Most of the crew was saved but 200 pilgrims returning from Mecca are unaccounted for.

Saturday 29th October 1796

Solicitation of bottomry bonds – Capt Charles Lennox of the Woodford contemplates a voyage to Canton and London and invites loans payable 90 days after arrival London in sums of 1,000 – 4,000 rupees. Please indicate the terms of your loan.

(Next week Capt Whitford of the Company’s ship Exeter makes the same invitation for investments of 5,000 – 40,000 rupees)

Saturday 29th October 1796

Another long list of promotions for senior army officers made by CiC India on 29th September. 28 Colonels made Major General; 23 Lt Colonels made Colonel; 44 Majors to be Lt Colonel; 140 Capts made Major.

Editor – the great number of promotions in our army requires a new military list which we are preparing and will publish next Tuesday, 3 rupees.

Saturday 5th November 1796

From a local Persian-language newspaper:

On 26th and 27th October a combination of Sindhia’s great military strength and Nana’s great wealth (the treasury of the late Peshwa) has brought the long and acrimonious disputes of the Marathas to a close.

Purseram Bhow resisted to the last and tried to flee with Chimnajee Appa, the new young Peshwa, but was caught. His friends and the old ministers of Sindhia are the losers in the settlement.

Two hundred former officials are under arrest. Baba Firkia is in control of the government of Poona. Even the Nizam of Hyderabad’s minister is a party to the new coalition.

The settlement is well done as agricultural production in the Maratha territories has been little disturbed and Maratha commerce should quickly soon resume its usual prosperous condition.

Saturday 12th November 1796

Bombay Governor’s Proclamation, 11th November 1796:

The Chief of Surat has been redirecting all shipping from his port to Red Sea or Persian Gulf ports. Foreigners have been inconvenienced and delayed in shipping their goods to Bombay.

The Chief of Surat is removed from superintendence of the shipping and is prohibited from business with all commercial concerns except the Honorable Company.

It is unnecessary to pay him for any services he may profess to provide at Surat. He may not lend on respondentia to any ship trading at Surat or on any goods imported to or exported from that port.

His duty is limited to providing impartial protection to the trade of the port under the existing (or any future) Regulations. The trade of Surat is open to anyone legally entitled to be involved in it.[75]

Saturday 12th November 1796

Acknowledgement – A Parsee priest (Mobed) named Beramjee Jeejeebhoy and his friend Nursunjee Cowasjee have provided a font of Gujerati (Banian) characters to the Bombay Courier office.

In future, advertisements in Gujerati will be accepted and published on the usual terms. A sample is shown. The font was made over a period of 3½ years of continuous effort.

Saturday 26th November 1796

The Maratha states appear to be calming down. Their merchants have returned to the Bombay bazaar bringing the usual produce of their lands.

Wednesday 30th November 1796 Extraordinary

A Dutch fleet arrived at the Cape in early August and surrendered to the British. It was supposed to meet-up with a French fleet and re-occupy Capetown but they did not meet and the British fleet opposed them at sea whilst a British army denied them to land. They anchored in Saldanha Bay and Elphinstone’s fleet approached which, it is said, they mistook for the French.

The Dutch Rear Admiral Lucas manned the yards and saluted whereupon Elphinstone unfurled British colours. Lucas surrendered on 17th August without firing a shot. Admiral Lucas commanded 3 capital ships, 5 frigates, a sloop and a large storeship loaded with the supplies and a battering train for the reduction of the Capetown fort. A large number of the sailors in his fleet, who include many Swedes and Danes, then agreed to enter British service.

The strange thing is that the Dutch expected to connect with the French Admiral Richery but he sailed from Cadiz and went cruising in the Mediterranean only days before the Dutch were captured. It seems he was unaware of the plan – Anglophile Hollanders in the Dutch navy?

This FrancoDutch expedition appears to have been intended to be a major attempt to recover the Cape and re-open the route to eastern seas to their navy and commerce. They will have to look for another way to the East.

Wednesday 30th November 1796 Extraordinary

On 1st August a special Court of Directors was opened to consider the despatches received from the fleet which arrived late July from Asia.

It was comprised of 3 ships from Bombay, 5 from Madras, 10 from Bengal, 4 from China and two whalers Sims and Edward from the south seas.

Saturday 10th December 1796

A counter-revolution has occurred in the Maratha States. Nana Furnavese has triumphed. Savoy Bajarow was made Peshwa on 4th December. Neither Dowlat Rao Sindhia nor Tukojee Holkar were present. Chimnajee Appa is minister (furnavese) and Nana is nominally the Deputy Dewan but actually in charge.

The Maratha States contain the best part of the Indian peninsula. It has taken over a year to settle the succession. Our Resident at Poona[76] did not recognise the previous short-lived regime which has put him in good odour with the new leaders.

Saturday 17th December 1796

Dowlat Rao Sindhia has sent a Portuguese officer from his court to the Governor of Goa, Francisco Antonio da Viega Cabral, with presents from the Grand Mughal Shah Allum. (Sindhia has many nationalities in his Court.) These are great marks of favour.

Major Filose of the Portuguese forces arranged the escort for the Khelat from Sattara that was required for the investiture of a new Peshwa. The Khelat is the trappings of sovereignty – mostly jewelled necklaces. By thus protecting it, he won for Portugal the gratitude of the Mughal Emperor. We suppose this is the reason for the presents.[77]

Savoy Bajarow is the new Peshwa and Nana Furnavese is his Minister. This counter-revolution was achieved peacefully on 27th October. Until that day the Bhow’s administration had appeared stable. An immense army was being assembled at Poona to march against Nana Furnavese. It comprised the combined forces of Holkar, Sindhia, the Grand Mughal and the new Peshwa’s men, but Maratha disputes are more often settled with money than violence.

On 11th October the Marathas celebrated their Dussara (a festival in which they tear up a field of ripe grain as a reminder of their predatory origins) then their forces set off. Nana’s men detached the Nizam of Hyderabad by granting him a release from his hard treaty. Then Sindhia was bought over by Nana with 20 million rupees and induced to dismiss his minister who fronted the war party (on the grounds he had indiscreetly met with some of Sindhia’s relatives who had a better claim to the leadership than Sindhia himself).

The Minister’s job went to Ramjee Patel, a relative of Sindhia’s. This removed Purseram Bhow’s support and he had to leave Poona, taking the young Peshwa with him for security. On 27th October Poona was filled with the Nizam’s troops and the revolution was effortlessly effected. Purseram surrendered the Peshwa and Nana made a triumphant return.

Sir Charles Malet has interviewed Nana. He and his party of four each received valuable presents before the discussions commenced. He afterwards visited Savoy Bajerow and commended him to co-operate with Nana.[78]

Saturday 17th December 1796

The Asiatic Mirror reports a treaty of alliance and friendship has been concluded between the Peshwa of Poona and the Nizam al Mulk of Hyderabad. This contains the softer terms mentioned above. Major Kirkpatrick, the Company’s Resident at Hyderabad, has sent a copy to Calcutta.

All the territory the Nizam lost to the Marathas at the peace of Kerdlah is restored to him and the security bond of 20 million rupees that he was compelled to provide is cancelled. The Nizam’s minister, Mushire al Mulk, who was held by the Marathas as security for performance of the peace terms at Kerdlah, is released and is returning to Hyderabad.

The Nizam was one of our first allies in India[79] and his successful negotiations are good news for us as well as him.

Saturday 17th December 1796

Dutch Colonials at the Cape are disaffected to British rule. Their opposition is based on the town of Graaf Reinet in the Karoo. A detachment of 1,000 British troops is marching there to obtain their submission.

Saturday 31st December 1796

Capt Barfoot of the Company’s ship Nottingham is selling his entire investment for the London / Bombay leg of his voyage at the Tavern Warehouse. It is comprised of food and drink – claret, cheese, ham, pickles, pearl barley, preserved confections.

His ship is retained on the Indian coast temporarily (it cannot sail to China against the winter monsoon) and will resume its journey to China in the Spring.

Saturday 31st December 1796

The Madras Courier of 13th December says Admiral Rainier has returned to Malacca from Amboinya and will come on via Penang to Madras.


All the 1797 editions of the newspaper are missing.


Tuesday 2nd January 1798

The Bombay Courier printer is now recorded as Joseph Burne.

Saturday 6th January 1798

The cotton from Broach and Jambooseer spontaneously ignites after baling. The merchants of Bombay suspect the sellers are wetting the cotton as it is sold by weight. They permit interested Insurance Companies to inspect the cotton and will not load any bale the surveyors deem objectionable. Agents at Surat will retain a personal liability to ensure all bales are dry. Any damp bales will be returned and their accounts adjusted for the return. The Bombay Insurance Office will station surveyors at the cotton screws in Surat to inspect all cotton before baling.

Sgd – Bruce Fawcett & Co, Forbes Smith & Co, Alexander Adamson, Pestonjee Bomanjee, Cowasjee Rustomjee.

Saturday 6th January 1798

On 29th December 1797, Dowlat Rao Sindhia arrested Nana Furnavese, the minister of the Peshwa at Poona and the de facto controller of Maratha business. The Corps of Arabs in Nana’s pay was disbanded. Nana has ruled the Empire for 20 years.

Saturday 6th January 1798

The Dutch have one Asian factory remaining – at Ternate in the north Moluccas.

Saturday 6th January 1798

Admiral Rainier now at Penang has information that two French frigates have departed Marseilles for the East. They are ordered to have no communications with Mauritius. Perhaps our ability to extract information from that island is suspected.

Saturday 13th January 1798

Notice – Sallia Chilabi, the Surat merchant, has died.[80] His ship Stambole, 752 tons (suitable for the carriage of 3,000 bales of cotton) that was launched at Surat three years ago and brought to Bombay but not subsequently traded, is for sale by private contract.

Contact Forbes Smith & Co., 30th December 1797.

Saturday 13th January 1798

House of Commons, 19th July – Dundas introduced a Bill to deter the India Company from lending money to native Princes in India.

Now is not the time; London’s need is greater.

Sir John Sinclair objected to the speed the Bill was being forced through. The Bill was read twice and sent to committee (there are judicial clauses as well). It was then read a third time, passed, and sent to the Lords.

Saturday 20th January 1798

Letters from Poona suggest that Nana’s brother Moroba is likely to be installed as minister to the Peshwa. Orders have gone to Ahmednaggur to call him from prison to Poona. It has cost Sindhia 10 million Rupees to release him.

The old players are all confined. Purseram Bhow is a prisoner at Mundagong, a town of Holkar’s in Bijapur District, and needs to pay 1 million Rupees for his release.

The Portuguese Colonel Filose who arrested Nana has been rewarded with the Jaghire of Jamboseer. Nana’s Corps of Arabs are negotiating for back pay and will then march to Gujerat.

It appears the Confederation is now under the control of the Patel Sindhia and somewhat of Holkar. The Grand Mughal himself is expected to have to submit to those two. This has caused the Mughal to consider a closer connection with the Company, which, he now says, has treated him respectfully. He is having a meeting with Sir John Shore to explore the possibilities.

Lumsden, the Company’s Resident in Oudh, and General Martin, the French commander of the Mughal’s armies, have gone to meet Shore with a great deputation from the Mughal. On meeting, the Mughal gave Shore an elephant, eight horses and a palanquin.

Saturday 27th January 1798

The Queen has arrived at Madras from London and the Cape. She reports the seamen of the fleet at Capetown (Admiral Pringle’s fleet) have mutinied for the same terms obtained by the mutineers in the home fleet. Many officers were confined by their crews and others were sent ashore.

The Admiral then told the mutineers that the terms of employment they desire have been made available to all British sailors (as a result of the mutinies in England). It was the first they knew of it.

Whilst the seamen considered the matter, a Danish ship arrived at the Cape having left London on 8th July and brought printed news of the end of the mutiny at the Nore and the execution of Parker and the other ringleaders. This spread through the fleet instantly and the rebellious seamen then returned to discipline.

Admiral Pringle says there is no need to punish anyone.

Saturday 3rd February 1798

Sindhia’s siege of Kolhapur has resulted in the surrender of Jeysing Angria and his two brothers who have all been sent to Poona under the charge of Captain Alleman, one of the Company’s officers seconded to Sindhia’s army.

Saturday 10th February 1798

The two big commercial firms at Madras now are Colt, Baker, Day & Co and Kindersley Watts & Co.

Saturday 10th February 1798

India Gazette 15th January – Calcutta news:

  • The Nabob of Arcot’s ship Success Galley (Binney) has arrived Calcutta with a cargo from Susu in Sumatra.
  • The snow Peggy (Carey) has arrived from Rangoon which she left 6th January. The port is actually closed by the King but Carey slipped away at night. He reports that Cox, the Company’s Resident at Rangoon, has returned from Ava without making any progress in his negotiations with the King. He was pleading on behalf of two English merchants who took a considerable shipment of Indian goods to Ava but were not allowed to trade and sent away. They thought they were entitled to trade under the English version of Simes’ recent treaty. Cox went up but could make no progress as the Burmese are in dispute with the Thais and were too busy to discuss trade. Some 15,000 men have marched from Ava for the Thai frontier. Another 15,000 are at Pegu.[81]

Saturday 24th February 1798

Duncan, the new President of Council and Governor of Bombay has set aside 09.30 – 11.00 am on Wednesdays for anyone who wishes to interview him to discuss business.

Saturday 24th February 1798

Dowlat Rao Sindhia got Colonel Firose, the Portuguese attaché at Poona, to give Nana his word of honour he would be unharmed as an inducement to get the minister into his camp. Nana trusted Firose.

On his entry, Sindhia immediately claimed he was instructed by the Peshwa to arrest Nana and his supporters and did so. This occurred in January.

Firose is purportedly furious at the abuse of his reputation.

Nana’s Brigade of Arabs have been paid 23,000 rupees for arrears of pay. They were supposed to withdraw to Sind but most of them are in service around Poona and a large minority have marched to Gujerat. Nevertheless, Sindhia is the supreme military leader of the Marathas whilst Nana has the money. They cannot co-exist as equals.

Saturday 3rd March 1798

The Company’s Indiaman Raymond requires finance for her return cargo to London and the Captain is offering the managing owner’s (Henry Boulton) 90-day Bills on London in repayment.

Interested parties contact Capt Smedley before 15th March.

Saturday 3rd March 1798

The House of Commons debated the Indian Judicature Bill on 7th June:

The following anomalies in the administration of India at Madras and Bombay are to be addressed by parliament:

  • The law prohibiting usurious loans is ineffective because Company servants use local chaps as nominees. We need a new clause creating a misdemeanour of lending one’s name for loan purposes.
  • Englishmen in India who send property back to Europe in the ships of the Dutch, Swedes and Danes, etc., risk confiscation of their money / goods. Such activity is proscribed under the 1793 Charter Act. Employees should be aware that European governments might use the apparent illegality to distrain the property.
  • The 1793 Charter gave the King power to appoint judges in India. These judges have instituted a vast array of fees and charges that make the settlement of disputes an expensive affair. Parliament needs to regulate these fees. It also needs to provide pensions to retiring judges. By regulating fees and reducing the numbers and salaries of court clerks, a fund for judicial pensions will be created.
  • All the new lands acquired by Lord Cornwallis (mainly Tippoo’s lands) and since then, are not included within formal British legal jurisdiction. We need provincial courts with knowledge of the regional language to settle disputes in these new lands.

The Bills were presented at a General Court of the Company on 12th July. The Judicial Bill brings an end to the Mayor’s Courts.

Henchman MP said the total annual cost of justice in India was at present £500. He feared it would increase enormously under this Bill. He also noted the problem of usurious loans and lamented that the Board of Control had just paid £1.2 millions to loan-sharks.[82]

Lawyer Rous had represented the Company in the parliamentary debate. His argument was that the Judicial Bill violated the 1793 Charter. It was alarming because of the expense it placed on the Company. A Puisne judge in India would get £6,000 pa, three times the salary of a judge at Westminster. A judge of the Indian Supreme Court would get £8,000 pa.

Jackson MP, another Director, said the Company’s immense army had seized Indian lands and provided a new source of profits of which the British economy was the major recipient. The Company already pays £500,000 a year to the public (government) as a licence fee and should be protected from further looting. This is the first occasion since 1784 (when the Board of Control was created) that the Company has asked for protection. He also objected to the King developing new sources of patronage in India – the judges would be less independent.[83]

Saturday 3rd March 1798

A shareholders’ meeting was held at India House on 28th June to consider a Bill before parliament concerning the trade of India with foreign countries. It will permit trade to the ships of British allies. It is one of the inducements that Pitt’s ministry is holding-out to European countries to ally with England.

The shareholders were told this Bill will materially diminish the Company’s profits to the advantage of private British merchants. It was resolved to protect the trade of private British merchants so far as the law permitted and to defend the Company’s Chartered rights and privileges, particularly the right to compensation for infringements.

In the subsequent Commons debate Dundas said foreign merchants had been going to India for ages and it was inappropriate for a British parliament to restrict that right by domestic legislation. However, the case of British merchants differed because they were caught by the monopoly privileges granted to the Company under domestic legislation.

Lushington agreed. The Company’s merchant fleet could not adequately supply all Europe with Eastern goods. We not only have no grounds to exclude foreigners from India but actually we need them to help in carrying the trade.

Saturday 10th March 1798

Philip Dundas, the Admiralty Agent in Bombay, has advertised that the Commissioners of the Admiralty wish to sell 90-day Bills on London.

Saturday 10th March 1798

Madras news:

  • Lord Hobart left Madras on 20th February and General Harris succeeds him pro tem. The Chief Merchant, Saunders, who expected Hobart’s job, has resigned.
  • Colonel Palmer, the newly appointed British Resident at Poona, is expected to arrive there on 25th March. Palmer’s replacement, Colonel Collins (ex military secretary to the Governor-General), will be the new Resident to Dowlat Rao Sindhia. He is expected to take up his appointment soon.

Saturday 10th March 1798

On the conclusion of our war with Tippoo, the Company received a huge land grant and our Indian ally, the Marathas, got another large tract of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s land that produces an estimated 3.6 million Rupees annually. This tract has now been given back to the Nizam by Nana Furnavese.

Saturday 10th March 1798

8th March 1798 – Mr Burnaby launched his beautiful schooner from the Bombay marine yard. It is the first large ship built here.

Sunday 11th March Extraordinary

Lord Mornington (later Wellesley) has sailed in HMS Virginie from Cowes on 10th November to take up the Governor-General’s job here.

Saturday 17th March 1798

A letter from the Director’s of 9th May 1797 to the Bombay President-in-Council says a general history of the Company’s activities in India and China is being made by the Company’s historiographer.

Anyone with information on the subject should send it to the Bombay Committee (Philip Dundas, Robert Taylor, Philip Samuel Maister, Nathan Crow and Major Joseph Boden) who will organise the data. Everyone should co-operate with the Committee.

Saturday 17th March 1798

The Company’s annual sales at Bombay will commence on 23rd March. A large quantity of British woollens plus 100 tons lead, 90 tons copper and 60 tons of tin will be sold by auction.

Saturday 17th March 1798

Features of the new Judicature Act:

  • It exempts the Governor and his Council members from criminal liability except in cases of treason or felony.
  • It exempts them from arrest or imprisonment for civil liability.
  • They are granted complete protection from liability for their public acts.
  • The Indian revenues are also beyond the Court’s jurisdiction as are matters involving landowners or farmers.
  • All Indians employed by the Company will be subject to the new Court. The old Mayor’s Court and Court of Oyer and Terminer are assimilated in a new Recorder’s Court.
  • A new offence is created for British subjects lending money to native Princes. Any bonds or other paper securities taken by British lenders as security for such loans are declared void. The Court of Directors is given ultimate control of any prosecutions commenced under this clause.
  • The Act allows Indians to be tried in accordance with their traditional law.

The omission of revenue cases from the Court’s jurisdiction is strange. In Bengal the Governor-General-in-Council is a Court of Record for revenue appeals but there is no similar forum in Bombay or at Madras. As there is no judicial means for the governments of Bombay and Madras to enforce payment of revenue, there will be predictable difficulties.

Saturday 17th March 1798

Letter from Rangoon, 19th January – The Thais are winning the war with Burma and our trade is affected. Mostly, we buy Burmese hardwood but sometimes all the timber is requisitioned by government, at others all the stevedores are taken away for public works. We have difficulty in both buying and loading our cargoes. Cox, the Company’s Resident, is expected to leave Rangoon for Calcutta soon and all the foreigners will likely follow him.

The Saphonata Rajah (Smith) arrived from Calcutta on 27th December with cargo for the Resident but, on off-loading, it was taken to the King’s warehouse for searching. Cox objected but the only alternative offered was to reload the cargo and take it away, which was ultimately done.

Cox then assembled all the British ship-masters and asked them to cease trade with Burma until the King provided better protection. They agreed. On 3rd January this hiatus persuaded the Rangoon Viceroy to desist and trade resumed as before.

Then on 6th January the government embargoed all timber exports. Cox remonstrated and got the Viceroy’s agreement to a compromise permitting the shipping in port to load the balance of their required timber cargoes for this one voyage only.

Saturday 24th March 1798

Sir John Shore is leaving India. He and his family are sailing to Kedgeree in the Government Yacht to meet the fleet and return to London on it.

Sir John has Tofussil Hussain Khan with him. He was the Minister of the late Nabob of Oudh and will return with Shore to London to brief Pitt’s ministry on the situation at Lucknow.[84]

Saturday 24th March 1798

Letter of Indian army officers in England to the Directors, 9th May 1797:

We have learned that you have invested Lord Cornwallis with authority to transfer all European troops in Indian service to the British army which will thereafter be responsible for the defence of India.

European troops have been fundamental to British military success in the East – the exploits of Clive, Lawrence and Coote are well known. Had European regiments been augmented in line with territorial acquisitions, they would as easily maintain the Empire today as their fathers acquired it yesterday. They are equivalent to British army regiments in every respect except drill.

If British regiments are sent out to garrison India they will be enervated by the weather until acclimatised. Their officers will have no experience of command of native regiments. You should recall that the French, who were the first to raise sepoy regiments, never made them formidable because they denied them European leadership. Officers in French native regiments were natives and always considered themselves inferior to French regiments.

On the other hand, if it is your position that there are too many European troops in India we suggest you ask for the recall of H M regiments before disturbing our own.

The Indian Army published its own Magna Charta to your Court in 1794. We told you then our independence is essential. We expressly warned you against transferring the artillery or European infantry (the British bits of the army) or relieving those corps from England or separating European officers from native regiments, or in any way diminishing the equality between European and Native regiments. We also requested for the same access to English recruits that the British army has. The basic requirement, if you wish to have an army tackle the most arduous duty, is to inspire it with confidence and a high opinion of its power. Whatever has an opposite effect will diminish the usefulness of the army and tend to make it contemptible.[85]

Sgd – Lt Colonel Wm Flint, 4 majors, 11 captains and 5 lieutenants.

Cornwallis replied to Henry Dundas, 15th May:

The weakness of the Indian army arises from its system of promotion by seniority. This destroys energy and motivation. Duty becomes secondary to length of service. Indian officers, having incurred the displeasure of their seniors, transfer to another corps and avoid reasonable censure and guidance – all esprit de corps is lost. The only thing in favour of promotion by seniority is the avoidance of patronage but we can mitigate that through regulation.

Actually these officers are disingenuous. They are not really concerned that the native regiments will be devalued. On the contrary they all want to be transferred to native regiments and they fear to be devalued in that occupation by having additional European officers thrown back on the native regiments by this proposal.

In my 7 years in India I found only one field officer whom I could prevail upon to remain in a European regiment after he reached that level of seniority that allowed him to transfer to a native one. This is in spite of the fact that I gave a larger share of the off-reckoning funds to the field officers of European regiments (i.e. its a monetary incentive to transfer – that is why they do not want H M officers joining-in and increasing the number of shares)

Saturday 31st March 1798

The Appeal in the case of Balcrustna Purshotum v Miguel de Lima e Souza and Philip Samuel Maister has been abandoned due to the death of the Appellant.

By Order of John Morris, Registrar of the Appeals Court.

Saturday 31st March 1798

A package of letters has arrived from Mr Manesty, the Company’s Resident at Basra. He received some of them from Mr Baldwin, the Company’s Resident at Alexandria.

Baldwin reports the Company’s cruiser Panther (Speke) is at Suez. The Alert (Skinner) will sail tomorrow to Basra with the monthly overland packet for Europe.

Saturday 31st March 1798

Lt Colonel Collins, formerly the Mayor of Fort William, is appointed Resident to the Court of Dowlat Rao Sindhia, replacing Colonel Palmer.

Saturday 7th April 1798

The overland route through the desert between Suez and Cairo is infested with Arab bandits. They delay our communications via the Red Sea and Egypt.

Saturday 7th April 1798

The Bombay community has been distracted by a huge tomb that Dadi Nasservanjee, the chief of the Parsees, is erecting on the Malabar Hills. The tomb is circular, about 40 feet in diameter, with a small iron door at the east. Within is a stone platform against the outer wall from which a declivity runs to a circular pit at the centre about 10 feet in diameter. The platform has two concentric circles divided into some 30 radial compartments, each appropriate for a single body. The upper larger circle is for adults and the lower narrower circle is for children. Each compartment has a channel to drain fluids to the central pit. This pit is 8 feet deep and surrounded by masonry. There are four huge underground drains from the central pit which, in the monsoon, carry off the effluent. The unique feature is an iron grille roofing to protect the bodies from birds of prey.

There is a subterranean part that cannot be viewed. The purpose of Parsee funerary rites is to avoid defiling the earth with human remains. One of the important means of purifying the effluent is the use of hundreds of iron nails around the central pit that emanate out to the circumference. These are interlaced with cotton thread, through which the juices flow so all fibrous matter is retained and only liquid drains away.

Saturday 14th April 1798

The latest twist in the Maratha succession:

Nana Furnavese was imprisoned on 1st January and on 9th March was transferred to Ahmednaghur.

Sindhia then detached a force against Lowghur where the Maratha treasure that Nana stole at the outset of the struggle is rumoured to be hidden. Its about 30 miles from Poona.

Saturday 28th April 1798

The latest overland dispatches hint that Pitt will introduce legislation to permit privately-owned British-built ships to trade from India to England. The restrictions and imposts are said to be so moderate as to amount to a free trade.

Wednesday 2nd May 1798 Extraordinary

The King has made several new elevations in the Irish peerage. Our former Governor-General of India Sir John Shore is now Baron Teignmouth.

Saturday 5th May 1798

The price of Surat cotton has declined from the exorbitant rates reached early this season. It is now offered at 105 rupees per Candy and is likely to drop more.

Buyers have been deterred by the suspected habit of some Surat merchants to wet their cotton before baling to increase weight. Now we are using steam-baling to create tighter bales, this dampness is thought to have caused the increased incidence of spontaneous combustion in our ships.

We have responded appropriately. Sir Charles Malet protested the habit to Sindhia, from whose lands Surat cotton is sourced. The Bombay exporters have concurrently resolved not to buy wet cotton in future.

Saturday 5th May 1798

London, 24th November – the Company will employ 9 regular ships this season. There is an additional 20 ‘extra’ ships for the carriage of Indian goods to London by private merchants.

The Portuguese annual fleet will rendezvous in the Tagus and sail in December convoyed by 4 capital ships and 3 frigates. The ships are carrying reinforcements for the garrisons of Rio de Janeiro, Goa and other colonies .

A French attack on Portuguese Asian factories is anticipated in view of Lisbon’s failure to ratify the treaty.[86]

Saturday 12th May 1798

Letters from Madras report the Gloucester (Ferryman) arrived from Amboinya with the Company’s spices. We have heard nothing from Amboinya since Admiral Rainier captured it, except for his shipment of prize spices to Canton for sale and a request for provisions.

Saturday 19th May 1798

HMS Resistance (Packenham) is with the English fleet at Amboinya. There is inadequate provisions for our men.

HMS Resistance sailed to China in November 1797 for supplies. Most of the crew were enervated by starvation. They encountered a typhoon and put into the Spanish port of Panay under Spanish colours. A launch was sent out and Packenham detained it as ransom for water and food. This was refused and a battery opened on HMS Resistance the next morning.

Packenham captured a small Spanish brig anchored nearby and sailed with it to Palembang. He sent a party ashore there but four of his men were cut off by the locals.

He then sailed for Limbe where he finally obtained the required provisions.

Saturday 19th May 1798

HMS Virginie has arrived at Madras bringing Lord Wellesley.[87]

Saturday 19th May 1798

Lord Hobart, the late Governor of Madras, complained about usurious loans in the Carnatic and Tanjore and the resultant poverty of the villagers in the affected districts. He presented a minute on the matter in the Madras Council for discussion on 24th October 1795. It was the beginning of his isolation from the rest of his civil service and ultimately led to his removal from office. Here is an edited copy of his minute:

The recent death of the Nabob (Muhammed Ali Khan) Wallajah permits me to review our administration of his revenue. His lands are under his own control but we acknowledge a duty to cherish him. He has pledged himself to support our military establishment (by provision of troops) and is discharging all those debts that have been guaranteed by parliament.

The European servants of the Company at Madras have long been in the habit of loaning money to the Nabob Wallajah and taking mortgages on his lands as security. The Directors have pointedly disapproved this practise but it still continues. It is the most distant of the Nabob’s lands that have been the scene of these depredations – the southern provinces and particularly Tinnevelly – but recently the practise has extended to Nellore, Arcot and Trichinopoly.

The business commences at Madras where the Nabob comes to make his regular debt repayments. One of the large European business houses or one of the Company’s employees make an agreement with the Nabob for a payment into the Treasury on his account in satisfaction of part of his debts. The Nabob thus gets the next instalment of his debt paid without putting his hand in his pocket.

The creditor does not accept a simple mortgage as security as he requires the means of reimbursing himself. He wants either his nominee appointed to the management of the mortgaged province or, if the Nabob has already appointed a Tanjdar (manager), that that official co-operate with the Company’s local army commander who is always willing to assist money lenders with collections. If there is no Tanjdar, an intermediary on the part of the Nabob is appointed (a functionary usually called an Amildar).

It is the Company’s General in the mortgaged province who enforces the revenue collections. Thus the man controlling the application of force on the spot and the man controlling the supply of money to Madras are united in the one person.

The average interest payable on these loans is 4% per month – some are a little more or less. There is an additional fixed monthly sum payable for the costs of collection and this is an inflated cost. The difference between actual and payable costs is the fund from which the local intermediaries reward themselves. Payment of the interest is obtained from the villages in cash or grain. Usually about three quarters of the sum due is received in grain. As this sometimes exhausts the grain supply there is on those occasions nothing left for seed which the money lenders then supply to the villagers at a fee for the following season. The inhabitants of the province lose the surplus of their production and when drought, flood or plague reduce the harvest, they are instantly sunk into perpetual debt. Those farmers who delay payment are routinely confined by our soldiers without food, beaten with rods and compelled to pay the subsistence costs of the guards who imprison them. If their credit is exhausted, they must surrender their seed grain and cattle.

The European money lender who operates this system remains in Madras remote from the desolation he causes in the province.

A final twist to this predatory capitalism is the manipulation of the market at time of harvest. The farmers have no reserves and must sell their grain as soon as they harvest it to settle the demands of the money lenders in Madras.

Those involved in the loans business endeavour to make the sale of grain in the province their monopoly. They hold out for a high price. When they have disposed of as much as can be sold, there usually remains an amount of inferior grain. This is then forced on the producers at an elevated price.

I am aware that the Nabob Wallajah conspires at this practice for I negotiated an agreement with him to place some of the Tinnevelly weavers under Company control and the Nabob absolutely refused to relinquish his right to sell grain back to the producers.

The money lenders have prevented other parties from selling grain within the mortgaged provinces, a practice approved by the Company, and during a recent shortage, they had the Nabob’s manager of the southern provinces complain to the Company’s Collector against the Polygars who had surplus grain and offered it to the farmers.

It was only by my calling a supply of grain from elsewhere and bringing it on ships to the area (Hobart’s egregious offence) that the money lenders could be induced to reduce their grain prices to normal. The Company also pays excessively as the artificially-maintained grain price of the money lenders is inevitably the price paid for provisions to our own troops stationed in the Nabob’s lands for his protection.[88]

The Company’s government at Madras is thus implicated in severe oppression and the impoverishment of the districts under its management. Ultimately this is reflected in reduced revenue.

Tinnevelly is annually mortgaged in 1,803,000 Star Pagodas. The European who provided this loan receives 72,000 pagodas per month (48% pa) in interest. This produces over £50,000 to him in interest every 2+ years.

Apart from this aspect of the matter, there are all sorts of wrinkles at every level of the business – any slight delay in repayment gives rise to extra interest payable; fines and forfeits are payable for the slightest diversion from the agreement and the Nabob insists on his right to sell back grain at elevated prices. When penury of the population eventually requires the Company to intercede and take-over management of the territories, the British government will have to satisfy both the unfortunate people and the clamorous Madras capitalists. This is occurring at a time when our national resources are stretched to deal with the French war.

The effect of these transactions is overall to diminish food production in mortgaged lands. This increases the local value of the reduced production and leads to that familiar maxim of Indian finances – ‘a year of scarcity is more productive than a year of plenty.’ In years of good harvests the surplus is largely valueless as we have no adequate means of transporting it to where there may be a market. It is only the shortages that create the competition for supply that is so rewarding.

Usury is a long-standing practice at Madras. Europeans have been involved in it ever since they first came here. The capitalists undermine national resources and exhaust the wealth of the people. I fear the Carnatic is heading for destruction.

British interests on the Coromandel coast derive from the Treaty of 1792. In that treaty Britain guaranteed payment of the Nabob’s debts. Those payments are used to pay the soldiers. This system of revenue collection invalidates that security. Eventually the Nabob will have no more productive lands to mortgage and his repayments will fall into arrears. The soldiers will be at least temporarily unpaid and no doubt become insubordinate. England will then be obliged to assume responsibility for the Nabob’s exhausted lands and we will have to divert resources from the struggle with France to the maintenance of the Carnatic.

The legislative proscription on loans to native princes has been issued and reissued but still it goes on. Europeans easily evade the Company’s restrictions by using the nominee services of their local employees. They will not easily forego this immensely lucrative business. If I stop Europeans visiting the Nabob’s court it will cause inefficiency in other branches and in any event there are many channels of communication with the Nabob. Wherever the capitalist is, he can get his demands delivered. So long as the Nabob is satisfied to continue in this way and his people to tolerate the oppression it causes, there will be Europeans willing to get involved.

It is my belief that responsible administration requires all those districts mortgaged by the Nabob be removed from his control. I have mentioned this to the Nabob and he was horrified. I may not have identified all the interests involved in this frightful business but I have found the common centre in the Agency Houses at Madras. They solicit loans from the European population and recycle it to the Nabob as his principal money-lenders. The community gets a handsome return on its money whilst the Agency House gets the cream.

To resolve the matter I have offered great concessions to the Nabob. This is no longer just a pecuniary matter – it is for the maintenance of British interests in the Carnatic. Sgd Hobart.[89]

Saturday 26th May 1798

Lord Wellesley was still at Madras on 5th May. He has visited the new Nabob (of the Carnatic) at Chepauk and presented letters to the Nabob from King George III, the Prince of Wales and the Royal Dukes of York and Clarence.

Saturday 2nd June 1798

The Calcutta Insurance Office (CIO) has appointed David Scott Jr & Co as its settling agent in London (the Scotts are Company Directors). The Office insures ships & goods from India or China to Europe or America. It will settle claims at the exchange rate of 2/4d per Sicca rupee, six months after notice of loss is given to the new Agent.

The CIO has appointed Alexander Adamson & Co as Agent at Bombay. The Agent may insure ships & goods from Bombay to any port in India or China and return, and ships & goods from Bombay to any port in Europe or America. All claims on Bombay policies will be settled here or at Calcutta six months after notice of loss has been given.

Saturday 2nd June 1798

Indian sirdars commonly described themselves as slaves in their correspondence with their Nabob – it is an Asian affectation. Manchu officials in China do the same in their memorials to the Emperor.[90]

Wednesday 6th June 1798 Extraordinary

The Company’s factory at Bushire is besieged by a local Arab uprising and all the records and treasure have been sent to Basra on 25th April.

Wednesday 6th June 1798 Extraordinary

A list of 23 ships chartered by the India Company for 1798 is shown. Thomas Newte owns Brunswick, Berrington and Thetis; Robert Wigram owns Walpole, London, Contractor and Rockingham (Sir Hugh Lindsay); John Woolmore owns Earl Howe and Lord Duncan; Michael Humble owns two new un-named ships. The others are in single ownership.

Saturday 9th June 1798

The Directors’ order of 21st January 1797 temporarily and indirectly relaxes the Company’s monopoly on China trade. Individuals may buy in India and import into Britain all Chinese produce except tea, raw silk and nankeens.

Saturday 9th June 1798

Edward, Lord Clive, grandson of the celebrated nobleman, is appointed to assume the government of Madras and will shortly leave England to take up his new duties.

Saturday 16th June 1798

On 23rd May, HMS Triton arrived at Madras from Amboinya with 500 nutmeg trees and a great quantity of other commercially valuable spice plants. The rest of her cargo space was filled with the spice harvest.

All the plants were collected by C Smith, the Company’s nurseryman at Madras, who went to Amboinya for the purpose.[91]

The shipment includes specimens of the coolilawa plant which produces sassafras oil. It sells for $12 Spanish per container in eastern markets.[92]

Saturday 23rd June 1798

Director James Irwin of the Company has died and a ballot was held to replace him. J Huddlestone, Wm Thornton, Richard C Plowden and Colonel Toone offered themselves for election.

Plowden did well but Sweeney Toone of Keston, Kent won.

Saturday 30th June 1798

The Nabob’s ship Surprise Galley has returned from Mocha. It reports a shortage of coffee. A failure in the harvest is supposed.

Saturday 7th July 1798

Proposals are invited for the purchase of the Company’s windmill and bakery in Bombay together with all the milling and baking equipment and materials.

Saturday 7th July 1798

Captain Hiram Cox, the Company’s Resident at Rangoon has returned to Calcutta. He says the ban on the export of timber is due to a typhoon which destroyed the fortifications around the town. The ban will continue until they are rebuilt.

The Burmese quarrel with Thailand is being settled amicably, he says.

Saturday 14th July 1798

The brother of the Persian King has ensconced a new Sheikh at Bushire and tranquillity has been restored. The Company’s Bushire resident, who has been in Basra, is returning to duty along with several of the British merchants of Bushire.

They are returning early as the Euphrates has flooded and the whole area around Basra is unhealthy.

Saturday 14th July 1798

A general meeting of shareholders of the Company was held on 16th March at the request of 12 of their number.

Twining complained that the Secret Committee had chartered tonnage from Mr Charnock for the carriage of rice and gruff goods back from India to London and had not reported it to the Directors.

It was agreed that the Secret Committee reveal all charters to the Directors.

Saturday 14th July 1798

All outward-bound Indiamen this year will bring 150 – 200 British soldiers each to augment the European forces in India.[93]

To further assimilate the Company’s army to the King’s, European regiments in India will have 12 companies of 100 men each. Two regiments will be based at Calcutta and one each at Madras and Bombay. The establishment of the European artillery unit is increased by 390 men. The King has licensed the Company to employ an extra 800 Britons for this purpose.

The native regiments at Calcutta are reduced from 1,600 to 1,400 men and at Bombay and Madras from 1,800 to 1,600. An additional regiment of native infantry is to be made at Madras. The period of enlistment of native recruits is increased from 5 to 8 years (or longer if they agree). The age limit at time of joining is 16 – 25 years.

The Company Chairman has told Dundas that the Company is quite able to defend its territories. Dundas said as long as the Indian army allowed promotion based on ability rather than seniority he would approve the changes. He held the view that the Company’s army should consist entirely of native troops and ideally Europeans should only serve in the Company’s artillery. Any other European units should be provided by the King, he said.

Saturday 4th August 1798

Sindhia is distressed. He has no money, his cavalry is unpaid and has deserted him. His 12,000 infantry are unpaid for six months as is his artillery. His best hope for money is from Nana Furnavese, the minister of the old Peshwa (who abstracted the entire treasure of the old Peshwa on his death and hid it somewhere) but Nana is unlikely to trust him.

Sindhia even approached Tippoo for an alliance. The residents of Poona fear Sindhia will invade and plunder them – he is that short of cash. They are leaving town and the markets have virtually cease to operate. It is impossible to say what the outcome will be.

It is good news for the Company. For the interim the Marathas will continue to be a divided and ineffective force in Indian affairs.

Saturday 4th August 1798

The following new Directors were elected by rotation to the Company’s court on 11th April:

Charles Mills, Thomas Parry, Simon Frazer, David Scott, Abraham Robarts and George Tatem.

The following six Directors retired by rotation the same day:

Hugh Inglis, John Manship, Paul le Mesurier, G W Thelluson, Thomas T Metcalfe and Sir Thomas Baring.

Jacob Bosanquet and Sir Stephen Lushington were elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman for the coming year. These two with John Robarts will form the Secret Committee.

Saturday 18th August 1798

The Scaleby Castle has been launched from Bombay dockyard. She is 1,200 tons – the largest ship built in Bombay.

Bruce Fawcett & Co are the owners.

Saturday 25th August 1798

We sent a packet of mails to Madras last 4th August. It passed through Poona on 8th August but was plundered two days later by horsemen of one of the Maratha chiefs.

Colonel Palmer, the Company’s Resident at Poona, protested and the mutilated contents of the bag were restored to him on 13th August. They have just been returned to ascertain what, if anything, is missing.

Our postal arrangement through Poona has been long established and it is perhaps surprising that this is the first case of such damage that anyone can recall.

Saturday 1st September 1798

Meindeh Ali Khan, a Persian lately employed in the Company’s administration of Benares, is appointed Resident at Bushire to succeed Smith.

Sheikh Nassur, the late Persian Governor of Bushire, is collecting a fleet of dhows at Basra to press his demand for reinstatement on the government at Shiraz.

Saturday 15th September 1798

The Company’s frigate Princess Royal has arrived from Surat convoying the first cotton ships of the season. Three dhows have also arrived at Bombay from Mocha and report a French frigate is cruising in the Red Sea. The American ship Mount Vernon (Rutter) has arrived at Tranquebar and reports Admiral Sercey with a frigate and a corvette (likely La Preneuse and Bruelle Guelle) is at Batavia.

Saturday 15th September 1798

The entire Muslim hierarchy at Delhi and Poona is involved in an arduous dispute over money that has continued since the last Peshwa died and Nana Furnavese secreted the contents of the Maratha Treasury.

(NB – Throughout this summer the Bombay Courier Editor has been publishing translations from Persian newspapers reporting developments.)

Saturday 15th September 1798

A fascinating article from Patiala dated 30th June concerns George Thomas. He is a British (Irish) seaman who obtained employment with the Sumroo Begum, Proprietor of the state of Sardhana, and married her adopted daughter which ultimately led to his assuming the government and income of the fort of Tappel (between Matra and Delhi).

A dispute with the Begum caused his dismissal and he found employment with Appah Khandey Rao, the governor of Rewary, as commander of two battalions. He was soon in dispute with the Zemindar of Mewat who attacked and dispersed his men and took his cannon.

That appeared to be an end to it but later Appah Khandey Rao was dispossessed of his lands and Thomas entered service with his replacement, the Rajah Ambajee. Payment was irregular and he eventually took a part of the force under his command and resorted to predation at Jeynagur. This land is a fief of Sindhia’s and brought General Perron against him. Thomas fled west and assembled a new force.

Bahadur Singh, the Rajah of Ludhiana, has just reported that Thomas now has 30 cannon, five battalions of infantry, 300 cavalry and 500 Rohillas with him. He has fortified Hansy and laid-up a store of provisions within. He has told his men they will soon invade Patiala and Futtehabad for treasure. The Zemindars of the immediate area around Hansy have sought to satisfy him but he wants more.

On 10th July he plundered a village of Rajah Sooret Singh of Bekaneer and the Rajah is now preparing to oppose him.

Saturday 15th September 1798

The new Council at Madras is comprised of Lord Clive as Governor, Lt General George Harris CiC, Edward Saunders Chief Merchant and Ernest William Fallowfield.

(The General is expressly denied the top job due to Company dislike of having soldiers govern provinces. Saunders tried to be Governor and threatened to resign if passed over but has since adapted to the new circumstances with the arrival of Lord Clive)

Saturday 22nd September 1798

This edition of the paper appears with a black border in commemoration of William Ashburner, the local barrister and second Editor of Bombay Courier. He leaves a young pregnant widow and children.

Ashburner pursued three occupations – he was attorney in the Mayor’s Court, he edited this paper and he farmed his estate on Salsette.

Saturday 22nd September 1798

For sale – the American ship Birmingham Packet (Moore) has brought a cargo of Madeira wine, brandy and Holland Geneva (gin) in pipes and a variety of bottled French wines together with barrels of salt beef and pork, etc. Enquiries to Pestonjee Bomanjee’s shop.

Saturday 22nd September 1798

The considerable number of fires affecting Company ships recently may be due to disaffection amongst our crews. Originally we attributed them all to damp cotton but many fires have occurred on ships without cotton cargoes.

We have a report from Penang that the Bombay ship Candidate was burned there but the fire was detected early and extinguished and there was reason to suppose it was due to arson. A small ball of fire was seen between two bales of cotton with the burnt remains of a rag leading to it. The arson was attributed to a seacunny (coxon or steersman) and an officer’s boy. They are sent to Bengal for trial.

We suspect the crews, after receiving their imprest money, set fire to the ships in order to release themselves from their employment.[94]

Saturday 22nd September 1798

The Rebecca (King) has arrived at Calcutta from Pegu. She reports the overthrow of the Pegu army by the Thais and the capture of all their ammunition and provisions. It appears Pegu must submit to Thai terms. Captain King believes the Thai attack was merely for the increase of their territory and wealth.

Saturday 6th October 1798

Admiral Rainier is back at Madras at his elegant garden house at St Thome. HMS Suffolk is anchored in sight of the house.

A French official named Duboque was landed at Mangalore from the French frigate La Preneuse and has arrived at the Danish settlement at Tranquebar. The Governor Anker declined to offer him any military honours but has allowed him to stay.[95]

Saturday 13th October 1798

The King has proclaimed English Law as the law of India in all the Company’s domains. Anyone opposing the proclamation does so at his peril. (The proclamation is published in English, Portuguese and Gujerati, dated 10th October)

Saturday 20th October 1798

Lord Wellesley has signed an agreement for the purchase of Government House at Calcutta for 80,000 Sicca Rupees. The structure will be demolished and a replacement more suitable for our elevated status in this country will replace it. The new building will be the home and office of the Governor-General as well as an office for the Council. It will contain some principal government offices.

When completed, the old Council House will also be demolished. Captain Wyatt is charged with superintendence of the project.

Saturday 27th October 1798

Bombay Town Hall (its assembly room and its theatre), 23rd October:

A meeting of all people except the army and navy was held for the purpose of encouraging military associations amongst the merchants, civil servants and lawyers of Bombay as requested by the Directors. General Stuart offered an advisory role. The meeting agreed to form an armed association of the British inhabitants.

Saturday 3rd November 1798

Notice – Cursetjee Cowasjee has studied clockwork and offers to repair and clean watches. He offers a gilt plating service too.

Saturday 10th November 1798

Auction – the Company has a judgment against Rugoba Rungajee from the Mayor’s Court and is auctioning his orchard at Mahim called ‘Handaney’ on 10th November (today) to recover a debt. All welcome.

Saturday 10th November 1798

The Armed Association (the Bombay volunteer militia) announces 4 Portuguese and 6 Parsee companies, each of a hundred men, have been formed and the Hindus and Muslims are also recruiting. (no indication of any English companies yet)

Saturday 10th November 1798

Lt Duval, who brought Nelson’s triumphant news from Alexandria (the destruction of the French fleet reported in the Europe Chapters), has returned to Basra on the Company’s cruiser Drake.

Saturday 10th November 1798

Madras Gazette, 1st October – the Company’s ships have left for London and a large number of passengers from this community accompanied them.

Saturday 1st December 1798

The European, Armenian and Portuguese residents of Calcutta have been assembled in their new militias on successive days 7th – 9th November. It is expected to raise 1,500 – 2,000 men. Whatever the nationality of the regiment, the officers will be British. To attract the fashionable, the militia uniform is proposed to be modelled on the Windsor uniform – blue with red cape and cuffs.

Saturday 15th December 1798

Calcutta is relieved – the Danish ship Fredericksburg has arrived with 600 pipes of Madeira.

Saturday 15th December 1798

There is a silk farm at Velout, near Madras with a mulberry orchard. It uses the Italian method of boiling the worms so the silk can be taken off the cocoons at leisure.[96]

Saturday 15th December 1798

The European militia was assembled for muster at Calcutta but a difficulty arose. The men were required to fall-in in alphabetical order of their surnames and rather many of them either could not read or did not know how to spell their names.

The muster was postponed to the following day when the soldiers were expected to have memorised the initial letters of their surnames. The letters of the alphabet were laid-out in large capital letters on the ground to assist the militiamen in parading.

The muster exceeded a thousand and there were 60 horsemen as well.

Monday 31st December 1798 Extraordinary

Calcutta, 7th December – thousands of Burmese are arriving in Chittagong. They say they cannot feed themselves in Burma. They say they will die rather than return. This appears due to the defeat the Burmese King sustained in Pegu at the hands of the Thais.

The Burmese authorities have requisitioned the savings of the farmers, apparently to satisfy the Thai indemnities, and once suspected of owning capital, a farmer is arrested and incarcerated until he pays.

Monday 31st December 1798 Extraordinary

The Company has published its response concerning complaints about the new pay scales:

The war forced us to concert with the Minister to remove every reasonable complaint and promote the comfort and happiness of our Indian army.

We wrote in January 1796 that we expected all discontent to evaporate. We are surprised and indignant that some few officers are holding out for more.

We are persuaded to overlook their cupidity without punishment but the authors of any further disrespectful petitions will be dismissed.

Saturday 26th January 1799

The mass immigration from Burma into Chittagong is comprised of the Mugg people. Thousands of them have trekked across the border. Our Resident at Rangoon has gone to Chittagong to assign uncultivated lands to the immigrants.

Unfortunately the residents of southern Chittagong are familiar with the Muggs and have historically categorised them as predators who plunder the eastern parts of Bengal and take off the harvest and suitable people for slavery.

On past occasions they even arrived by boat on the Chittagong coast to carry out their acts of depredation. As a result that vast tract of country called the Sunderbunds, formerly so fertile and populous, has reverted to jungle.

For years after Chittagong was ceded to the Company we kept a military force there. We pursued brigands on land and sea to enforce their departure. Now it seems the Muggs have been deprived of their homeland in Burma, presumably by the recent war with Thailand, and have been obliged to come to us. We hope they can be tutored to become farmers rather than predators.

Major Roberts has written an instructive book on the Muggs.

Saturday 2nd February 1799

The King’s grant to the Company authorises the Directors, in the event of war, to organise the inhabitants of our Presidencies under discipline and to declare martial law, etc.

We have now created an Armed Association of the inhabitants here, called the Bombay Voluntary Association. The officers of this regiment are to be commissioned. As the number of Europeans is too small to be useful, we will employ the BVA members as officers and raise two native battalions of soldiers by subscription, to be called the Bombay Fencibles. They will employ men from the population of Bombay, Salsette and Caranja.

They will be subject to the same rules and discipline as the Company’s troops. They will not be required to serve elsewhere. The troops will received 5½ rupees a month plus clothing and equipment.[97]

Saturday 9th February 1799

The Madras Courier reports 19th January that the Directors have sent out £500,000 in specie to Madras with Admiral Colpoy’s squadron.

Saturday 2nd March 1799

The Royal Navy in Bombay is soliciting funds. Anyone wishing to transfer money to London should specify the amount and the exchange rate expected. Repayment will be in 90-day Navy Bills.

Saturday 9th March 1799

The Company is preparing its defences:

Fort St George, 4th February 1799 – Every unit in the Company’s service that receives a requisition for money signed by the CiC will instantly obey it and provide what is required.

Saturday 16th March 1799

Colonel McNeil, commandant of our garrison on Amboinya, seems to be an unpopular man. In mid December 1798 an English soldier came into his dining room and shot at him; a few days later another English soldier shot at him but his gun misfired.

The Colonel says he cannot imagine why his men try to kill him. HMS Orpheus and Hobart are standing-by in the harbour. HMS Vulcan and the Company’s warship Swift have gone to the Celebes for livestock.

Saturday 23rd March 1799

Advertisement – 30,000 rupees required on respondentia by the owners of the Company’s ship Belvedere. We will pay by 90-day Sight Bills. Anyone wishing to invest should apply to the Commander.[98]


Two missing editions of newspapers, then –

Saturday 20th April 1799

The influx of Muggs at Chittagong has been stopped and reversed by the Company’s army detachment which we posted there but the natives fear the Muggs will be back the moment we release the pressure.

Saturday 4th May 1799

The monthly overland dispatch from Bombay via Basra to London will change from 1st of the month to 15th of the month, effective June.

Saturday 1st June 1799

Governor-General’s Notice (fall-out from Hobart’s disclosures at Madras):

Connections with natives are to be declared. All servants and native business partners are to be registered. Anyone employing or trading with an unregistered native commits an offence.

A Register of employed natives is to be kept and an officer employed specifically to maintain it. H F Constable is the Registrar in Bombay Presidency.


The second half of 1799 and all 1800 is missing from the British Library copy.

Saturday 3rd January 1801

Sewell has retired from the Madras partnership of M/s Chase, Sewell & Chinnery and John MacDouall has replaced him on 1st January 1801. The firm will in future trade as M/s Chase, Chinnery and MacDouall.

Saturday 3rd January 1801

The regiment de Meuron was originally Swiss but now has many French émigrés. It has been made a King’s regiment. We got it from the Dutch at Ceylon in 1795. It has just been incorporated into the Indian Army. Colonel the Count de Meuron is made a brevet Major General.

Saturday 10th January 1801

Richard Jupp has designed the new front to East India House in London. Its 190 feet long and 60 feet high. The portico at the centre has six Ionic columns supporting an architrave with a Grecian frieze. Over all is a relief of the King shielding Britannia and Liberty, at whose feet Asia is pouring out her treasures. Another front in Lime Street is 140 feet long of Portland stone with a Doric portico giving access to the seamen’s lobby.

Saturday 17th January 1801

The armed ship Shrewsbury (Campbell) is receiving freight for Muscat, Bushire and Basra. She has arrived from Calcutta, Masulipatam and Columbo. Apply to Bruce Fawcett & Co for details.

Saturday 31st January 1801

The Company has taken-up its chartered tonnage for the approaching season. It totals 29,555 tons.

Saturday 14th February 1801

Lt General Lake and his family (plus aides-de-camp) have arrived at Madras on 29th January on the Sir Edward Hughes to take up the duties of CiC India after his stint in London as the King’s aide-de-camp and as suppressor of the Irish.

Saturday 21st February 1801

Some officers have not received their commissions from the King since the amalgamation of the Indian and British armies on 8th January 1796 when the Company ceased issuing its own commissions. This has caused uncertainty.

The Governor-General-in-Council has ordered that Company commissions rank pari passu with the King’s commission for the time being.

A list of all officers who have been promoted since 1796 but have not received the King’s commission as at 1st January 1801 will be sent to London for action.

Saturday 28th March 1801

The old Governor-General and CiC have returned to London and are replaced by Richard Wellesley (the Earl of Mornington of the Irish peerage and of Wellesley in Somerset) and Lt General Lake, the Prince of Wales’ friend.

The Governor-General’s brother Arthur is visiting Bombay. He arrived 21st March on HMS Suffolk (Malcolm) from Madras and got the salute of a Brigadier General. The old CiC resigned and left with his close associates Lt Colonel Cliffem adjutant general and Lt Colonel Gordon quartermaster general.

Lake put in Major Wm Nicolson to the first job and his relative Captain Lake to the second (financially important) post. Captain Lake is also the CiC’s military secretary.

Saturday 28th March 1801

Every edition contains new promotions and transfers in the army. The Company’s army continues to promote on seniority and every list precisely places the new men in their respective place in the pecking order. Most promotions appear to be after death from disease but occasionally someone falls off his horse or is drowned.

Saturday 25th April 1801

The new law establishing the form of the Indian Judiciary that was passed by parliament on 28th July 1800 is recited:

  • A Supreme Court of Madras is created, like the one at Calcutta, with civil, criminal, admiralty and ecclesiastical jurisdictions.
  • The court staff will be selected by the King but paid by the Company out of the territorial revenue of Madras at the exchange rate of 2½ pagodas to the Pound Sterling.[99]
  • The Madras Governor and Council will enjoy the same exemption from the authority of the new court that the Governor-General and council of Calcutta enjoy.
  • The old courts are extinguished at next charter renewal. Their records will be handed-over to the new court.
  • When the new court hears a case of perjury, larceny or other transportable offence, the transportation destination may be New South Wales or a nearby island or anywhere else. Anyone convicted of a crime that disallows “benefit of clergy” shall be likewise transported. Only persons born of European parents may be transported to New South Wales or its nearby islands (Indians will continue to be sent to the Andamans). Any transportee who returns to British India or the United Kingdom and its Colonies before his sentence is complete is guilty of felony without benefit of clergy.[100]
  • Fora for the resolution of small claims up to 400 Sicca Rupees are to be created by the Governor of Madras and the Governor-General at Calcutta.
  • The power of the Governors to levy fines and forfeitures on offenders is extended to include corporal punishment by public or private whipping. Any two JPs sitting together may order a whipping.
  • Whenever the Governor of a Presidency is absent, his senior councillor will deputise for him.
  • Effective 1st March 1801 the jurisdiction of the courts of Calcutta is extended to include Benares as well as Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
  • The High Court of Admiralty in London will issue a commission to the Supreme Courts of Calcutta and Madras giving them judicial authority to adjudicate prize cases and other maritime disputes arising in India.[101]

Saturday 2nd May 1801

General Sir Alured Clark, who was removed from India to permit General Lake as CiC, made several appointments and recommendations for promotion within HM regiments in India in 1799 before his resignation but none have been approved by the King.

The affected regiments are the 19th and 27th Light Dragoons, four infantry regiments and the Scots Brigade. All the officers promoted by Clark revert to their former rank.

Saturday 9th May 1801

Notice – Our partner Arthur Forbes Mitchell has died. His interest in the business ceased with his death on 3rd May. James Smith and Charles Forbes will continue the business in the same name Smith, Forbes & Co.

Mr Mitchell was also employed by the Company. He was a young man. He had, at 19 years of age, filled an onerous post in Malabar with flair and integrity. He was always punctual and assiduous. He would in time have become a leader of the commercial establishment.

He had memorised a large number of maxims whereby he ordered his life in a way that was more mature than his years.

Saturday 9th May 1801

George Brown is the leading English merchant at Surat.

Saturday 30th May 1801

A new means has been devised at Madras to recycle the funds of Company employees. Its called the Madras Laudable Society established on 1st January 1801. It’s a life assurance society, open to all persons between 17 – 50 years age. There are thirteen ‘irreproachable’ Directors and the Secretary is the Carnatic Bank.

It will receive money from anyone and, as soon as 500 Pagodas has been amassed on your account, it will be invested in the Company’s loan paper. A management fee of 10 – 12% (depending on date) is charged on all new capital. The investment will continue for 7 years whereafter the Society will be closed and the capital and interest distributed to investors.[102]

Saturday 6th June 1801

All the officers of government are exempted from paying postage. People writing to those officers need not pay either. H M Army and Navy are included. If the official is writing in a private capacity, he adds the words ‘bearing postage’ on the cover.

Commanders of country ships are not to compete with the Post Office for carriage of post. Letters to / from Damaun or Surat will cost ¼ rupee for postage.

Saturday 6th June 1801

In Bombay any army officers dying intestate will in future have their Estates transferred to M/s Smith Forbes as executors.[103]

Saturday 6th June 1801

The ships coming out from England arrive in May and thereafter there is a surfeit of English goods for sale in the market from the officers’ privileged tonnage.

The local Agency Houses charge high rates of commission for storing, displaying and selling goods and a popular market for ad hoc auctions is ‘under the Tamarind tree’ on Bombay Green where sales are held regularly.

Saturday 13th June 1801

Note – London newspapers delivered to Bombay via Basra are always well out of date, usually 2-3 weeks more so than the continental papers that are delivered by the same route.

Saturday 20th June 1801

Philip Dundas, the Company’s Superintendent of Marine cum Royal Navy’s man in Bombay, is advertising on 19th June for silver for the navy.[104]

He offers 90-day Bills on the Admiralty. Advise him how much you will invest and the rate of exchange you will accept and perhaps you will succeed. He needs the money by 27th June.

His agent is Miguel de Lima e Souza, who deals with naval victualling etc.

Saturday 20th June 1801

The UK shortage of grain has reduced exports to the Cape and the British Governor there has appointed a Commission to enforce economy on the residents. The British conquest is recent and Capetown remains a military town. There is little or no connection between the British administrators and the local economy or the food-producing hinterland.

A census has been used to prepare lists of the customers of the eight bakers in town. You have to be on the list of your local baker to buy bread from him. You may buy only as much as is allowed you on the list, which includes your dependants. The departure of guests (and deaths) are to be reported and the allowance adjusted.

People hiring-out slaves, and passing the duty to feed onto the hirer, must report their contracts.

If anyone feeds animals with grain or bread, and the Javanese and blacks always do, they are to be tied to the village pump-post and severely whipped.

Other infractions of these rules will be fined 50 – 500 Rix dollars.

The proclamation is signed inter alia by Francis Dundas.

Saturday 4th July 1801

Lt Colonel Cullen is now in command of the ex-Danish Colony at Tranquebar. On 4th June he entertained the ex-Governor Major General Anker and his principal officers and jointly toasted the health of the Danish and British Kings. They continued drinking and dancing until dawn.

Saturday 11th July 1801

Captain Lamb of the Company’s ship Melville Castle needs money to buy cargo to utilise his available privileged tonnage.

He is offering owner’s 90-day Sight Bills in payment.

Saturday 11th July 1801

From the Commons debate on the army estimates, the cost of 26,919 men serving in H M regiments in the East Indies is £549,935 for 1801. The recruiting service for H M regiments to the East Indies in the same year cost £380,000.

Saturday 1st August 1801

The Directors have complained to the Governor-General in Council of expenses incurred by them in funding employees’ children sent to England for schooling. The Directors have even occasionally been required to pay travelling expenses to the lads to get them from London to their schools.

The Governor General has ordered on 29th July 1801 that every employee will in future give adequate security to the Company for foreseeable expenses. The same rules will apply as are promulgated for native servants proceeding to England.

Saturday 1st August 1801

A tremendous battle has occurred on the Nerbudda River between Sindhia’s army and the forces of Jeswant Rao Holkar, the two great Maratha chiefs.[105] Four brigades of Sindhia’s 1st battalion together with 100 Rohillas under Capt Brownrigg and the artillery were opposed to Holkar’s 14 battalions of infantry, a huge force of cavalry and Rohillas and a substantial artillery.

The battle never evolved beyond artillery barrages. Holkar’s men retired after four hours and Sindhia was unable to pursue for want of cavalry. Sindhia lost two European officers and 111 local troops.

Saturday 1st August 1801

The Company’s shareholders have discussed remunerating Sir Sidney Smith for his defence of Acre. He stopped French use of the port facilities to evacuate their army of Egypt and likely relieved the Company’s lands in India from invasion. T Jones outlined Smith’s exploits to show the extent of the Company’s debt to him.

Metcalfe opposed any award as unprecedented. Sir Stephen Lushington agreed with Metcalfe and suggested a sword or piece of plate would be more than enough. Several shareholders mentioned that the Company was not well-off just now. William Elphinstone thought if Smith is to be rewarded so should Sir John Douglas, who acted with equal distinction at Acre.

Sir John Day deplored the economising tendency of some shareholders. This is an appeal to liberality and justice. If we are shareholders of an unprofitable Company, we should trace the causes of loss and address them. On the one hand we waste hundreds and thousands of Pounds; on the other we close our hearts to compassion and justice:

“Economy …. The rickety and distorted bastard of our vices and our follies, not the legitimate issue of our wants – entangled in the meshes of its own subtlety, bewildered in the labyrinth of its own past discretions and profusions, is uniform and consistent in nothing,” Day said.

Saturday 8th August 1801

Smith Forbes & Co have admitted James Kinloch into partnership 1st August. The trading name will remain the same.

Saturday 8th August 1801

The leading Agency House in each Presidency now (1801) is:

Calcutta – M/s Gardiner and Alexander;

Madras – M/s Harrington Burnaby and Cockburn;

Bombay – M/s Smith Forbes & Co.

Saturday 8th August 1801

The Company is beginning to receive cadets who have been trained at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.

This follows the assimilation of the King’s and Company’s armies. The first draft is appointed to the artillery and engineering corps.[106]

Amongst the new cadets arriving at Calcutta on the Dover Castle is Charles Brooke.

Saturday 22nd August 1801

George Brown has been appointed Commercial Resident at Surat.

Saturday 22nd August 1801

Charles Forbes, his wife and children have left for London.

Saturday 22nd August 1801

Joao Elario, a seaman and native of Manila, has been executed at Calcutta for the murder of Captain Joseph George on the ship Marianne in January.

Elario’s body was afterwards hung in chains on the banks of Hoogly near the landing point from the anchorage, as a warning to other seamen.

Saturday 22nd August 1801

The new Nabob of the Carnatic, Azeem al Dowlah, was enthroned at Madras by the Company’s Governor (Lord Clive) on 31st July.[107] All the Company’s senior officers were in attendance but only Admiral Rainier and General Stuart were involved in the ceremony.

The Nabob then addressed a short speech in Persian to the Governor. The attendance of no other important Muslims is mentioned in the report. The Nabob was surrounded at all times by Company officers from the civil, judicial and military establishments.

The copies of the new treaty were then exchanged, rose water was sprinkled, betel nut was passed around, and the ceremony ended.

Saturday 5th September 1801

On 8th April the annual election of six new Directors of the Company occurred and the following were voted in for four years – Wm Bentley, Sir John Smith Burges, W Elphinstone, John Hunter, John Travers and Stephen Williams. All six resigned last year in accordance with the Rotation Rules.

The following six Directors resigned for this year in accordance with the same Rule – Wm Devaynes, Charles Grant, Sir Stephen Lushington, George Smith, Wm Thornton and Sweeny Toone of Keston.

David Scott was chosen as Chairman of the Company and Charles Mills as his Deputy.

Saturday 5th September 1801

The Company has employed Mr Charles Favourque as its hemp-dresser in Bengal. He arrived at Madras on the Lord Thurlow last week.

Saturday 5th September 1801

The merchants of Bombay acknowledge the valuable service provided to their trade by Captain Selby of the Company’s marine. He has been responsible for ensuring the safety of shipping trading to Surat by fighting off the pirates.

Sgd Bruce Fawcett & Co, Smith Forbes & Co, Alexander Adamson, Miguel de Lima e Souza, Pestonjee Bomanjee, Ramdass Manordass, Ardaseer Dady, Dorabjee Rustomjee Patel, Nasservanjee Monackjee, Hormusjee Bomanjee, Sorabjee Muncherjee.

The merchants of Surat, which trade is largely engrossed by Parsees, have also offered their thanks.

Saturday 12th September 1801

We reported the victory of a small detachment of Sindhia’s army over the forces of Jeffwant Rao Holkar many weeks ago. Holkar retreated to Ujjain[108] where he met another section of Sindhia’s infantry and the cavalry under Colonel Hessing. He attacked these units repeatedly until he drove them off and occupied Ujjain capturing Hessing at the same time. One of Holkar’s motivations to his men was an offer of 1,000 rupees for any European head that was brought to him – he collected eight in this battle.

Holkar seems to have the bigger cavalry. This will be a heavy blow to Sindhia as Ujjain is a rich city and an important market town for grain and other agricultural produce. As at end August, Sindhia had called-in all his friends and was assembling an immense force to tackle Holkar.

Saturday 26th September 1801

Four shares in the Bombay Insurance Society belonging to the late Harry Forrester Constable are for auction individually on 28th September at the office of Bruce Fawcett & Co.

(Constable was a lawyer of the Recorder’s Court and a Captain in the Bombay fencibles. He died aged 43 years after 28 years residence in Bombay)

Saturday 10th October 1801

The Portuguese Viceroy at Goa has held a party for the British garrison of his town to celebrate our recent military successes against Tippoo.

Saturday 10th October 1801

The new treaty with the Nabob of the Carnatic has been delivered to him at Chepauk Palace by the Madras high officers and the Governor-General from Calcutta. It settles the succession at Arcot and puts the entire Carnatic into British hands.

The Nabob of Bengal (based at Moorshedabad) met the Governor-General during his later voyage up-river.

Saturday 31st October 1801

Sindhia has administered another defeat on Holkar and driven him out of his capital, Indore. Holkar had earlier removed from Ujjain but before he left he dug-up all the floors of the merchants’ houses and found an immense treasure under many of them which he has taken away.

In the subsequent engagement, Holkar lost 75 cannon and all his ammunition. He fled to Mahaser.

Colonel Filose, commander of the Portuguese battalion in Sindhia’s service, became delirious and killed himself. He is replaced by Captain Manuel de Bono Nato.

Indore was given to Sindhia’s troops to plunder to revenge Holkar’s cruelty at Sindhia’s town of Ujjain. A part of the city was burned.

Saturday 31st October 1801

The Asiatic Mirror reports that between 16th – 25th September ten Indiamen have sailed from India to London with rice cargoes.[109]

Saturday 14th November 1801

Joseph Burne, printer of the Bombay Courier, died yesterday. The newspaper is hereafter printed by Alexander Grey and the other proprietors.

Saturday 28th November 1801

Registration of Natives – Phinehas Hall has been appointed Registrar of Natives at Bombay. Any Indian employed by the Company or by private British residents, or who is a partner of a British resident, is subject to registration.

The registration is intended to reduce the ability of Englishmen to lend money to native Princes through nominees in the venal way practised in Madras.

Registration is already done in Calcutta but is to be extended to both Madras and Bombay Presidencies. It brings the native employee within the English legal structure created in India since 1783 and makes him amenable to our justice.

Any Englishman employing an unregistered native is subject on conviction to a fine of £500 and a forfeit of £100 to anyone suing for the same.

Tuesday 22nd December 1801 Extraordinary

Scott has resigned the Chairmanship of the Company to take up a position at the Board of Control. John Robarts is expected to succeed him.

Saturday 2nd January 1802

Our Indian army in Egypt is camped at Rosetta. It is now under the command of General Baird. The fall of Alexandria has provided them with good loot – a fleet of 100 merchant ships, two 2-decker warships, and three frigates. Some of the prizes had to be shared with the Ottoman forces. Within the town itself we found 101 brass cannon, 38 howitzers and mortars, 181 iron cannon and ammunition.

When the Porte learned of the recovery of his Egyptian provinces he freed 250 galley slaves and remitted all debts under 150,000 piastres, releasing the debtors from prison.[110] The illuminations along the canal extended for 18-20 miles. Some of the palaces had over 20,000 lights in them.

The French requested to retain the antiquities they had discovered (Article 16 of the capitulation). This was refused and we have inherited them. Amongst them, a marble stone at Rosetta was found to be perfectly preserved – it has Coptic on one side, Greek on another and strange hieroglyphics on the third.[111]

Saturday 9th January 1802

The Prince of Wales has disposed of the portrait that Sir Joshua Reynolds did of him. He never liked it and has now sent it to be displayed in Government House on Prince of Wales Island (Penang). It arrived 4th November 1801.

Saturday 16th January 1802

Bombay Notice, 14th May 1801 – The King has granted a patent to James Rivett of Bombay to use the surname of Carnac and the right to display the arms of Carnac as recorded in the Herald’s Office, pursuant on the terms of the Will of the late General John Carnac of Bombay. From henceforth Mr Rivett will be known as James Rivett-Carnac.

Saturday 30th January 1802

Holkar’s army of 60,000 troops is dispersed and he is fleeing from Sindhia with no more than 7,000 – 8,000 men attending him. Sindhia is approaching Ujjain and will likely pursue Holkar into Hindustan.

Major Lewis Derridan, who is seconded to fight for Sindhia, was captured by Holkar’s men and had to pay 30,000 rupees to ransom himself but Sindhia reimbursed him afterwards.

Saturday 20th February 1802

New Regulation of Lord Wellesley:

When the Governor-General visits Madras or Bombay Presidencies, the Governor of those places is replaced by the Governor-General until he leaves.

During such visits, Governors only retain their judicial authority intact.

Saturday 6th March 1802

The College of Fort William is offering courses in spoken Persian, Hindustani, Arabic and Bengali and in written Persian, Nagree and Bengali. It appears to be solely for British employees of the Company.

Saturday 20th March 1802

HMS Virginie (Astle) was at Macau on 22nd January 1802 to convoy the homebound Company fleet. The ship is part of our force deployed for the occupation of Amboinya. Astle sent-in a letter to Canton telling the Company’s Select that he was waiting outside.

When the fleet came out of the river they sailed straight passed the frigate although he fired several guns and displayed the convoy flag. He had to sail after the fleet to catch-up. He escorted them to Pulo Aor[112] and then separated, plotting his course for Malacca.

Saturday 3rd April 1802

Notice 2nd April – Mariners residing in Bombay who have not covenanted with the Company may still become Captains, Chief Officers or some other capacity by licence.

They require a certificate of good conduct from an owner, agent or commander of a ship registered at this Presidency. (there is a shortage of officers)

Saturday 10th April 1802

Anyone wishing to transfer funds to London may invest at the Royal Navy’s office in Bombay in return for 90-day Sight Bills on the Admiralty. Send your tenders to H M’s naval storekeeper at Bombay showing the sum available and the exchange rate expected. Tenders will be opened at noon on 13th April.

Saturday 10th April 1802

James Henry Stevens is the present Editor of the Bombay Courier.

Saturday 10th April 1802

With peace declared, the Company is disbanding the Bombay fencible regiment it formed under Colonel James Rivett-Carnac.

Saturday 1st May 1802

The commercial effects of peace are apparent from an article in the Madras papers that refers to the arrival of the French brig La Paix with a cargo of sundries for sale. She is the first French ship for many years.

Saturday 22nd May 1802

A year ago the Company sent its two armed cruisers Intrepid (Roper) and Comet (Henry) to the Paracels to survey those dangerous shoals and islands but nothing more has been heard from either ship. We fear the worst.

Saturday 29th May 1802

The natives of the Celebes (primarily Bugis) have attempted to remove the Company from their islands.

On 1st August last year the Company’s frigate Swift engaged and dispersed 33 large proas. This fleet had landed 1,200 natives and some brass cannon at Amurang, near the tip of the northern peninsula, and was threatening the Company’s settlement.

By its dispersal, the Company’s factories on Celebes have been saved.

Saturday 29th May 1802

The Persian ambassador to the Bombay Presidency, Khaleel Khan, arrived on 27th May from Bushire on the Governor Duncan. Duncan is away. The ambassador will be entertained by the Deputy Governor, James Rivett-Carnac.

Saturday 12th June 1802

Petition of some resident Gujerati traders:

In the summer monsoon we live in temporary huts on the Esplanade. In winter we remove into rented accommodation in Bombay. This year we found all the accommodation in Bombay has been filled as warehouses for cotton or is used to compress bales of cotton. You should not give cotton better housing than you give us.

The increasing wealth of Bombay is causing an increase in population. This is not surprising. These extra people are serving the needs of commerce – that’s why they have come here. They should not be made homeless.

The Company has commenced the territorial arrangements necessary to attach Salsette to Bombay as one settlement. This will make Tannah an attractive emporium for the goods of the North (Surat, etc. – the export port for Maratha cotton). Please move the cotton warehouses and presses to Tannah to take advantage of its better location.

All the cotton you send to China could be loaded in the north of Salsette. This will leave the Bombay accommodations available for us in future as in the past.

Sgd 24 Bombay residents.

Saturday 19th June 1802

Preferred Cadets for the Company’s military service take the Royal Military Academy course at Woolwich at the Company’s expense before being received in India for the artillery or engineers.[113]

Cadets for the marines, infantry or cavalry do not need qualifications – they just need Certificates of Appointment issued by the Directors.

Saturday 19th June 1802

The Proprietors of the Bombay Courier have bought a complete font of Arabic characters to add to the English and Gujerati fonts they presently use. They offer to print books, pamphlets or advertisements in all three languages.

Saturday 19th June 1802

The Parsee, Hindu and Muslim prisoners who are convicted in Bombay courts are commonly transported to Penang or the Andamans to work off their sentences. There is always a need for labour in those islands and its cheaper than imprisoning them. The few serious criminals are executed.

Saturday 19th June 1802

Mr W Dundas proposed the incorporation of Bencoolen in the Presidency of Madras. It had been first proposed by the Directors twenty years ago. Bencoolen was established for pepper trade. It costs £19,000 to maintain and produces £6,000 profits. The defeat of Tippoo and our occupation of Malabar has given the Company a monopoly on the finest pepper available.

The Bencoolen supply has become redundant.

The Company accordingly wishes to remove the staff from Bencoolen to Madras for economy, leaving the private merchants (‘unlicensed interlopers’ they are called) to fend for themselves. But the Directors do not want to entirely abandon Bencoolen as someone else might occupy it. They therefore petition that it be added to Madras.

Since Pitt’s India Act, and its promise of promotion by seniority, the ex-staff at Bencoolen have had an arguable claim to re-employment elsewhere if their factory was abandoned. It was accordingly proposed to bring those 12 Company employees to Madras.

The difficulty is that all Company jobs involve patronage and the Directors cannot simply transfer people without considering the financial implications on the transferred men and on the people at the place to which they are to be transferred. Penang was the obvious place to send these men but the existing staff at Penang would vociferously object. Neither could they be sent to Ceylon because jobs there were in the King’s gift (although the Company pays the bills). The cheapest solution from the Company’s point of view, and this is supposed to be a measure of economy, is to send them to Madras where there are opportunities for their employment in newly-created jobs in Tippoo’s ceded lands.

Tierney said expenses at Bencoolen had doubled in the last decade. The Company’s staff there should be able to retire on their capital. He opposed sending them to another Company post as it would alarm Company staff who might fear it could happen to them as well.

Saturday 26th June 1802

Notice, 11th June 1802 – A quarantine hospital is established on Butcher’s Island for people suffering communicable diseases, particularly plague which generally arrives at Bombay from the Red Sea ports. No other people are to visit the island.

Saturday 26th June 1802

The dry weather we have experienced this year will have a predictable effect on the grain harvests and on the subsequent health of the Indian community. The Company is slightly prepared for this. It will not tackle speculation which is admittedly too widespread, but it has created a public granary at Patna, a particularly poor area, for the preservation of the natives there. When these farmers’ crops fail they often come into town. We should identify means of employing them so they earn an income and can survive another year.

Saturday 3rd July 1802

The army of Egypt is returning to Bombay. Several ships have arrived this week from the Red Sea bringing a battalion of native infantry, artillery and H M’s 84th Regiment. The 86th regiment is daily expected back.

The 1st battalion of the 7th regiment of native light infantry is infected with the plague and is in quarantine at Alexandria until the symptoms abate.

Saturday 10th July 1802

Holkar is restoring his finances by predating on his neighbours. Sindhia has ordered General Perron to attack Holkar’s men whenever he can but they run away on the approach of an army and only attack defenceless towns and villages.

The Grand Mughal says it is the will of Allah.

Sutherland, a cavalry officer seconded to Sindhia, has taken offence at something Sindhia or Perron said and has left camp for Agra with 100 horse.

Colonel Collins has likewise left Sindhia. He got valuable presents on his departure.

Saturday 7th August 1802

James Smith left India in July 1802 and his interest as a partner in M/s Smith Forbes & Co ceased at the end of that month. Concurrently his brother William Smith joined the partnership and the name was reversed to Forbes Smith & Co. The continuing partners are Charles Forbes, James Kinloch and William Smith.

Saturday 7th August 1802

The Danish ship Nancy has arrived from Europe and is selling a cargo of French wines and cambric and some garden seeds at the Danish warehouse in Bombay.

Saturday 7th August 1802

The Company’s cruiser Mornington visited Rangoon in June and landed Lt Colonel Symes on a further mission to the Burmese government. He is returning to Ava.

Saturday 7th August 1802

Several of the English residents at Rangoon are building ships in the river. About five ships have been completed this summer.

Saturday 14th August 1802

A considerable quantity of specie has been imported to Calcutta on the Lady Burgess and the Baring. Much of it is for the government.

Saturday 14th August 1802

Overstraaten, the Dutch Governor-General of Java, says infectious disease has reduced during the last three years as a result of draining the marshes surrounding Batavia. The Dutch are clever at that sort of thing. Not only has disease reduced but the drained lands provide huge new areas for arable development.

Saturday 14th August 1802

The Royal Military College has occupied a large house at Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire, for the education of 100 students.

Thirty cadets will be the sons of officers who died or were wounded on H M’s service. They will be boarded, lodged, clothed and educated free.

Twenty cadets will be the sons of serving officers. They will pay £40 per annum for their education.

Thirty more will be sons of nobles and twenty will be sons of Company employees. All candidates will require a good knowledge of the ‘three R’s’. Entrance is by examination and interview.

They will be instructed in both military science and languages. The Company’s cadets will study oriental languages. The maximum length of instruction is four years. The authority under which the College is established is the War Office.

Saturday 14th August 1802

The Bombay Courier is now printed for the Proprietors by Moroba Damotherjee Prahboo of 7 Forbes Street.

Saturday 21st August 1802

London, 1st February 1802 – John Forbes and Thomas Wilkinson, late of Bombay, with Thomas Redhead late of Calcutta and Henry Redhead late of Madras have formed a partnership in London called Redhead & Co.

They undertake not to involve themselves as principals in ship-owning or trade and offer their Agency service in London to export-import companies in India.

Saturday 21st August 1802

Letter to the Editor, 20th August:

Two or three years ago we had a spate of ship fires in Bombay harbour that were traced to crewmen who did not want to go to China and, having received their four months imprest in advance, preferred to fire the ships and stay here to spend the money.

It struck at our cotton trade which was consequently diminished. The Company resolved that problem by enacting law that seamen who had received their imprest, but did not subsequently sail, would work-off the payment in the Company’s docks or elsewhere.

Now Lowjee Family, Ardaseer and Anna are hurriedly loading cotton to make a quick voyage to China before the winter monsoon. These hurried circumstances will encourage a repetition of the previous arson. The Gunjava, which has just sailed for China, had a lucky escape. Her officers discovered an attempt to fire her cargo before it had gained a firm hold.

Our local insurance cover has been extended to commence ‘from the time the goods are shipped’ instead of the old ‘from commencement of the voyage’ so the shippers are not on risk any more – it’s the insurers, although they are charging no additional premium for the increased risk.

I think we should revive the previous law requiring alternative employment of sailors who do not sail as contracted.

Saturday 28th August 1802

This week the Lydia Elizabeth (Bock) arrived from Batavia which port she left on 17th June. She says opium was selling at $760 cash per chest and cotton piecegoods had advanced 60% on last season. The Polly (Hitchins) sold its cargo at Batavia with great advantage too. The other ships at Batavia were a Dane – King of Denmark (Agerberg), three Dutch, three Prussian and one Hamburg (all from Europe) and five English – Eliza, Crescent, Houghton, Madras and Friendship which all arrived via India.

Saturday 11th September 1802

Bombay news:

On 20th July we accidentally shot the Persian Ambassador to Britain. He was Hadji Kaleel Cawn. He was making a formal visit to India and had been given quarters at Massagong near Bombay where a corps of Bengal Volunteers was sent to guard him. A dispute arose between our soldiers and the Ambassador’s servants. It became violent and ultimately involved firearms. The ambassador and his nephew Aga Mohamed Hussein came out with their attendants to quell the disturbance and they were both shot by our chaps. It was an accident. We thought they were servants as well. Four of the Ambassador’s entourage were killed and his nephew and five more servants were wounded.

A Court of Enquiry has been established at Bombay to investigate. Major John Malcolm, the Governor-General’s private Secretary, will chair the Enquiry. He is coming post-haste to Bombay. Lt Charles Paisley will be Secretary to Malcolm.

On 17th September Governor-General Wellesley issued a public apology for the death together with a response from the nephew Aga Hussein, merely saying he was recovering from his wounds and would reply later.

(NB – the late Ambassador’s nephew Aga Hussein eventually recovered and hosted an entertainment at Government House featuring Persian dancers, singers and fire-eaters.)

Saturday 25th September 1802

British news:

The whaling trade in the southern Pacific is to be legislatively brought under the India Company (which has complained its use as a covert means for British traders to get into Asia). Licences for whaling will in future be issued by the Company.[114]

Saturday 9th October 1802

India news:

Sir William Syer, Recorder of Bombay, has died after a short illness (this edition of the newspaper has a black border).

Saturday 16th October 1802

Before an Indiaman leaves London for India or China, the Captain and Purser must attend India House and the former swears an Oath of fidelity to the Company before taking leave of the Directors.

The Captains receive last-minute instructions and the Pursers receive dispatches.

Wednesday 20th October 1802 Extraordinary

On 7th October a battle occurred between Holkar’s army and the Peshwa’s. The latter was heavily defeated but managed to preserve its colours. Holkar deployed a immense cavalry (100,000 horse is reported in the paper!) and that decided the contest.

Sindhia’s infantry fought well for the Peshwa but was unsuccessful. The Peshwa has fled Poona leaving Jeffwant Rao Holkar in possession.

Saturday 23rd October 1802

Government Notice in English, Gujerati and Persian – A European or Indian translator of Marathi language is required to serve our new administration in Malabar.

N B – There was a young English chap doing it before (the late Arthur Forbes Mitchell) but he was poached by one of the Agency Houses.[115]

Saturday 30th October 1802

The body of the Persian ambassador whom we killed on 20th July, has been embalmed and is being sent back to Bushire. The carrying ship Ravensbourne will be convoyed by the Company’s frigate Bombay. Some 70 Persians, part of his retinue, accompany the body. He will be interred at Najaf.

Saturday 6th November 1802

To celebrate peace with France the 1st December has been declared Thanksgiving Day in India and Britain.

Saturday 6th November 1802

A six mile canal has been dug behind Madras to provide a route for the introduction of local supplies to the town. It runs from Moodookrishna’s choultry to the north-west of Black Town and took only 9 months to complete. It is 40 feet wide and 12 feet deep. Two 60 foot wide roads have been built, one at either side. There are two drawbridges and 17 drains. It will be called the Lord Clive Canal. This should reduce the cost of local provisions at Madras.

Saturday 4th December 1802

The garrison of Bencoolen (at Fort Marlborough) has returned to Calcutta in the Peggy (Adams). Colonel Clayton, Capts Gillies & Best and some 400 troops and camp followers were on board.

They left Bencoolen on 6th September but took over six weeks to get back. This will likely elicit a protest from the free English merchants who remain at Bencoolen and are now unprotected at that port.

Saturday 11th December 1802

Byramjee Jamsetjee has cut his throat. He owned and operated a shop in Hummum Street and his business appeared moderately profitable. He was a diligent trader until a few days before his death when he sank into a depression.

Saturday 18th December 1802

Rangoon is becoming an important ship-building port since the demise of Pegu. It gets fine timber down the river and is ideally suited to construct ships. Johnstone and Captain Roberts have just completed building theirs; Captain Wiltshire and M/s Grant and Bushby are still building. A Persian and an Arab are also laying down hulls.

Saturday 1st January 1803

Notice – Charles Joseph Briscoe and Stephen Beaufort of Bombay have contracted with M/s Short & Short of London for Agency business. They will trade at Bombay under the style Short, Smith & Co.

(This is an associated company of Forbes Smith & Co., created to partake in the increased private trade between India and London)

Saturday 1st January 1803

This edition of the Bombay Courier contains a list of the ships chartered by the Company for the coming season and their owners, etc.

Saturday 8th January 1803

HMS Albatross has arrived at Calcutta with a large amount of specie for one of the British merchant banks.

Saturday 15th January 1803

Mrs Carnac, widow of the General, is leaving Bombay and selling off her lovely house in the Malabar Hills (called Breach Candy or Cambala) together with contents.

It has an extensive plantation of dates and there are large mango and other fruit orchards.

She will assist purchasers with a 50% mortgage if required.

Saturday 29th January 1803

A trading house in London has circulated the opinion to its constituents that India-built ships, shortly to commence private trade to London, are most likely to be put up for sale in London once their cargoes are off-loaded in view of the considerable enhancement of their value in Europe.

The West India merchants are very partial to teak-built ships. They are also considered suitable for Baltic trade. Three or four teak-built India ships have already been seen in London (prizes from the French) and were sold at auction for high prices. These however were 200-300 tons whereas the Company is necessarily assisting the British ship-building cartel and has required the new buildings to all be a minimum of 550 tons – too big for either West Indies or Baltic ports.

3% consols are at 69¼.

Saturday 19th February 1803

Notice, 12th February 1803 – Wm Smith (the new entrant to the partnership) is obliged by family concerns to return to Europe. He has sold his interest in Forbes Smith & Co to the continuing partners Charles Forbes and James Kinloch. The business will continue as Forbes & Co.

Saturday 26th February 1803

The Portuguese ship Luconia (da Costa) has arrived at Calcutta from Manila with a large shipment of South American specie for individuals and Agency Houses in settlement of their trade balances.

Saturday 5th March 1803

Lt Colonel P B Watson has lost a Company’s 8% loan note for 50,000 Rupees (c. £5,000 – a few year’s pay). The bond will be cancelled and a replacement issued after ten months.

Saturday 5th March 1803

Lt Colonel Symes with his suite and the military escort have all returned from Ava to Calcutta on the Mornington.

Saturday 12th March 1803

The London partnership of Redhead & Co, which offers Agency services to Indian exporters, has admitted Josias du Pre Porcher to the partnership and w.e.f. 12th March 1803 will be known as Porcher Redhead & Co., East India Agents of Devonshire Square.

Sgd Thomas Redhead (late of Calcutta), John Forbes (late of Bombay), Thomas Wilkinson (late of Bombay), Henry Redhead (late of Madras) and Josiah du Pre Porcher (late of Madras).[116]

Saturday 12th March 1803

The members of the Purvoe caste are litigating in the Recorder’s Court. A few months ago the Company auctioned their church to recover a debt and the buyer demolished the structure.

The buyer is also a Purvoe and it is the other members of the sect that are suing him. (the Recorder’s judgment is not published)

Saturday 12th March 1803

NB – For several months there has been an exodus of British residents, sailing back to London from India. This week there are another 30-odd people going. Its whole families, not just individuals. The Editor of Bombay Courier merely lists the departing people by name but gives no hint of their reasons for leaving.

Saturday 2nd April 1803

A naval expedition has returned to Bombay from the North (Surat etc.) where it has been attacking pirate’s villages and destroying their boats.

A European was seen amongst the defenders during an attack on the fort above Bate. It was supposed he was one of the 4 – 5 Frenchmen reportedly involved with the pirates.

Saturday 16th April 1803

Letters from St Helena of 10th December 1802 say the negroes and Malays on the island have become seditious and tranquillity is threatened.

Saturday 16th April 1803

Reports from London say Lord William Bentinck is appointed Governor of Madras. He will be attended by W Dowdeswell as Private Secretary and Major H Monson as Aide-de-Camp.

Saturday 16th April 1803

The Batavian Republican government has appointed a seven-man committee to report on the East India trade which the Dutch are about to recommence. The committee is comprised of Nederburgh the VOC’s lawyer, two civil servants, two Amsterdam merchants, a representative of the Surinam Society and a naval captain.

Saturday 4th June 1803

Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, 2nd son of the 3rd Duke of Portland, will marry one of Lord Gosport’s daughters before sailing to India in February 1803 to assume the government of Madras.

Saturday 18th June 1803

Bombay Government Notice, 17th June 1803 – Tenders are invited for the construction of a complete set of barracks for a European regiment within the walls of the fort, including officers quarters, regimental storeroom, guard room and hospital. Two securities are required to guarantee performance.

Saturday 2ndJuly 1803

The Company’s Directors have given a grand dinner to Lord William Bentinck at the London Tavern on the eve of his departure for Madras.

Saturday 23rd July 1803

India Gazette, Calcutta – The last Company opium sales produced an average of 1,350 Sicca rupees per chest but our supply is refused on the coast of Borneo, even when offered at only $650 Spanish.

The chiefs there suppose our merchants are cheating them. They do not believe we paid the equivalent of nearly $600 per chest to buy.

One chest was sold in Malacca and a few more in Penang where the buyers were paying $750 –780 but at Batavia opium was selling only in barter for pepper (at notional values of $910 per chest and $13 per picul i.e. 70 piculs of pepper per chest).

Our piecegoods are selling cheaper in the East than they do here. It seems peace has diminished the proceeds of trade.

Saturday 30th July 1803

The Governor-in-Council has extended the jurisdiction of the Company’s Courts at Salsette and Caranja to Bancoote and its dependencies.

All future disputes in Bancoote will be heard at the Company’s Court. An appeal to the Suddar Adawlut is available for Marathas.

Saturday 6thAugust 1803

There was a General Meeting of Shareholders of the Company on 13th April at India House to elect six Directors to replace those obliged to retire by rotation.

The six candidates approved by the Directors for office are Simon Fraser, Charles Mills, Thomas Parry, Abraham Robarts, George Tatem and David Scott (who has since excluded himself).

The five candidates put-up by the external (non-Director) shareholders are John Huddleston, John Bebb, John Inglis, Richard Chicheley Plowden and Thomas Reid.

The ballot was huge with over 1,700 votes being received. The count lasted all night. The successful candidates were Fraser, Mills, Parry, Robarts, Huddleston and Plowden.

Thereafter the Court of Directors elected Bosanquet as Chairman and Robarts as vice-Chairman for the next year.

Saturday 20th August 1803

His Highness the Nizam Ali Khan, the Mughal’s Viceroy of the Deccan (based at Hyderabad), died on 6th August. He is succeeded by his son Sikander Jah.

Wednesday 24th August 1803 Extraordinary

Castlereagh spoke in the Commons about the Company’s shipping. They charter 90,000 tons and employ 10,000 seamen. The Company routinely charters ships for six voyages as required by an Act of Parliament but many of the ships were useful for longer periods. These ships are huge (generally 800 – 1,200 tons with a few of 500 tons). They are intentionally built big to make them unsuitable for any other trade.

This was wasteful and better charter hires could be had if the ships were of a common design and size and if the number of voyages was increased. He wished to amend an Act of the 39th George III to accommodate these changes.

The Speaker said it would have to be considered by the House in Committee which could be done the next day.

Saturday 27th August 1803

The Rev John Thompson’s School at Kensington near London offers board and education to the children of Company servants at six Guineas entrance fee and thirty five Guineas a year. Staying at school during holidays one Guinea a week. Single bed five Guineas a year. Bring your own sheets, towels and cutlery.

The general stream teaches English, French, Writing, Arithmetic, Latin and Greek. The Science stream teaches Book Keeping, Mathematics, Geography, Military exercise, Dancing, Drawing, Fortifications and Public Speaking. These special subjects cost one Guinea per quarter each.

We also offer Italian for two Guineas and Fencing for three Guineas. Etc.

Saturday 3rdSeptember 1803

31st August – Forbes & Co has today admitted David Inglis as a partner of Charles Forbes and James Kinloch. The trading name is unchanged. Inglis was a Company employee – Assistant to the Collector at Surat.

Saturday 3rdSeptember 1803

M/s Walter Davidson and L A Davidson have arrived at Calcutta in early August on the American ship Governor Gilman. She is from Portsmouth, New Hampshire via the Cape and Madras.

Saturday 17th September 1803

Lt James Rivett-Carnac has resigned as Aide-de-Camp to Governor Duncan.

Saturday 24th September 1803

Major General Arthur Wellesley has commenced fighting Sindhia. He has captured Ahmednaggur. Sindhia’s men were allowed to depart with their arms.

The property of the inhabitants was guaranteed by Wellesley. He has taken hostages for good performance of the agreement he has made but terms are unavailable.

Saturday 24th September 1803

Lord Wm Bentinck has arrived at Madras and paid his respects to the Nabob of the Carnatic at Chepauk Palace. He has agreed to keep open house from 10 am – 12 noon on Tuesday and Friday mornings to permit visits of residents. Lord Clive has removed to Mowbray’s Garden until his departure.

Saturday 1stOctober 1803

There has been an unexpected failure in the harvest at Salsette. The price of grain has risen. We hope someone will import some food for the relief of the residents.

Wednesday 5th October 1803 Extraordinary

Major General Arthur Wellesley has obtained a convincing victory at Ahmednaggur over the combined armies of Sindhia and the Rajah of Berar on 23rd September. It was a splendid effort by Wellesley who was out-numbered 10 : 1. He had to dig the enemy out of entrenched positions and contend with 100 cannon.

Actually in an earlier engagement he lost his cannon to Sindhia’s cavalry and had to send in the 7th native cavalry and the 78th regiment to get them back. 90% of our casualties occurred due to this and explain the unusually long British casualty list for an Indian battle.

Three quarters of Wellesley’s army were native troops and they fought well and coolly. The guns we captured were mostly good cannon – 76 brass and 22 iron. We got 3,000 bullocks, 50 camels and many other things.

Captain Grant of the Madras Infantry saw a European in Sindhia’s force and cut him off his horse. He is supposed to be Major Dovson, a German mercenary. Sindhia’s minister was also killed.[117]

Saturday 15th October 1803

General Lake defeated Sindhia’s troops at Ali Ghur in early September 1803. He was assisted by a British officer named Lucan, recently in Sindhia’s service, who directed Colonel Monson’s unit into the fort.

All British officers serving with Sindhia or holding commissions in his army have been ordered by the Governor-General to not advise Sindhia. They may not oppose British troops on pain of being charged with High Treason.

The commandant of the fort of Ali Ghur is a Frenchman named Pedron whom we have captured. He was the only European there. The French officer Perron escaped towards Agra with his body guard.

Tuesday 25th October 1803 Extraordinary

Calcutta, 26th September – General Lake has crossed the Jumna and taken Firozabad. The forts of Coorjah, Broach and Jalnapur have also been taken along with the port of Manickpatam. The French General Perron in Sindhia’s service, has resigned his appointment and applied for permission to pass through Company lands with his family and property to Lucknow. Becket and Fleury are accompanying him.

Lake reports “The army I fought on 11th September has dispersed. I expect Bourquain (a.k.a. Louis, a French regimental commander) and the other French officers in Sindhia’s service to surrender soon.”

General Lake continued to Delhi and took the Grand Mughal (the current representative of the House of Timur) under British protection. He says the iron cannon he has captured are European-made. The brass cannon are made in Muttra and Ujjain but all appear to follow European design. They have well-made elevating screws of the latest French design (i.e. Sindhia’s French officers are directing the manufacture or are in touch with their home country). The mortars and howitzers are the same – it is really a very simple and ingenious device and also doubles the firing rate of the gun. The gun carriages are also well-made and accord with French design.

Saturday 29th October 1803

Notice, 29th August – The Governor-General requires all British subjects holding positions in the army of Sindhia, or any other Maratha Prince, to resign and report to the nearest British army post.

They will receive the protection of the British government and their emoluments will continue to be paid by us. Should any Englishman remain in the service of a Maratha Prince he forfeits the Company’s protection. Those French or American officers in Maratha service who resign and report to us will likewise receive the same benefits.

We are at war with Sindhia and British officers continuing to serve any Maratha Prince are guilty of High Treason and will be treated accordingly.

Saturday 29th October 1803

The French officers Perron, Geslin, Guerimaier and Bourquain in Sindhia’s army have surrendered to us and are being escorted to Calcutta.

Saturday 5th November 1803

A three–volume book called Political and Commercial Strictures on the Comparative State of Naval Architecture in Great Britain and India has been published by A MacKonochie of Calicut. He owns a saw mill at Beypore. It includes an Address to Jacob Bosanquet, Chairman of the India Company, on the advantages of encouraging ship-building in India.

MacKonochie’s point is that oak from the Royal forests is becoming unobtainable and England will need to import timber or we will become like Spain. That was the conclusion of the Commissioners of Land in their 6th February 1792 report to the House of Commons and the situation since then has become worse. He wants to build ships in India for British use in Europe.

Saturday 12th November 1803

The American ship Ganges (Callender) has arrived Calcutta from Batavia which she left on 9th September 1803. At that time no French warships were there (a single French merchant ship was loading for Europe) and the renewal of war was unknown. Four 64-gun warships (without guns) had arrived from Holland to load coffee but so many of their crews were sick they could not depart. The Government Treasury at Batavia is empty.

Saturday 12th November 1803

General Arthur Wellesley’s forces captured Berampore on 17th October and Affeerghur on 21st October. This completes the conquest of Sindhia’s possessions in the Deccan.

Saturday 12th November 1803

All the French prisoners taken at Pondicherry recently have been embarked on the Matilda for Europe. The French squadron departed Pondicherry on 14th July and is thought to have gone to Mauritius.

Saturday 19th November 1803

Company Notice – We have room for private cargo on the Huddart which has arrived and is supposed to leave for London soon. Put in you proposals for freight before 25th November.

Saturday 19th November 1803

The Editor apologies for limited information about vessel movements. His paper is inter alia sent to subscribers in the neutral port of Tranquebar and any information in it could well become known to the French.

There is a Mauritian privateer off the Gujerat coast. The Editor wishes to protect the merchant shipping of India.

Saturday 19th November 1803

General Wellesley has fought a hard battle with Sindhia’s main army on 23rd September at the Adjunta Pass in the Deccan (the Battle of Assaye). The battle raged for three hours. Ninety Maratha cannon were taken at the point of the bayonet. Our losses have been severe. Wellesley’s formal report is awaited.

We have occupied the province of Cuttack, having defeated the natives at Barrabati. It is a prosperous place. Military and Civil governors have been appointed.

The fort of Agra, called the key to Hindustan, has been taken with 6,000 prisoners. The usual terms required by a Company army for capitulation is the surrender of all arms and treasure. The prisoners are then allowed to disperse.[118]

Saturday 26th November 1803

Editor – it is six months since the last information from England (The Company controls the provision of Europe news via its ships and by exclusive use of the overland route). News sent overland takes 5-7 weeks.

The Editor occasionally publishes articles from the Courier du Bas Rhin, the Frankfurt Gazette and whatever papers the visiting ship captains care to give him but he prefers the London papers.

Saturday 3rd December 1803

The dispersed Maratha units retiring from our armies (Lake’s in Hindustan and Wellesley’s in the Deccan) have united at Cassowly under the French adventurer Duderneg. General Lake engaged and defeated them on 1st November.

We captured their baggage and 70 guns. It was a costly victory and Lake only continued his pursuit because they still had so many cannon (the item that decides the outcome of battles).

On 29th November Wellesley followed-up with another battle on the plains of Argaum which has curtailed Maratha military power in India.

Saturday 10th December 1803

A ship was built by the Company and launched at Beypur on 14th November. She is the Duncan (named for the Bombay Governor) of 350 – 400 tons. This is the first English ship to be built on the west side of India that has been entirely built of teak from the Company’s domains. Formerly we used teak from Bassein in Burma or from the Maratha states. A large part of the iron, pitch and tar was sourced from the Malabar coast. The tar was wholly made from the wood chips and sawdust generated in construction. Teak tar is locally believed to be superior to Norwegian tar.

It is intended by the Company that this demonstration will encourage the Royal Navy to buy its stores from Malabar in future and become the first event in changing the habits of British ship-owners. The Company hopes to become the major supplier of ships to England.

Saturday 7thJanuary 1804

The Peshwa is facing a shortage of grain in his lands. There was a partial failure of the monsoon in 1802 and a more complete failure in 1803. The tanks are dry and the rivers are low.

He has offered the Banians a duty-free transit for grain from Cullian through the Ghats to Poona. The merchants of Bombay are also invited to partake of this concession.

Saturday 7th January 1804

Harford Jones is the Company’s Resident at Baghdad. He received a copy letter from Castlereagh, President of the Board of Control, to the Turkish Viceroy (Pasha) of Baghdad. Its in a box adorned with the Royal coat of arms.

The Pasha responded by sending Jones the insignia of the Order of the Crescent, 2nd Class, featuring a crescent and star in diamonds. The Pasha applied for this for Jones from the Porte last December upon receipt of Castlereagh’s letter.

The Pasha says he is concerting action with the Imam of Muscat against the austere Wahhabis in Arabia who possess the shrines of Islam.[119]

Saturday 14th January 1804

Notice – All the houses within 800 yards of Bombay fort are to be demolished. “You were all supposed to leave by 15th December but you are still there. You have one more month from 13th January whereafter the ground will be cleared.” (in English, Gujerati and Portuguese)

Saturday 14th January 1804

On 17th December 1803 a peace treaty was concluded between Major General Arthur Wellesley and the Vackeel of the Rajah of Berar. That leaves Sindhia isolated.

Saturday 14th January 1804

The Company’s extra ship Tigris has arrived at Calcutta on 13th December bringing Mr G A C Plowden, writer.

Saturday 28th January 1804

Madras Presidency has appointed Thomas Warden as its Collector in Malabar.

Saturday 28th January 1804

General Wellesley has taken the fort of Gawilghur in early December. Most of the treasure and jewels had been removed but he got 500,000 Rupees of bullion.

Saturday 4th February 1804

Notice in English, Persian, Arabic and Gujerati – The Bombay Government is promoting smallpox vaccinations for Muslims, Hindus, Parsees etc., but all the natives are more or less avoiding the procedure, particularly the Muslims and Nairs.

We provide free vaccinations at Surat – its good for you.

Saturday 4th February 1804

The Officers of the army under General Lake that have defeated Sindhia’s army in the north (Hindustan) are grateful for the rewards obtained in the actions and have publicly donated a service of silver plate worth £4,000 to the General on 21st December 1803.

Sgd Majors General St John and Fraser plus a group of Colonels, Majors, Captains and a Lieutenant.

On 17th December Wellesley in the Deccan signed a peace treaty with the Rajah of Berar. It was ratified by the Governor-General on 9th January.

Saturday 4th February 1804

General Arthur Wellesley has reported the agreement of the Rajahs of Berar and Bhoonsla to the terms of his treaty of peace and friendship. He has forwarded their endorsed copies of the agreement to the Governor-General for his ratification.

He also says Sindhia’s negotiators arrived in his camp on 23rd December to make similar agreements. He attributes their arrival to his Ultimatum to Sindhia’s vackeels Jeswant Rao Gurpara and Haru Punt Nana wherein he told them he would shortly withdraw from the armistice agreed 23rd November and recommence hostilities.

The terms Wellesley got from the Rajahs were generous:

  • They cede to the Company in Orissa, the province of Cuttack and its port of Balasore and all those lands west of the River Wurdah where the Rajah has formerly collected taxes jointly with the Soubah of the Deccan. Everything south of the hills and west of the river now belongs to the Company. The Soubah is to be compensated with some lands producing 400,000 Rupees of revenue to the south of the hills (as decided by the Company) and he (the Soubah) renounces all claims he might have on the ceded lands.
  • The Soubah engages never to employ Frenchmen or any other European or American nationals if their government is at war with England. Representatives of each party will reside in the capital of the other.
  • The Soubah recognises those treaties the Company has already made with several of his vassals. A list is given to the Soubah for information.
  • He agrees to renounce his treaties with Sindhia and the other Maratha chiefs and to never again assist them in war on the Company.

(This treaty gives the Company the productive lowlands to the south of its existing possessions in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa)

Saturday 4th February 1804

The East India Shipping Bill was discussed in the House of Commons. Sir William Pulteney, Prinsep and Johnstone all objected it disadvantaged British ship builders and prevented competition. Castlereagh, Wallace and Charles Grant of the Company’s parliamentary interest, defended the Bill which was then passed.

Saturday 4th February 1804

HRH the Prince Regent of Portugal has conferred a Knighthood in the Order of Christ on Miguel de Lima e Souza the well-known Bombay merchant.

Governor Jonathan Duncan invested him with the award on 6th February at Government House.

Its validity was certified to the Bombay Government by Francisco Antonio de Veiga Cabral da Camara Pimental, the Portuguese Viceroy of Asia, based at Goa.

The Order was created by King Dennis of Portugal in 1317 and confirmed by the Pope in 1319. In 1551 Pope Julius III vested the right to issue the award in the Portuguese Kings.

Saturday 4th February 1804

An ambassador from the Pasha (or Bashaw, the Porte’s Viceroy) of Baghdad, Suliman Aga, has arrived at Bombay. He was given a reception, marked by all the minutiae of Eastern etiquette, on 18th February. In return, he gave some fine Arab horses to Governor Duncan.

His ship, Mustapha, had been laid-up at Basra prior to the voyage and had become the nesting place of a good many swallows. It sailed in the nesting season with the consequence that the adult swallows have followed the ship for the whole voyage.

They distinguish the ship in Bombay harbour by continually flying around it.

Saturday 4th February 1804

About 10,000 Maratha cavalry and some Pindari infantry have passed the River Kristna and approached our lands in the Brinjaries. General Stuart engaged them in their camp at Hanamsagur, killed 2,000 and made another 1,000 prisoner.

“I have taken all their baggage and 20,000 bullocks but they escaped with the horses” he reports. Four Frenchmen were discovered amongst them, of whom one was killed whilst the others escaped. Company losses were trifling.

Saturday 25th February 1804

Government Notice (only in English), 24th February – Private British merchants have adopted a practise of repeatedly changing the names of their ships. This creates confusion. We will not continually amend Certificates of Registry unless good reasons for changes are provided and then only after payment of double fees.

Saturday 25th February 1804

Ruttonjee Rustomjee has reported the loss of his 1803 Treasury Bill Receipt No 7300 for 1,000 Rupees. If the Bill remains unpresented after six months, it will be cancelled.

Saturday 3rd March 1804

General Arthur Wellesley sent a report (received 6th February at Fort William) stating he had concluded a definitive peace treaty with Sindhia and he requested the Governor-General to ratify it too. The terms are:

  • Sindhia cedes to the Company in perpetuity all his lands and forts in the Doab (between the Jumna and Ganges); all his lands north of Jeypore, including the Ranah of Gohud; Broach and Ahmednuggur and their dependencies; all the lands south of the Adjunti Hills including Jalnapore, Gandapore and the land between those Hills and the River Godavari.
  • Sindhia renounces all claims on the Company and its allies.
  • Assirghur, Buranpore, Powanghur, Duhud and their dependant territories are restored to Sindhia.
  • Sindhia’s family have long owned the Enaum of Doolpore, Baree and Rajahkerrah, all north of Jeypore in the Ranch of Gohud. Some of the lands ceded to the Company (above) were held in Jaghire by his family and his principal officials. The Company agrees that these awards of the Grand Mughal shall remain Sindhia’s but under Company protection.
  • It is the intention of this treaty that none of Sindhia’s family or principal officials shall suffer loss. The Company will pay them pensions or grant Jaghires at its option to a limit of 1.7 million Rupees per annum. It is agreed that Sindhia’s troops are banned from the above-named Enaum and Jaghires for any purpose (particularly collecting revenue).
  • Sindhia claims the Enaum of several towns and villages in the lands of Rao Pundit Purdhaun. Those towns and villages are restored to him but his troops are banned from entering them.
  • The Company has numerous treaties with vassals of Sindhia. These are all confirmed and Sindhia renounces all claims on those vassals and recognises their independence of him.
  • All war crimes are condoned.
  • The Peshwa’s rights to lands in Malwa is confirmed and the Company will mediate any disputes Sindhia has with the Peshwa.
  • Sindhia renounces all claims on the Grand Mughal and engages to not again interfere in his affairs.
  • Sindhia agrees to obtain Company consent before employing any Europeans or Americans in his service.
  • Ministers of each party will reside in the court of the other.
  • The Company has defensive treaties with the Subadar of the Deccan and Rao Pundit Purdhaun. Sindhia is invited to accede to those treaties. If so, the Company will provide him with 6 battalions of infantry and an appropriate amount of artillery. The costs of this force will be paid out of the revenues of those lands ceded to the Company in the opening article. Should he not accede, his refusal will have no affect on the other parts of this agreement.

Saturday 17th March 1804

The merchants of Calcutta have resolved to present a sword worth £1,500 to General Lake and another worth £1,000 to General Wellesley in respect of their services to British India in the late wars with the Maratha defenders of the Grand Mughal.

Saturday 24th March 1804

Notice, 22nd March – The Governor of Bombay invites all the senior civil and military officers of the Company and members of the Agency Houses to a party at Parell (the Governor’s house) on 3rd April to celebrate victory over the Marathas.

Saturday 24th March 1804

Calcutta officials and merchants have celebrated the victories as well.

Strettell said the wars only took six months and have added greatly to British territory. Our ability to support England in the current contest with France has been improved. We have shut-out France from every chance she might have had to compete with our power in Asia and have subjected the House of Timur to our complete control.

C F Martyn read the Address to Lord Wellesley. He came to India when the Company was in crisis and required a Governor-General of vigilance and firmness. He had previously been 12 years at the Board of Control and learned the Company’s philosophy. He arrived May 1798 and immediately stirred the civil service into greater activity.

His first great stroke was rooting out the French influence at Hyderabad, influence that the Nizam claimed he was himself powerless to remove. In 1799 we placed an army in the Nizam’s lands at his expense and brought him under our protection. That strengthened the links between the Company and the Court of Hyderabad and allowed us both to obtain reciprocal advantages (we got the French advisers out of the Nizam’s court and guaranteed the peaceful succession of his son to the government of his father).

The subversion of Tippoo’s rebellion and the conquest of Seringapatam caused the overthrow of the Kingdom of Mysore and gave us the Carnatic. That victory prostrated the most powerful native state in India which was then dismembered and made incapable of ever again amassing so much power.

Wellesley’s next great move was the assumption of the government of the Carnatic. Prior to that date, the Company shared the Carnatic with the Nabob of Arcot and our policies were constantly at odds. Since we assumed full control it has been well governed. It was only when we took Seringapatam and studied the archives therein that we found the two preceding Nabobs (the Omrahs) had been in correspondence with Tippoo (in violation of the Cornwallis’ Treaty of 1792) and had co-ordinated their pacific obstructions to our initiatives. Wellesley wisely took over the government of the Carnatic although faint-hearted MPs in London regretted the breach of the 1792 Treaty.[120]

His next act was the late Maratha War. We are still unaware of the causes of that war and must await its debate in parliament before we can know it. We condoned it from our trust and confidence in Wellesley. That war ended with the Treaty of Bassein whereby we pledged to protect the Peshwa and restore him to the full enjoyment of his rights and power at Poona whilst we took only as much land as was necessary to protect ourselves. It was a four-month war involving battles at Delhi, Assaye, Safwaree and Argaum. We conquered Candeish, the maritime provinces of Gujerat and Cuttack and the whole of the Maratha lands between the Jumna and the Ganges. More particularly we captured the keys (great forts) of India – the key to the Deccan and the key to Hindustan. And the peace treaty removes the last opportunity for France to interfere in India – we stipulated (and the Marathas agreed) that the governments of Malwa and Berar (the Maratha strongholds) would not employ the subjects of any power at war with England.[121]

In 4 – 5 months the two most powerful Maratha states have been reduced to an unconditional dependence on British generosity.

Whilst these territorial extensions were being made, Wellesley also restored our public finances. 3 – 4 years ago the Company was in financial difficulty. Now we have paid-off a portion of our public debt and our public credit is much improved. With one or two years of peace it may be possible, instead of requiring assistance from England, for India to provide assistance to London.

Whilst these two great wars of Wellesley have been expensive (in the Maratha War the Company deployed 54,918 men excluding garrisons and military stations), the trade and revenue of the Company has increased to pay for them and our payments to the troops were never in arrears. The Civil List of England has sometimes been 15 months in arrears but our Civil List in Bengal these days is paid by the 15th of the month after salaries fall due.

On top of these glorious military and civil achievements, Wellesley has displayed the finest patriotism, he has exalted the reputation of the Company.

This Address to Wellesley was signed by over 400 Englishmen (list of names in the paper)

Lord Wellesley replied that the objects of the Maratha wars were:

1/ to secure the rights of the British government against usurpation, violence and rapine,

2/ to restore the authority of the Peshwa at Poona,

3/ to establish the Subadar of the Deccan (the Nizam) in his hereditary rights at Hyderabad and

4/ to deliver the Mughal Emperor Shah Allum from the Marathas and their French advisers at Delhi.

Our support for the House of Timur will guard the less powerful neutral states from oppression whilst enlarging the resources of those states in alliance with us. We have admitted our vanquished enemies to defensive alliances to secure their unsupervised government of their own lands.

The thrust of my policy is to direct the states of India towards peaceful development of their resources by providing for their external security.

Saturday 31st March 1804

Notice, 30th March – The grain shortage at Poona, that has continued for 3 – 4 months (due to war), is affecting Bombay. An increasing number of refugees are arriving and the day-rate for labour in Bombay has collapsed. Government wishes to employ everyone who is capable of work. We will care for those who are incapable.

When you see these people, advise them to go to the Town Engineer for jobs or the Superintendent of Police if unemployable. All the merchants should assist as well. (In English and Persian)

Saturday 31st March 1804

Bombay has been celebrating the victory over the Marathas as well. On 22nd March at a meeting of the town’s English population, Threipland, the Company’s Legal Counsel in Bombay, gave the Address:

“We attacked the enemy in his own lands where he had the local knowledge and could recognise the natural barriers and impregnable fortresses. All his advantages were fruitless when opposed by British troops. British officers inspired native soldiers with coolness and courage. They overcame forces numerically superior to their own. The fugitive French, who had been exalted to the rank of Maratha chiefs, were revealed to be a thin reed on which to base a policy. Our force is irresistible. We are now able to befriend the Marathas without fear or jealousy.

“The French recognised India as the source of British power and attacked Egypt. They were defeated on their first attempt but the prospect of a renewed attempt remained so long as they had influence in India. Abercromby’s sacrifice and the victory of Aboukir were the first shots in the recent campaigns against the Marathas in India. We have now secured India to British rule.”

Saturday 31st March 1804

The British residents of Moorshedabad (and the garrison at Berhampore) have also addressed the Governor-General on 23rd February on his military successes:

“The late war with the Marathas originated in political necessity forced upon us by French policy. France intended to make India a source of wealth for her war with England. France expected to find us vulnerable. She expected to receive full support from the Marathas.

“We had to cripple their resources and deprive them of the means to harm us. The Company set about it expeditiously. We assembled and equipped two large armies to attack north and south, in Hindustan and in the Deccan. We have won. We have taken those lands that allow us to better secure ourselves. The wealth of their productions will be added to our own.”

Sgd Colonels Watson, Becher, Sturt, Reed, Pattle etc.

Saturday 31st March 1804

Calcutta Gazette Appointments, 25th February – Lt Colonel Scott is appointed the Company’s Resident to the Grand Mughal’s Court at Delhi; Colonel Collins is Resident at the Court of Lucknow; Josiah Webbe Resident to Sindhia’s Court and Mountstuart Elphinstone Resident at Berar.

Saturday 14th April 1804

Notice, 13th April – Two Bombay Treasury Notes Nos 2254 & 2255 to totally 6,000 Rupees issued to M Honore Fauve, late in the military service of Sindhia, have been lost in the battle near Poona. If the notes are not presented in one year they will be assumed to have been destroyed and will be replaced.

Saturday 5th May 1804

The Company’s postal route from Bombay to Madras is via Poona, Meritch, Darwar, Harryhur, Chitteldroog, Bangalore, Seringapatam, Vellore and Arcot. Letters for Goa, Canara and Malabar are forwarded on the first part of this route too. It’s a daily service that sets out from Bombay at 6 pm.

The postal service to Tannah is twice weekly.

Saturday 5th May 1804

The Captain of HMS Sheerness says some convoyed merchantman leave the convoy early. In England it is a criminal offence. Ships leaving a convoy may, by their capture, endanger the others, he says.

Saturday 26th May 1804

The Company’s Directors have received an application from the General Officers of the Indian army to rescind our Order of 6th June 1798 whereby the General Officers were required to limit their holidays in Europe and return to India after a stated period. These officers and some others of lesser rank (all in the Bengal service) have also asked that the off-reckoning allowances be increased.[122]

The Directors disapprove of army officers combining for better terms of service which they consider to be subversive of their authority. We will look after you if you petition politely. The Governor-General is to remind all officers of their high pay and financial opportunities and request they do not sow dissension in the service.

Those Lt Colonels who are temporarily in command of Indian regiments whilst the Colonel remains in Europe will be treated the same as Colonels of Regiments in India. Many of our Native Infantry regiments have two Battalions each commanded by a Lt Colonel. When the Colonel is away, the Battalions often perform separate service and each Lt Colonel acts a Colonel. Those Colonels will also share in off-reckoning.

Our decision is to share off-reckonings equally between commanders of all infantry, artillery and cavalry units. A list of retired Generals and Colonels will be made and they will all be struck off strength (21 officers affected). They will receive an annual allowance of £543.15.0d in lieu of off-reckoning in addition to their full- or half-pay. The remainder of the off-reckoning fund will be distributed amongst Colonels of regiments. If any of those Colonels remain in England after being ordered to duty in India, they will cease to receive the allowance and will be considered to have retired on their pay alone.

Saturday 2nd June 1804

The Company has had a stroke of luck from an unexpected direction. A young lad named Rich came down from northern Scotland to attempt the cadetship examination. After two hours of examination it was discovered that he has already mastered Arabic and Persian and has some insight into other Oriental languages.

The Company’s Librarian instantly advised Chairman Bosanquet who settled a valuable Bombay writership on the young man and sent him off to Lock, the Company’s Consul in Egypt, as Secretary.

Saturday 2nd June 1804

Suliman Aga, an emissary of the Pasha of Baghdad, arrived at Calcutta on the Upton Castle on 28th April to see the Governor-General. Smith of the Bombay service was his aide-de-camp and Lt Stuart commanded his escort. He will stay at Chowringhee for the duration. The purpose of his visits to first Bombay and now Calcutta has not been announced.

Saturday 9th June 1804

The Madras government has emulated Bombay in initiating a daily postal service between the Presidencies. Their messengers will use the same route to Bombay. Now the Maratha states are peaceful, we can travel the Deccan and Hindustan across India.

Saturday 23rd June 1804

M/s Mitchell & Crawford owned the ship Fort William and chartered it to the Company in 1790 for a voyage to Madras. The owners wished to appoint Captain George Simpson to command the ship. The Company required a bond from Simpson and £1,000 per voyage from the owners to approve his appointment. The owners agreed. After the first voyage Mitchell sold his share in the ship to Donald.

A second charter party was made with the Company on 17th September 1792. The charter-party contained a covenant that neither owner nor master should sell any jobs in the ship or receive any money in respect of employment on the ship and that if they did it was money belonging to the Company to be paid with interest.

Simpson paid the owners £1,000 for his job as was required under the original charter-party but that first voyage was unprofitable and he did not offer to pay for the second voyage. After the second voyage Donald gave Simpson a parcel and refunded £1,000 which Simpson had paid for the first voyage asking him at the same time to resign the command.

The Company then commenced this action for the £1,000 paid to Simpson and cited the terms of the covenant in support of their demand. Donald said the payment was not to obtain the command but to resign it and he denied any knowledge of the previous arrangement between the Company and Mitchell. Simpson said he paid Donald £1,000 to get the job. Judgment for the Company.[123]

Saturday 21st July 1804

Bombay Government Notice – The toll charged on pedestrians, vehicles and goods etc., using the Sion Causeway is abolished until further notice.[124]

Saturday 21st July 1804

Notice, 28th June – H H Smith will open the Madras Boarding School at Vipery on 15th July 1804 to instruct youth in commercial and mathematical subjects by teaching English, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography and Navigation.

French and Dutch students also welcome.

10 Pagodas entrance fee, 8 Pagodas per month for young children and 10 Pagodas for older ones.

Drawing, Dancing and Persian also offered.

Saturday 21st July 1804

James Douglas Richardson is a Bombay resident in the occasional business of lending money to visiting ship’s officers on the security of their providing their own Bill of Exchange (usually on their father or some other substantial relative in England) which he can use for collection in due course. (this is the business for which the Royal Navy gives a discount of 10% in addition to interest on the Bills)

William George Onesipherus Paul Mott was a teacher in HMS Concorde who knew of Richardson’s business and approached him for a loan of £20 secured on a Bill signed by William Strong, a midshipman on HMS Concorde, counter-signed by Captain Wood of the frigate, for that amount. Richardson thought Mott was Strong and Mott encouraged the belief. Richardson exchanged the Bill at 8 Rupees per Pound and gave Mott 160 Rupees. It later transpired that both signatures on the Bill were forged and Mott was arrested.

The Recorder’s Court Judge noted that forgery was a capital offence in England but asserted that English Law did not extend to India.

The Court noted that law in England had developed onerous terms for the protection of property due to the nature and circumstances of the British economy. He sentenced Mott to prison for 2 years.

Saturday 21st July 1804

HMS Rattlesnake and HMS Albatross have brought a large amount of specie from Madras to Calcutta.

Saturday 21st July 1804

There have been some mopping-up actions following the dispersal of Sindhia’s and Holkar’s forces by respectively Wellesley and Lake:

  • Lt Colonel Don has taken the fort of Rampura on 16th May 1804. There were 1,100 defenders of whom about 50 were killed and many more wounded. The walls are at least 20 feet thick and 40 feet in places.[125] The Company’s losses were 300+ wounded.
  • About 5,000 insurgent cavalrymen entered Bundelcund. A Company force sent against them was attacked, a few hundred of its men cut-off and their artillery lost. Five companies of Sepoys managed to retreat to the main camp safely.
    The insurgents then attacked Culpee and tried to cross the Jumna but were repelled by two Companies of Sepoys. Ultimately on 30th May Colonel Sheppard defeated them near Kutch and they returned from whence they had come.

Saturday 28th July 1804

Obituary of the Nawab Mirza Mehedy Ali Khan Hushmut Jung Behadur, 51 years. He came to India from Khorassan twenty years ago and from 1785 – 95 was employed by the Company at Benares. He resigned on the abolition of the Residency of that province and assumed charge of the Company’s commercial interests at Bushire.

In 1798 and 99 he rendered services to the Company that were so important he received the thanks of the London government. He later worked in Red Sea and Arabian Gulf ports in connection with our military expedition to Egypt. He then returned to Bushire and was eventually pensioned-off with a reversionary right in the fund to his two sons.

He was well-informed about Persian literature. His understanding of the root language allowed him insights into the old dynasties of the Persian Empire and often produced more persuasive opinions than the old Greek historians or more recent Muslim writers on whom the West commonly relies. (Editor’s Note – He is better known in the West as Abu Talib Khan. Between 1799 – 1803 he travelled in Europe spending most of his time in London and, on return to India, wrote a book of his experiences which was translated from Persian by C Stewart as “Travels of Mirza Abu Talib Khan” in 1814)

Saturday 4th August 1804

196 English residents of Madras and 123 residents of Bombay have thanked the Governor-General for defeating the Marathas.

Saturday 11th August 1804

Captain Edward Moor of the Company’s army has lost 3 Bombay Promissory Notes Nos 308, 310 and 311 of the 1801 / 02 issue for totally 60,000 Rupees and copy certificates have been issued to him.

Saturday 11th August 1804

Four important residents of Seringapatam have written to Major General Arthur Wellesley on 16th July thanking him for releasing them from their former government. They are Mir Hussain Faizee, Habeeb Ulla, Putu Baul Setti and Roshin Lalla.

Wellesley replied that he was just doing his duty.

Saturday 18th August 1804

A subscription has been commenced for the relief of famine at Poona, which seems to be a consequence of the late war. 20,000 Rupees have been quickly collected and sent-off as money or grain. The subscribers are all English or Parsee. There are no Hindu or Muslim names in the published list.

In the newspaper of 25th August, the Company’s Resident at Poona replies that he cannot buy grain because it puts the prices up even more.

He will apply the funds to buying vegetables and meat which are still in fair supply.

Saturday 25th August 1804

James Gathorne Remington has been admitted a partner in Bruce Fawcett & Co on 1st August.

Saturday 8th September 1804

A large number of new appointments have been made to administer the recently ceded or conquered territories. Most of the new appointments are judges or revenue collectors with a few political and commercial jobs. There are also many new cadets and writers arriving.

Tuesday 11th September 1804 Extraordinary

The brig Shannon has arrived from Basra and we have news from London up to early May. The French invasion of England had still not occurred at that time.

Tuesday 11th September 1804 Extraordinary

W Elphinstone and Charles Grant have been appointed Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Company

Saturday 15th September 1804

From 9th September there will be a daily postal service between Bombay and Calcutta. It will pass through Hyderabad and Guntoor. Mail to all three places will be accepted.

Saturday 15th September 1804

Stevens and Agnew, senior officers of the Company, have been charged in England with extorting 100,000 Rupees from the Zamorin of Malabar in 1795.

Stevens was appointed administrator of Malabar and Agnew was the Company’s commercial agent for the province.

The Bombay President-in-Council had resolved to renew the leases of the Rajah and his Zemindars throughout Malabar and part of Stevens’ and Agnew’s job was to settle the value of these renewals.

The Defendants required the Rajah to pay 100,000 Rupees as speed money. Six Indian witnesses were examined in India and their depositions corroborated the sting. It was also evidenced in a letter Stevens sent to his bagman Ayen Aya.

The original charge required amending after the evidence had been heard. The men had paid 15,000 Rupees of the speed money to the Company and the conviction referred only to the balance of 85,000 Rupees.

The punishment required by the British Act is to forfeit the bribe and to refund a similar amount to the Rajah. This was the award of the Court.

Authority for this prosecution was pushed through the Bombay Council by Governor Jonathan Duncan, who soon after took early retirement.

Saturday 20th October 1804

The famine in Poona is continuing. Between 1st September 1803 and the present, the Bombay government has bought 414,000 bags of rice and contracted to buy a further 180,000 bags, delivery of which is awaited. The cost is 5 million Rupees (£600,000). In the same period the private sector has sent 408,000 bags to Poona. That is £1 million of rice.

It is inconceivable that this extent of mercantile confidence and credit would have existed if our government was not in control of India.

This huge transfer of grain to Poona is having a deleterious effect on our own natives. We have 400,000 people in Bombay, Salsette, Caranja and Surat. Between 10,000 – 20,000 refugees are arriving from the Deccan each month since March. A good many of them are being treated in our hospital but they are so weak most of them die within a few days of admission. They are not sick just totally emaciated.

The Editor estimates that the presence of a British government in India has saved at least 100,000 lives in this famine.

Monday 29th October 1804 Extraordinary

Report on the Company’s examinations of language students by debates. About twenty students from all the Presidencies are involved. Debating topics are:

  • Hindi – ‘Sanskrit is the root language of India’,
  • Persian – ‘The poems of Hafiz are to be understood mystically’,
  • Arabic – ‘the study of Arabic gives insights into Persian grammar’ and
  • Bengali – ‘the translation of Sanskrit into popular language would promote civilisation’.

A further examination by debate in Marathi is planned. The students also study Nagree writing. This is all the work of Captain Paul Bosc who superintends the language school at Tripassore.

Saturday 3rd November 1804

The Grand Mughal Shah Allam has caused the insignia of Mahee and Muratib (accompanied by the nobut) to be presented to General Lake. They were awarded on 14th August at Cawnpore.

These are customary awards to the great officers of the Mughal Empire but have not previously been awarded to foreigners.

Saturday 3rd November 1804

A detachment of Company troops under Lt Colonel Monson has suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Holkar’s cavalry. The battle continued for a month while Monson fought a rearguard action all the way back to Agra. He lost his baggage quite early, the local farmers recognised who was winning and declined to provision him and a few companies of Hindus deserted. Those of his sepoys who were captured and refused to desert to the enemy had their right hands amputated before they were released.

Whilst Holkar was chasing Monson across Hindustan, another Company unit under Colonel Murray captured Indore, Holkar’s capital city.

Saturday 17th November 1804

Notice – the church is under repair. Divine service tomorrow is cancelled.

Saturday 17th November 1804

The Baptist Mission in Bengal has now baptised 26 Indians. One is a Brahmin from Assam, formerly a travelling ascetic. It is hoped their talents will be useful in proselytising the natives.

The 1st Bengali Edition of the New Testament has been completely distributed and a 2nd Edition is in the press. It benefits from our better understanding of the language.

Several tracts have been translated into Hindi for distribution in Bihar and Oudh.

At Madras the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge at Vipery is having an unexpected level of missionary success.

Saturday 24th November 1804

The Patriotic Fund is having its first success with the natives. The Maharaja of Baroda (at the head of the Gulf of Cambay in Gujerat), Anand Rao Guikwar Sena Khaskul Sunshair Bahadur, has donated 5,000 Rupees and his senior officials have subscribed a further 5,000 Rupees.

Saturday 24th November 1804

The British relief effort at Poona has resulted in the distribution of between 2 – 8 Tice to each of over 300,000 natives. Unsurprisingly, the free distribution called forth previously undiscovered supplies of grain which are now selling at 6+ seers to the Rupee in the market.

Saturday 8th December 1804

Notice – Captain John Matheson, paymaster to the troops at Poona, has died on 7th December 1804. He has been in the Company’s army in India for 13 years. His Estate will be sold by M/s Baxter & Mitchell and the proceeds sent to his next-of-kin.

Saturday 8th December 1804

Holkar has besieged Delhi. He crossed the Jumna on 29th October. Lt Colonel David Ochterlony, the Company’s Resident, and Colonel Burns have defended the capital. The walls of Delhi are dilapidated but they seem adequate.

The British garrison occasionally sorties out and spikes Holkar’s guns. Holkar raised the siege quickly on the approach of General Lake and the Company’s army of Hindustan.

Monday 17th December 1804 Extraordinary

Colonel Monson has retrieved his reputation. He has been serving under Major General Frazer who is pursuing Holkar.

In November at Deeg, Frazer was wounded and Monson took command. He achieved a complete victory over Holkar’s infantry and artillery and captured all his guns.

Reports have just arrived at Bombay from Broach saying Lake has defeated Holkar’s cavalry at Furrukabad as well. He caught up with them by a forced march of over 50 miles in a day and surprised them. All their baggage and camp equipment has been captured. The slaughter of men and horses was prodigious. This should signal the end of the Maratha insurrection on behalf of the Grand Mughal and the beginning of their submission to our rule. It will facilitate the establishment of the Company’s Raj over all India.

Saturday 22nd December 1804

Notice – the church is repaired and will be open as usual tomorrow.

Saturday 29th December 1804

Sir Edward Pellow has arrived at Madras in HMS Culloden, convoying the Company’s fleet. He is expected to take over from Admiral Rainier. He brought $500,000 in specie for the Company.

Saturday 5th January 1805

The management of the Bombay Courier has recently changed and the new Editor says he will provide a precisely correct register of official proclamations as well as the latest news from Asia and Europe. He is reliant on the good offices of visiting Captains for the provision of foreign newspapers.

Owing to our proximity to Basra we get the overland news before any other British port in India. We are endeavouring to get an assured supply of European newspapers via this route, he says.

Saturday 12th January 1805

The Company is feeling the effects of the private trade. The Directors have issued an order of 27th June 1804 that when people living in India under licence of the Company return to Europe they are not automatically to be allowed to return to India.

In future only those private people who can obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from the Indian government before departure will be allowed back.

Saturday 19th January 1805

A frigate named HMS Pitt has been launched from the Bombay dockyard. She is the first frigate built in India specifically for British service. HMS Fox is concurrently under repairs in the dock and her entire complement will transfer to the new ship.

At the same time four other fine ships have been built under the stimulus of the Company’s concession of private trade with England – Lovely Hannahjie, Margaret, Marchioness Wellesley and Clyde – they were launched from Bengal ports.[126]

Saturday 26th January 1805

One of the buildings caught by the Bombay government’s recent order to clear the ground for 800 yards around the fort (a defensive precaution) is the Our Lady of Hope church. It is a Catholic church built by the Portuguese. It has since been rebuilt on a new site far from the fort.

Saturday 26th January 1805

The Margaret Elizabeth, ex Barlow, arrived Calcutta from Mauritius on 22nd December 1804. The Captain reports no less than 35 American merchantmen in Port Louis.

Saturday 2nd March 1805

Bhurtpore 21st January – General Lake has not yet taken this place after a long and costly siege. Lt Colonel Maitland, two Captains, fourteen Lieutenants and a good many Other Ranks have been lost in repeated attempts to storm the breach in the walls.

The mud forts of India are almost impervious to our cannon. When we occasionally cause a breach, the deep sand slows our assault.

A supply convoy that was sent to Lake was ambushed by Sikh infantry and cavalry but managed to beat off the attack and kill or capture a number of Holkar’s men.

By late February Lake had dispatched four separate columns to enter the breach but they either could not get across the moat or, if they had succeeded in that, the breach itself was too steep and well defended. The loss of officers and men has been great and morale is a question.

On 25th February the Sikh chief Rajah Ranjit Singh offered terms to Lake which were negotiated and modified to an acceptable capitulation. He has surrendered all the lands we gave him on the defeat of Sindhia. He will pay the Company 2 million Rupees by instalments and his son is given to us as hostage for good performance.[127]

Saturday 9th March 1805

The amount of ship-building in the Ganges has become huge. It is due to the Company’s concession of limited private trade to London. This has created an expectation that our teak-built ships will find ready buyers in London. It will become a new source of income for the ‘Garden of India.’

Saturday 16th March 1805

At the fifth annual examinations at the Fort William College, Marjoribanks has won the prize for spoken Bengali; he came 2nd in written Bengali, 2nd in French and 5th in Persian. He received an honours degree.

Saturday 16th March 1805

The recent treaty with the Marathas gives the Company the port of Gogo on the west coast of the Gulf of Cambay and its hinterland. Its 9 miles north of Peram Island.

The easy entrance to the port, the depth of water and its windward situation make Gogo an excellent port for our development. Even at low Spring tides there is 12 feet of water to anchor in. Fresh water is abundant. It is more sheltered than Surat and deserves to be the major port in the Gulf.

The Governor-in-Council hopes the mercantile community will take advantage of this valuable new facility.

Saturday 16th March 1805

Bentinck, the Governor of Madras, has given a lavish reception to Major General Arthur Wellesley in recognition of his military services.

Saturday 23rd March 1805

Bhurtpore fell to General Lake on 20th February.

Saturday 23rd March 1805

Major General Arthur Wellesley’s advice to continuing officers of the 33rd Regiment of the Indian army on his posting back to England:

“….adhere to the system of discipline, subordination and interior economy established by our Colonel, the Marquis Cornwallis, and above all cherish and encourage amongst yourselves the spirit of gentlemen and soldiers”

Saturday 30th March 1805

Notice, 22nd March – Purshottam Casidass was a Shroff in the Company’s Treasury. He was discovered to be stealing Pice (the least valuable coins which the Company does not rigorously check). He is dismissed and is never to be employed in any capacity by the Company again.[128]

Saturday 30th March 1805

The Company’s main settlements and garrisons in the Bombay Presidency are at Broach, Baroda, Salsette, Surat, Kaira and Anjengo.

Saturday 6th April 1805

Julius Nash, one of the two owners of the new Tavern in Apollo Street, has died and his liquors, furniture, goods and personal effects are for auction to satisfy his debts to Ardaseer Dady who financed the Tavern venture.[129]

Saturday 13th April 1805

Harford Jones, the Company’s Resident at Baghdad, has been permitted by George III to wear the insignia of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent. The award was conferred on him by the Porte after British success in the Egyptian campaign.

Saturday 20th April 1805

Joseph Barretto Jr of Bombay has produced the first volume of a Persian and Arabic Dictionary. The entire Dictionary will comprise two volumes.

He is asking for subscriptions to support the production cost. 20 Sicca Rupees per volume.

Thursday 16th May 1805 Extraordinary

Detailed report of Lake’s success against Bhurtpore and Rajah Ranjit Singh’s capitulation.

Saturday 25th May 1805

For sale 25th May – An ensigncy in HM 74th Highland Regiment. Well under the regulated price.[130] Apply to E Spencer, purser of the Indiaman Worcester.


Copies of the Bombay Courier for June, July, August and September 1805 are all missing.

Saturday 5th October 1805

Notice, 26th September – Cargo from ships seized by Maratha pirates of the Gulf of Cambay has been found in the Bombay market. If anyone buys these things and brings them to Bombay for sale they risk their confiscation without compensation.

Saturday 12th October 1805

The government of Penang is renovated. Philip Dundas, late Royal Naval representative in Bombay, is appointed Governor at £9,000 a year after his bid for election to the House of Commons.

Oliphant is 1st in Council. He is the Company’s warehouse keeper and gets 3% on all sales with a guaranteed minimum income of £4,500 a year. His assistant warehouse keeper gets 2% commission on sales with a guaranteed income of £1,500.

Alexander Gray is 2nd in Council. He is superintendent of the naval and military stores and gets commission on sales with a guaranteed £4,500 a year income. His assistant superintendent gets 2% commission with a guaranteed £1,500 a year.

Capt Norman MacAllister is 3rd in Council. He is CiC and gets £4,500 a year. He is also responsible for mooring and anchoring in the harbour and is the Collector of Customs. There are to be ten writers at £360 each a year and the establishment will cost £41,350.

The Judicial and police appointments will cost more and have not yet been filled.

Saturday 12th October 1805

Sorabjee Muncherjee, the great Parsee merchant has died. During the recent great famine at Poona he fed 2,000 people daily.

Saturday 9th November 1805

Peter Tooke, the Company’s Agent at Constantinople, died 25th April 1805

Saturday 9th November 1805

The Company has declared a dividend of 5¼% to its shareholders for the half-year ended 5th July 1805.

Saturday 9th November 1805

Cornwallis has just come out to replace Wellesley as Governor-General but has regrettably died on 5th October at Ghauzepore. He will be replaced pro tem by George Barlow who has nominated George Udny as alternate during his absence and John Lumsden as third council member. Thomas Brown is Chief Secretary.

Saturday 14th December 1805

Isaac Morier is appointed the Company’s Resident at Constantinople in place of Peter Tooke.

Saturday 21st December 1805

The Burmese Viceroy at Rangoon took possession of the ship that was called Mornington before she was made prize. His officials made rafts loaded with incendiaries that they intended to place across the river to prevent the ship being removed from the Viceroy’s possession. Captain Gordon, however, went up the river, boarded the Mornington, sailed her down-river and off to Penang.

Another detained ship called Betsy was left behind as her removal was thought contrary to the usages of neutrality.

HMS Albatross has detained the ship Regina and sent her for adjudication to Rangoon, her captain says.

Note – There is so much money sloshing around India from prizetaking, looting, unclaimed Estates and frequent windfall profits in the native states, that a regular feature of British Indian life is a succession of subscriptions to charitable works.

Each of the Company’s numerous battles brings a request for Widows & Orphans donations; the recent smallpox eradication attempt (using cow-pox vaccinations) also. There are frequent lotteries for distributing loot taken from captured towns (one of Arthur Wellesley’s preferences over the formal prize system). Cornwallis’ death has produced a series of cash collections and one in today’s paper is for a statue and mausoleum to commemorate him.

The list of subscribers starts with the Bombay Governor Jonathan Duncan whose donation of 6,000 Rupees is unusually large. There are sixty more names below his in the list. Any subscription with a military flavour (and Cornwallis is remembered for reducing Tippoo’s influence in the Deccan) gets broad support from all military units – the officers have no choice, its an aspect of the high spending enforced on Company staff in India (all British imports are expensive and most new arrivals go into debt in their first year or two). This may inculcate a willingness to ultimately accept bribes.

It seems to be a Company expectation of its staff that ‘when you are making it, you should spread it around’.

Sunday 19th January 1806 Extraordinary

M/s John Ross & Co are appointed Agents to the Company in Malta.

Saturday 1st February 1806

There is a contract existing between American and Dutch merchants whereby American ships are allowed to participate in the loading of colonial goods at Batavia for delivery at French and Dutch ports.

It was discovered by the English government in August 1805.

About 12-14 American ships are contracted. They all sail from Batavia to Europe via America where they appear to break voyage but in fact merely substitute the shipping papers. In this way one voyage appears documentarily to be two voyages and thus comes within the exception in our recent Anglo-American treaty. The names of the vessels and their owners are known – it’s a group of merchants from Boston and Amsterdam behind the scam.[131]

Saturday 8th February 1806

First the Carnatic, and today the Bombay, Insurance Companies have notified their customers that unless their insured ships travel in convoy they will not be indemnified for war losses.

Saturday 15th February 1806

The Company is selling the redundant presents received from the late Persian embassy. Last week it was the cashmere shawls and chintzes; this week it is a large Kandahar horse.

Saturday 15th February 1806

The treaty we concluded with Dowlat Rao Sindhia on 22nd November 1805 has been ratified by that Prince and received at Bombay Castle on 10th February 1806.

Saturday 22nd February 1806

The treaty with Sindhia of 22nd November 1805 is published. Government recites the agreement we made on 30th December 1803 and approves it with the following additions:

  • Sindhia abandons his claim on the fort of Gwalior and the lands of Gohud but the Company cedes them to him for 1.5 million Rupees a year. Sindhia gets the lands south of the River Chumbal and the Company gets the lands north (with listed exceptions).
  • The Company pays Sindhia 400,000 Rupees a year and gives Baezah Bhye, his wife, a jaghire of 200,000 Rupees a year and Chumnah Bhye, his daughter, a jaghire of 100,000 Rupees a year.
  • The Company agrees to make no treaties with the Rajahs of Oudipur, Jodhpur or Kottah or any chief in Malwa, Mewar or Marwar and will not interfere in any agreements Sindhia makes with those chiefs.[132]
  • The Company is now fighting Holkar. When we win, we engage not to give him any lands in Malwa or any lands south of the Chumbal and north of the Tapti.

Saturday 22nd February 1806

The Company is sending £500,000 in silver to Bengal. It is shipped on HMS Thalia (Walker) on 27th September from Portsmouth. It weighs 55 tons and is contained in 500 chests each holding $4,000. It is believed to be the largest shipment of value ever sent to India.

Saturday 1st March 1806

Two ensigncies in H M’s 78th Regiment for sale (the Regiment has been fighting Holkar and has vacancies). Apply Forbes & Co.

Saturday 1st March 1806

M/s Parry Lane & Co of Madras and M/s Neil Gibbons & Co of Trincomalee will unite on 1st January at which time David Pugh will become a partner of the combined business.

Saturday 1st March 1806

The Company has made a peace treaty in English and Persian with Jeswant Rao Holkar on 24th December 1805. (General Lake’s articles are more British than the usual Company treaty – he refers repeatedly to the British Government and never the Honorable Company.)

The main terms are:

  • Britain agrees to stop fighting Holkar. We agree not to disturb Holkar’s title to his family lands in Mewar, Malwa and Harrowtee, south of the Chumbal River. We agree to return Holkar’s lands south of the River Tapti which we occupied but not those lands south of the Godivari or some named forts.
  • Holkar renounces his title to the places north of the Boondee Hills. He renounces all claim to Koonch in Bundelcund. If Holkar performs his agreement precisely, after two years, the Company will give Koonch in jaghire to Beemah Bhye, his daughter. Holkar engages never to employ Europeans in his army without the consent of the British government. He engages never again to employ Serjee Rao Ghautka (the Francophile adviser).
  • On the signing of this agreement Holkar may return to his lands (he has been chased away to the northwest) but his army must not plunder on the way.

(NB – the Company later returns Holkar’s family lands north of the Boondee Hills for sentimental reasons)

Note – It is usual at Company dinner functions to have a series of toasts, each one accompanied by a piece of popular music. There are commonly ten or more toasts during a dinner. Some toasts are ‘three by three’ requiring nine sips of wine.

In this edition, one such dinner is mentioned. The toast to the King is accompanied by ‘God save the King’; toasts to naval victors are accompanied by ‘Hearts of Oak are our Ships’; army victors, ‘the British Grenadiers’. The toast to the Court of Directors is accompanied by the ditty ‘Money in Both Pockets’.

Saturday 12th April 1806

Whilst Barlow is acting Governor General, and with no prospect of having his job made permanent (its in the British Prime Minister’s gift), he is getting a pet project approved:

Notice 11th April 1806 – the Governor-General invites a subscription to translate the Bible into Asian languages – Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindi, Persian, Mahrati, Gujerati, Orissan, Carnata, Telinga, Tamil, Singhalese, Burmese, Assamese, Bhutanese, Malay, Tibetan and Chinese.

Many of these languages are Sanskrit derivatives.

The Dutch have already made a Singhalese Bible and Protestant missionaries in the Deccan have made a Tamil one. We have ourselves published a Bengali Bible. Three years ago Persian and Hindi translations were commenced and more recently work started on Mahrati and Orissan versions.

The Press is already operating. We estimate 1,200 Rupees per month for five years will suffice to complete the job.

The Sanskrit version will have the Greek original juxtaposed to assist classical scholars with an interest in linguistics.

The Far Eastern language versions will commence once we have the money. Tibetan should be easiest as the Catholics have already obtained an understanding of it. For Chinese translations we have the services of Joannes Lassar, who was formerly correcting correspondence between the Macau Government and the Chinese and is now resident at the Mission House in Serampore. Mr Lassar has already produced numerous woodblocks (in the Chinese style) of his translation.[133]

Please send your donations to the Protestant Missionaries in Bengal, Mission House, Serampore or to the Treasurers of the Fund, Alexander & Co c/o the Bank of Hindustan.

(NB – at about the same time the Company resolved to establish nine Protestant chaplainries throughout its lands. Two will be in Calcutta and seven in the major military cantonments – Masulipatam, Vellore, Trichinopoly, Seringapatam, Malabar, Canara and one in the provinces lately ceded by the Nizam.)

Saturday 26th April 1806

Samuel Manesty, the Company’s man in Mesopotamia, has returned to Basra after his embassy to Persia. No word of his negotiations has been published but it might relate to Russian incursions in the north of that country.

Saturday 14th June 1806

Calcutta 17th May – a large amount of silver in several separate consignments, totally over 500 chests, has been delivered to the Company’s treasury here during the last week. HMS Blenheim is coming up from Madras with another 2 million rupees.

Saturday 14th June 1806

In the Bombay Presidency’s Remembrance of Pitt is a comment

“….. When it was thought expedient to make peace with France, Pitt resigned his office, and instead of a factious opposition to his successor, he countenanced his efforts in that experiment. The impossibility of a real peace with France ……” and “….. when he resigned the government in 1800 he had no other income except as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He had to sell his estate in Hayes, Kent……”

Saturday 28th June 1806

The loss of national heroes (Cornwallis, Nelson and Pitt) has not done Major General Arthur Wellesley any harm. Although his battles with Sindhia were costly he is an upcoming hero as a result of them and from the favourable treaties that followed those victories.

He has been made Colonel of H M’s 33rd Regiment (Cornwallis’ old regiment).

Saturday 28th June 1806

The Company’s latest dispatches for India (loaded on the Belle for carriage through the Mediterranean and thence overland to Basra) have been taken in the Bay of Biscay by a French squadron out of Rochefort. The letters should have been sunk before the French boarded but, even if not, their loss will only briefly level the playing-field in respect of French intelligence about India.

Saturday 28th June 1806

The House of Commons on 1st February 1806 discussed Lord Wellesley’s treatment of the Nabob of Oudh. The Whigs protested seven months ago that the Company had been unfair but the rest of the House disagreed and the necessary papers from Calcutta on which to take a view are still not available to MPs.

The Whigs have now asked for sight of the letter from Wellesley to the Directors of 21st August 1796 concerning the garrison at Futtyghur and another of his letters of 21st July 1797 dealing with the Company’s relations with the Nabob Vizier. These and several other pertinent papers as far back as 1796 were ordered to be produced.

Wallace said the Board of Control believed that parliamentary oversight of these papers was mischievous. It was nevertheless ordered that all the papers be produced including the Board of Control’s draft recall of Wellesley.[134]

Saturday 12th July 1806

Bombay Castle 5th July – Cadet Henry Pottinger, on the supernumerary list, has qualified in Hindi and is made an Acting Ensign until a vacancy occurs.

Saturday 9th August 1806

Government Notice – The Company will not loan any more gun carriages (against a deposit) for private funerals. In future it will sell them.

Saturday 16th August 1806

Thomas Redhead has resigned from Porcher Redhead & Co, East India Agents of Devonshire Square, London, on 30th September 1805 due to ill health. The firm continues under the same style with continuing partners Josias du Pre Porcher, John Forbes, Thomas Wilkinson, Henry Redhead and Nathaniel Edward Kindersley.

Saturday 27th September 1806

The House of Commons called for Company papers concerning aspects of Wellesley’s administration of India and the Board of Control was unable to produce them. This new Liberal Whig administration is not trusted by the commercial adherents of the old.

Wallace, Castlereagh and Addington said the Board of Control had to check the papers first in case something detrimental was contained in them. Ker said it is expensive to print volumes of papers that would be read by few and impolitic to teach our enemies how we administer India.

Ultimately the papers were ordered to be produced.

James Paull, MP for Newtown, Isle of Wight, (an ex-India man from Lucknow) wishes to bring four charges against Lord Wellesley:

  • first involving the Nabob of the Carnatic,
  • second involving Oudh,
  • third the appointment of his brother Henry Wellesley and
  • fourth the peace and war with the Sikhs at Bhurtpore.

He says he already has evidence to support his charges but suspects the other papers he has called-for will provide information of further derelictions of duty. He particularly expected to charge Wellesley with appropriating about £100,000 a year for his personal use.[135]

The House of Commons is generally opposed to Paul’s initiative. Fox objected to the idea of impeaching Governors-General for pursuing general lines of policy. In those cases the better response was replacement of the Governor-General. Fox thought impeachment should be restricted to specific acts.

Saturday 11th October 1806

Simon Halliday, the naval storekeeper in Bombay, wants money for the Royal Navy. He is offering 90 day Admiralty Bills on London in settlement. Send in your proposals indicating available investment and preferred exchange rate.

Sunday 26th October 1806 Extraordinary

The many Extraordinary editions of late are due to an increased communication with India via the overland route, possibly connected with the change of administration in London and its greater interest in Indian affairs.

Saturday 15th November 1806

Capt Basil Cochrane has permission of Sir Edward Pellow to assign all the Royal Navy’s victualling requirements for the India squadron to M/s James Balfour and Joseph Baker of Madras.[136]

Saturday 29th November 1806

M/s Harvey Weathrall & Co have built the 500 tons Reliance at Calcutta for sale. Its for the China trade. Send your tenders to Bruce Fawcett & Co, Bombay Agents for the sellers.

Saturday 27th December 1806

Sadlier was a senior merchant in the Company’s commercial department in India. He sent £150,000 to Sir Stephen Lushington in London for investment. Lushington is a Company Director and a City banker. Customarily, 4% interest a year is payable by the merchant banker until the funds are invested in government debt paper but in this case, Lushington invested Sadlier’s money in his own Bank in the City and, over a period of ten years, regularly accounted to Sadlier, never charging for commission or services generally.

When Sadlier unexpectedly died, Lushington sent a bill to his executors for commission on the money he had invested for Sadlier. He charged his services at 1½% over the entire period and attached a bill to £2,250. The executors sued.

The Attorney General is acting in the unfamiliar role of defendant’s advocate. He said it was well known that all merchants charge commission on any money passing through their hands. The executors said that the fact Lushington had not made a charge revealed he did not intend to do so until very recently.

The Lord Chancellor who is hearing the case said lending money to oneself, paying it back and re-lending it to one’s partners could hardly quality for payment of a commission. If Sadlier had been asked to pay commission during his lifetime he would never have paid it. Lushington’s claim for commission was dismissed.[137]

Saturday 17th January 1807

On 17th December 540 chests of treasure each containing $4,000 silver dollars (over $2 millions), was delivered to Calcutta from London.

Saturday 7th February 1807

On the evening of 22nd January a splendid entertainment was given at Madras to celebrate Lord Melville’s acquittal by the House of Lords.

The town theatre was decorated by Chinnery who painted the transparencies. They were illuminated to good effect.

A gentleman favoured the company with new lyrics for the old song ‘Hearts of Oak’ which celebrated Melville as having equal statesmanship to Pitt and listing his deeds whereby he is known as the Seaman’s Friend.[138] Melville was then toasted ‘three times three’

Saturday 14th February 1807

Gilbert Elliot (Lord Minto) is appointed Governor-General of India. He is delaying his departure from London pending the arrival of his son (also Gilbert Elliot) from Palermo. Elliot Jr will command the frigate that brings Minto to India.

Saturday 7th March 1807

Auguza Jacob, owner of the Shah Pariah, presented the King of Ava with a unique sea shell and the King was so pleased he gave permission to Jacob to cut down 200 teak trees at Pegu. This is the finest cargo of teak ever shipped from Burma.

Saturday 28th March 1807

The Bombay Courier Editor has appointed Mr Joseph de Souza as agent at Poona. Subscribers in the Deccan may get their copy of the newspaper from him.

Saturday 28th March 1807

A second frigate has been built for H M service in the dock at Bombay. It is named Salsette. Jamsetjee Bomanjee is the shipwright who built the ship. He has thirty years experience in ship building. He has a ‘74’ in course of construction which will fix his reputation for ever.

Note – It has become apparent that American ship captains are more circumspect than hitherto. They used to arrive with news from Europe, the Cape and Mauritius but these days they all say they have come direct from Philadelphia or New York and have no news to impart. The Mount Vernon (Cheevers) is the latest American arrival to adopt this new procedure.

Saturday 9th May 1807

Notice – Dadabhoy Cowasjee Monackjee and Pestonjee Rustomjee have dissolved their trading partnership ‘Pestonjee & Ardaseer’ and invite suppliers and customers to settle accounts. Both partners will continue their old business separately from new premises.

Saturday 23rd May 1807

The Portuguese have re-established the office of Viceroy at Goa. A frigate left the Tagus in late October en route to Goa via Rio de Janeiro and is bringing the new Viceroy Dom Bernard, Conde de Sarzados.

Saturday 13th June 1807

On 25th May the Princess of Brazil frigate arrived at Goa bringing the new Portuguese Viceroy of Asia, Count Bernardo José Maria Lorena e Silveira. The Company provides troops in Goa to act as the garrison.[139]

On 7th June a great dinner was held to celebrate his arrival. They toasted the British and Portuguese monarchies and ‘may there never be a separation of the British and Portuguese nations’.

Saturday 13th June 1807

Philip Dundas, Henry’s son and Governor of Penang, died on 8th April. Henry Shepherd Pearson has taken over pro tem.

Sgd Thomas Raffles, Penang Government Secretary.

Saturday 13th June 1807

Notice from Calcutta, 3rd June – Robert McClintock has been eleven years in India. The last seven years he was first an assistant and later a partner in Alexander & Co. He is now setting-up his own business – receiving orders for purchase and/or sale of goods, shipping goods, sale & purchase of ships, houses, land, etc., procuring freight, arranging insurances and all other lines of Agency business. He will trade under his personal name and use Porcher Redhead & Co as London Agents.

Thursday 25th June 1807 Extraordinary

Lord Minto left Portsmouth on HMS Modeste (Gilbert Elliot, Minto’s son, later 2nd Earl Minto) on 16th February to take-up his new appointment of Governor-General of India. He arrived at Madras on 20th June with Muir, his Private Secretary, and Taylor his ADC.

Saturday 8th August 1807

George Chinnery has arrived at Madras on the Indiaman City of London.

Tuesday 1st September 1807 Extraordinary

The election of six Directors at East India House on 8th April caused 2,000 shareholders to turn-up to vote. Its just the usual annual election of those Directors who must retire by rotation.

The successful six were Charles Grant, Sweeney Toone, William Thornton, George Smith, Campbell Marjoribanks and John Jackson. There are totally twenty-four Directors of the Company.

Saturday 3rd October 1807

Instructions to the Company’s Medical Board at Madras:

Medicines may be dispensed to European soldiers to a value of 20 cash per man per day. This covers all indents for aloes, alum, asafoetida, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, camphor, castor oil, gamboge, liquorice, musk, nutmegs, Patna opium, rhubarb, julep, pure nitre, senna, sulphur, Madeira, port, brandy and vinegar.

Purchasing in the bazaars is discontinued.

The Medical Board has certified that the strength and quality of Patna opium is now constant. You may indent for this from Bengal at the rate of Star Pagodas 5.33.60 per lb.[140] When the Patna supply has been increased, all purchasing of other types of native opium will be disallowed.

Saturday 17th October 1807

Lord William Bentinck and wife are returning to London from Madras on HMS Pitt. (He was appointed by the Ministry of all the Talents and, now the King has removed them from office, he has to go as well.)

At the time of sailing Sir Edward Pellow changed the name of HMS Pitt to HMS Salsette – the name of the frigate we recently built and launched at Bombay. Concurrently, Sir Edward changed the name of our Bombay frigate Salsette to Pitt. This exchange of names is an attempt to confuse the enemy (such as the private ship owners previously did and were criticised for) should the French receive Indian shipping information and try to capture Bentinck.

Saturday 24th October 1807

Before Bentinck left Madras on 26th September he revealed his instructions from Fox’s ministry to the merchants and residents:

  • To protect the free exercise of all religions.
  • To protect residents from robbery
  • To protect the persons and property of all residents by impartial laws.
  • To punish law violators, high and low.
  • To receive petitions from everyone and attend to reasonable complaints.
  • To treat native princes allied to the Company with good faith and respect.
  • To maintain obedience amongst the troops; recompense extraordinary services and care for them when they are old or sick.
  • To cherish the poor and hungry in times of public distress.[141]

Saturday 31st October 1807

Alexander Adamson has died aged 62 years. He was a leading merchant of Bombay. His Will appoints Charles Forbes and Ardaseer Dady as his Executors but Forbes has renounced his appointment.

Saturday 31st October 1807

Calcutta, 25th September – Robert McClintock has left Alexander & Co. He says he does not wish to compete with the investments of his Principals.

He will join Mackintosh Fulton & Co on 1st November which will thereafter be called M/s Mackintosh Fulton & McClintock. The new firm will continue the policy of Mackintosh Fulton & Co and act strictly as Agents without indulging in commercial competition with its principals.

Monday 16th November 1807 Extraordinary

There are continuous lotteries operated by the Presidencies. The tickets are generally 100 Rupees each (more than double the English Lottery ticket). The prizes are equally lavish.

Monday 16th November 1807 Extraordinary

The invasion of Egypt under General Fraser has secured Alexandria to Britain. We had great difficulty at first, both at Rosetta and Alexandria, and our losses are in the thousands.

The garrison from Sicily is now in occupation of the Egyptian coast and the overland route to India is protected.

Saturday 12th December 1807

Richard Johnson, formerly of the Board of Trade, and Mr Pote, the former Commercial Resident at Patna, have applied for re-employment in the Indian Civil Service and will come out from London in September 1807.

Saturday 2nd January 1808

Fraser and Shouldham, a couple of ex-soldiers in Calcutta, have been convicted of forging a 250 Rupee note of the Bank of Calcutta. The paper which the Company uses to print bank-notes is on sale in the local bazaar. They bought some, infused oil into the paper to make it more transparent then got a real 250 Rupee bank-note and traced it onto the oiled blank paper. They filled up the tracing in copper plate using a fine brush. They treated the back of the paper with slaked lime to draw off surplus oil and sun-dried it. Finally they added the signatures of the Bank Director and the entering Clerk and the document was complete.

The defects that caused their exposure were the absence of the word ‘entered’ on the form and the selection of the wrong Bank Director for signature. On a close examination it was apparent that the paper had not been printed on a plate. The defects were detected at the Bank and an enquiry commenced. In England this offence invariably merits a capital sentence but in India, as they are Europeans, it is less serious. They were convicted and imprisoned.

Saturday 9th January 1808

Sir George Barlow, who has been administering the Indian government, is appointed Governor of Madras in replacement of Bentinck. Minto will assume the Governor-Generalship.

Saturday 16th January 1808

The Government of Ceylon is selling £7,000 of Bills of Exchange 40-days Sight on the Paymaster General in London. Contact Bruce Fawcett & Co.

Saturday 23rd January 1808

The writer Trevor J C Plowden has been made Assistant Collector of Customs at Calcutta.

Saturday 20th February 1808

Sir Thomas Strange, Chief Justice of Madras, has directed the Jurors on 21st January in the cases of two soldiers presently serving away from Madras (Wm Cogan, guilty of murder, and Wm Smith, guilty of manslaughter).

From the evidence given in the hearings, it appears both defendants believed that the easiest way to get discharged from one of H M Regiments up-country was to commit a homicide. Strange says they have committed these despicable crimes simply to get back to Madras. These are not the first cases of this type, etc ….. Cogan was executed; Smith was imprisoned for a year.

Saturday 27th February 1808

Wm Roxburgh is appointed Superintendent of the Company’s spice plantation on Sumatra.

Saturday 26th March 1808

The Company’s College at Fort William examined students in various languages and issued proficiency certificates in February.

Oral examination and disputation was done this year in Hindustani, Bengali, Persian, Arabic and Mahrati.

Written examination was also undertaken in Nagree and Bengali.

Saturday 9th April 1808

The Marquis Wellesley, on his return from India, bought Apsley House at Hyde Park Corner for £17,000 and is spending £6,000 on redecorations.

Hoseason, the Madras merchant who has also just returned from India, has bought the late Sir Stephen Lushington’s house in Harley Street for £9,000.[142]

Saturday 21st May 1808

A list of Company charters for the coming season is published.

Leading members of the ‘shipping interest’ together with the numbers of their ships chartered to the Company are – Henry Bonham six; John Locke three; Richard Borradaile two; Robert Burrowes two; John P Larkins two; Andrew Timbrell two and Robert Williams two.

Sir Robert Wigram (formerly the major owner) is only chartering one ship to the Company this year.

Saturday 16th July 1808

There is a Cape Packet running between the Cape, Madras and Calcutta (Bombay gets the overland news). The one that arrived Calcutta on 22nd June at Calcutta took 11 days from Madras.

Saturday 6th August 1808

Cotton Bowerbank Dent has become a merchant at Pondicherry.

Saturday 20th August 1808

John Forbes retired from Porcher Redhead & Co on 31st December 1807. The business continues under the same style with partners Josias du Pre Porcher, Thomas Wilkinson, Henry Redhead and Nathaniel Edward Kindersley.

Saturday 27th August 1808

A thousand recruits for the Company’s army are being raised in Scotland and will be sent out with the autumn fleet.[143]

Saturday 17th September 1808

TJC Plowden has been made Deputy Collector of Customs at Calcutta during the absence of W Scott.

Saturday 15th October 1808

Notice, 12th October – country ships are still leaving convoy in conditions deemed unsafe by the Company. All country ships leaving Bombay will have to deposit 5,000 Rupees at the Customs House which will be confiscated if the convoy commander reports they have strayed.

Saturday 12th November 1808

Notice, 8th May – Pybus & Co, the Bond Street Bankers, have admitted George Sulivan Marten, late of Madras, into their partnership and the firm will in future be known as M/s Pybus, Call, Marten & Hall.

“We charge no agency commission for receiving money, for Bills, for investing in the funds, for receiving dividends and all similar monetary transactions.”

Saturday 19th November 1808

If the current rate of losses to French privateers continues, the Calcutta Insurance Offices will make convoy protection obligatory to preserve an insured’s cover.

Another proposal is to charge an enhanced premium on an unconvoyed voyage but refund some part of it if no claim is made at voyage’s end.

Part of the problem derives from the joint-stock nature of the insurance offices themselves. They compete for business and are incapable of self-regulation.

Saturday 10th December 1808

The Indiaman Travers (Colins), an extra ship, struck Exeter rock near Diamond Island and rapidly sank on 7th November. We got the women and children into the long boat, then the gentlemen got in. Finally Lascars and Chinese entered to a total of 93 passengers.

The others got-off in the cutter and jolly boat except 7 Chinese, 6 Europeans and 3 Lascars who declined to be saved without their baggage. After 90 minutes in the boats we saw the Earl Spencer (Heming) and were rescued.

Diamond Island abounds in turtle. We hope the people who stayed behind were able to reach it.

Saturday 24th December 1808

Notice – The death of Miguel de Lima é Souza has caused his commercial concerns to devolve on us. We will open an Agency house in Bombay on 1st January 1809 under the firm of de Souza & Co to promote our trade with Madras, Bengal, China and South America.

Sgd Nicolao de Lima e Souza, Rozario de Quadros and Joao A Pereira.

Saturday 31st December 1808

Bombay Government Notice 30th December – All Europeans not working for the Crown or the Company are to report for registration with the Superintendent of Police, Charles Joseph Briscoe.

Saturday 31st December 1808

In early December Sir Edward Pellow and a party of naval officers went to Sibpur to visit Jones’ factory. He makes hemp ropes and canvas sheets and has built a foundry with forges where he also makes screws and small metal objects. Pellow was satisfied with the quality of the products. They are useful naval stores.

Saturday 7th January 1809

All Company servants leaving India for London must in future submit ‘Certificates of No Outstanding Public Claims’ against them together with their applications for leave.

Saturday 7th January 1809

Our source of cheap teakwood in Burma is threatened by a party of 12 Burmese officials who have come down from Ava and put a 20% tax on all timber sales, cutch and stick lack.[144] They did not seem to care when we built our ships at Pegu but now we are at Rangoon they are more aware of us.

Meanwhile in the river, Nathaniel Bacon’s 500 ton ship is ready for launching; the Company’s fine new ship will also launch next week and M/s Turner & Montgomery have a 300-tonner on the stocks.

The King of Ava has instructed the Viceroy of Rangoon to supply 2,000 men to fight in an upcoming war. Each man is to provide his own musket or pay a fine of $175 Spanish. The nature of these regional disputes is inscrutable.

Saturday 14th January 1809

Calcutta Mirror, 23rd December – The Bank of Calcutta has elected new Directors on 15th December – Alexander Colvin, John Palmer, James Alexander, George Tyler, J W Fulton and Maharajah Sukmoi.

Saturday 11th February 1809

Bombay Government Notice – there have been many complaints of army officers forcibly taking the post-bags from delivery riders and examining them.

This interference with the mails inconveniences the public. If it continues government will be displeased.

Monday 13th February 1809 Extraordinary

The Minerva has arrived from Basra with letters from Baghdad and Constantinople.

Saturday 18th February 1809

Thomas Newnham was the civil servant deputed to be Commissary at Tranquebar after our army occupied that Danish port. The residents were initially irritated with England on account of the public and private losses they have sustained since our army’s arrival. Since then, for eight months, Newnham has done a good job of pacifying the Danes and they have now given him a letter of appreciation for ‘his mild government’.

Its signed by Hermanson the ex-Governor, Stricker the ex-CiC and all the important officers, clergymen and merchants. He has a similar letter from the French community in Tranquebar signed by Defoutes, Courbon, Gautier and Decolons. A third letter is signed by 96 native merchants of Tranquebar and its several dependencies.

Newnham is being transferred to Seringapatam.

Saturday 18th February 1809

Penang, 7th December 1808 – Kimmoo v Lt Colonel T T Bassett:

Defendant was the commanding officer of the 20th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, stationed at Penang.

Kimmoo, his house servant, accused him of assault and false imprisonment.


In 1807 defendant had the plaintiff flogged with the rattan on two or three occasions. Kimmoo complained to the Police Magistrate, a civil officer appointed by the Governor, who settled the dispute with an order that Bassett pay Kimmoo’s outstanding wages and discharge him.

Bassett then had Kimmoo flogged 20 times more and put him in the guardhouse for various periods totalling 3 months. On 18th November 1807 Bassett ordered Kimmoo onto parade with his regiment where two sepoys were to be flogged for disciplinary offences. After their flogging was completed, Bassett had Kimmoo tied up and lashed 100 times as well for alleging to co-workers that Bassett was a bad employer.


Bassett claimed a right to punish the servant under the Mutiny Act, 27th of George II, or the Articles of War framed under that Act, or by the Company’s native Articles of War which were framed in 1796 by Sir Robert Abercromby, or because the alleged offence pre-dated the Charter of Justice promulgated for Penang and pre-dated the establishment of a Court on the island. At the time of the alleged offences in 1807, Bassett said Penang was a military post subject to army law only.


The Court held that only soldiers were subject to military discipline and although the offences pre-dated the establishment of English Law on Penang, the Court would give damages albeit in a smaller amount than would be given in similar circumstances if the offence post-dated those laws.

This was the second occasion Bassett had been convicted of mistreating his servants. On the first occasion the damages awarded were $20. This time damages would be $150 with costs.

If it happened again the Court indicated it would award full damages.

Tuesday 21st February 1809 Extraordinary

HMS Discovery and HMS Diana were sent to Manila to rescue Captain Pakenham and the 150 crew of the HMS Greyhound which struck on a reef on 11th October 1808. The officers and crew had been taken to Manila arriving 24th October.

They were well treated throughout their ordeal and the officers were allowed freedom on their own parole. On their return voyage HMS Discovery carrying Pakenham’s crew was captured by two French frigates south of the Malacca Straits. HMS Diana escaped.

Saturday 25th February 1809

Letter from Penang, 10th January 1809 – the Auspicious (Ferguson) arrived here from Macau bringing as passengers Captain Cumming of the Dundee, Mr Mrs Saunders and Mrs Metcalfe (wife of T T and sister-in-law of Charles).

Saturday 25th February 1809

Capt Bligh, who was recently sent to Port Jackson (Sydney) as Governor, introduced some novel law in that Colony that was resented by the holders of the monopoly for the supply of alcohol (the New South Wales Corps, a unit of the British army providing the garrison of Port Jackson under the ultimate control of the India Company).

This caused Colonel Patterson, the garrison commander and Lieutenant Governor of the Colony, to relieve Bligh of his governorship.

Bligh responded with a Proclamation that the New South Wales Corps’ was in a state of rebellion. Patterson sought to arrest Bligh who briefly disappeared but was found under a bed in full dress uniform.

The disturbances ceased on 27th January 1809 when Bligh agreed to return to England and Patterson ended martial law. Bligh in fact boarded HMS Porpoise and sailed to Port Dalrymple (Launceston) where his authority as Governor was still acknowledged.

It seems Bligh was trying to ameliorate profiteering by the Army at Port Jackson in response to popular complaints. By July 1808 there were effectively two Colonies in New South Wales, one governed by Patterson and the other by Bligh. Major Johnstone of the NSW Corps has sailed to England to put his case to the CiC.

The Port Dalrymple Colony has thrived on seal-hunting but the market for seal-skins has been saturated with both British and American supply. Recently it has developed some sandalwood trade, supplying China from Fiji, but the Fijians became hostile and ate some merchants. Fijian commerce has since declined.

Saturday 11th March 1809

20th January 1809 – The Governor-General-in-Council has ordered that lotteries will be regularly conducted in Calcutta (there has been a continuous succession of lotteries in all the Presidencies for the last year). A Superintendent of Lotteries (John Adam) has been appointed to regulate them. The profits will be employed in improving the town.

The Calcutta Lottery is 4,000 tickets of 100 Sicca Rupees each. There are 36 prizes of 1,000 Rupees up, 1,440 prizes that payback your money and 4,524 blanks. Total prizes paid-out = 328,000 Rupees; total expenses and the fund for town improvements = 72,000 Rupees. In the unlikely event that we cannot sell all the tickets before the draw, we will increase the price to late buyers.

The Bank of Bengal will receive the money, pay the prizes and account to government. Harington & Co at Madras and Forbes & Co at Bombay will be lottery agents for those Presidencies.

Saturday 18th March 1809

Directors’ letter of 8th December 1808 – People arriving in England from India may be unaware that it is now illegal in the United Kingdom to wear printed, painted or dyed calicoes or any type of silk garment. It is also illegal to use napkins with a coloured stripe in the weave.

Any such clothes or napkins found in your baggage on arrival at London will be confiscated by the Customs.

Saturday 1st April 1809

Advertisement – J Mitchell & Co have received their China investment from the recently arrived Indiamen and offer fresh teas, sugar candy and nankeens etc for sale.

Saturday 8th April 1809

Trevor John Chichley Plowden has been appointed Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trade (Salt Monopoly).

Saturday 29th April 1809

  • Thomas Malcolm has resigned from the Agency house of Leckie & Malcolm on 14th April 1809 and the business will be continued by John Leckie alone.

Leckie has just announced on 25th March that he is appointed Bombay Agent of the India Insurance Company of Calcutta to issue hull and cargo policies and pay claims in Bombay in respect of voyages from Bombay to Madras, Calcutta, China and Europe.

  • For Sale by auction – the commodious house and garden of Thomas Malcolm at Colaba. Abundant supply of good water. Well maintained. Plus the house contents including an 8-light chandelier, grand piano and usual furniture.

Saturday 20th May 1809

20th May – Nasserwanjee Jamsetjee has bought all the outstanding Bills in the possession of Darashaw Cursetjee and requests settlement.

A list of 47 European debtors is appended.

Saturday 3rd June 1809

22nd May – The Bombay Governor reminds all officers, civil, military or naval, that neither they nor their servants may borrow money from natives (perhaps a reference to Jamsetjee’s published small trading loans above).

If they do so they will be removed from their posts or suspended.

Officers are also reminded they may not charge fees for their services.

Receipt of gifts is likewise illegal and will be deemed as extortion.

Saturday 24th June 1809

10th June 1809 – Admiral William O’Bryen Drury has announced a blockade of Java and the Spice Islands. He says it is targeted against Arab dhows trading to the Mauritius or Red Sea.

Saturday 1st July 1809

Postage on European newspapers sent to India is no longer charged. The proclamation of 26th December 1808 is repealed. The relaxation has retrospective effect in respect of news received on the recently arrived Indiamen from London.

Saturday 1st July 1809

Notice London, 7th January 1809 – Thomas and Henry Redhead and John Forbes have resigned from the partnership. The business will continue under the ownership of Joshua du Pre Porcher, Thomas Wilkinson and Nathaniel Edward Kindersley. Edward Fletcher, late of Bengal, joins the firm as partner. The firm Porcher Redhead is dissolved and a new name of Porcher & Co is assumed.

Saturday 5th August 1809

24th February 1809 – Don Mariano Fernandez de Folgueras, the Spanish Viceroy of Manila, has proclaimed the abdication of Charles IV and enthronement of Ferdinand VII (this is the first abdication).

He laments the French occupation of Spain and the ‘detention’ of Ferdinand in France and calls on all loyal Spaniards to rescue their King and restore him to the throne.

Saturday 12th August 1809

George Smith MP has moved for an enquiry into the sale of civil and military appointments by the East India Company. Charles Grant seconded.

They say appointments are advertised for sale in the London newspapers and in 1800 the Directors had themselves opened an enquiry but this had been frustrated by ‘a superior power,’ contrary to the wishes of a majority of Directors.

Grant said nevertheless, the Company had achieved occasional success – a clerk of the House of Commons had been given a Company appointment and sold it. Upon discovery, he was dismissed from the House and the appointment annulled, Grant believed. He said the Directors would welcome an enquiry.

He hoped that all the Members who were involved in the Company’s affairs (about 60 MPs) would exempt themselves from the enquiry. Smith suggested the names of several liberal MPs as potential Select Committee members. The motion was approved.

Saturday 12th August 1809

First report of the army mutiny at Madras:

Barlow, the Governor of Madras, issued a Proclamation on 20th July 1809:

He ordered Major General Gowdie, commanding the Company’s Madras army, and Lt Colonel Innes, commanding at Masulipatam, to detach units of the Madras European Regiment for overseas service and they responded that their officers demurred. It is said that the officers suppose their regiment is to be disbanded (the officers themselves contrarily seem anxious about half-batta).

The Governor reminds the army of the principles of military discipline, their subordination to the laws of the country and the authority of the civil power. The Governor of Madras says the troops and their officers are generally loyal and the Governor-General will visit them very soon to confirm their fidelity. All officers are required to sign a Declaration confirming they will obey lawful orders.

Major Boles has circulated a seditious petition claiming his salary should not be unilaterally reduced and he has requested other officers to sign it. The Governor-General has tried to calm the officers without effect. The officers at Hyderabad wrote to the Governor-General that they would secede from the Company’s army unless their cash demands were met (Hyderabad is where Palmer & Co is imposing commercially on the natives with military assistance – its lucrative[145]). The force at Masulipatam imprisoned their CO and threatened to join the Hyderabad officers in secession. They have given the Governor-General a list of conditions he is to meet before they renew their loyalty.

The Company’s armies at Hyderabad, Masulipatam and Seringapatam have placed themselves under the authority of a committee and decline to receive orders from the civil authority at Madras.

Fortunately HM troops have remained loyal along with many parts of the Company’s own army including all the native troops. The Governor-General expects the mutineers to submit to him before it is too late.

Saturday 19th August 1809

1st August 1809 – David Scott & Co has opened an Agency in Bombay today. The business of William Shotton & Co is assimilated into the new firm and Shotton becomes a partner, as does Ardaseer Dady. A third Bombay partner will be named shortly.

Saturday 26th August 1809

More on the army mutiny at Madras:

Signatures to the Declaration of Army Loyalty of 20th July are trickling into Calcutta – a list of signatories is published. Disloyalty is confined to Madras (Fort St George) regiments. Those declining to sign are to be removed from Company service.[146]

Saturday 26th August 1809

The investigation in London into the India Company’s sale of jobs in India has identified one of the Directors, George Woodford Thellusson MP, as the man who gave three Indian writerships to his relative J Alex Woodford (known around the City of London as the Emperor) which were sold for totally £10,175. Cadetships are also sold but they are cheaper – Bengal cadetships are worth only £100+ whereas the same job in Madras (where the army is in rebellion over money) costs £250.

It appears the Duke of Clarence (of the House of Brunswick) is a dabbler in the market for Indian cadetships through his chaplain Rev Lloyd. It is apparent that the cadetships, if not the writerships, are transferable and exchangeable. There are also sales of jobs on the medical establishment and for lawyers. A market is made in all these employments by some City brokers.

The Company has long been aware of abuses in the patronage of jobs in India. After the last Charter renewal in 1793 it investigated sales of jobs in 1798 and introduced a new oath for Directors whereby each swore not to sell jobs. On recommending an applicant, the Director further swears that he has not been bribed. Directors’ oaths seem to be ineffective. More useful would be the Company Bye-law that levies a fine of twice the sale price of a job but that has yet to be invoked.[147]

Saturday 2nd September 1809

The recent disturbances in New South Wales have caused the NSW Corps to be transferred to Ceylon. General Nightingale will take HM’s 73rd Regiment out in replacement. He is to be both Colonel of the Regiment and Governor of the penal Colony.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. This seems to suggest that when in the field, the Indian army can collect and utilise the Company’s revenue at source. It is the collection of civil revenue and mercantile debts by army officers that fosters much of the discontent in India. The impending Madras Army rebellion appears to have been due to this cause.
  2. A reference to the Land Revenue which field officers were formerly permitted to collect to meet their military costs and on which they apparently drew a commission.
  3. The beginnings of the Company’s military school at Addington, near Croydon, Surrey.
  4. Reminiscent of the right of appeal of Chinese citizens over their provincial authorities to the Emperor in Beijing. It was available to any one of them at this time – they just had to undertake the journey.
  5. The London papers are always received late at Bombay, perhaps indicative of a Company policy in London
  6. The ruler of the Ottoman Empire is called the Porte throughout this work.
  7. J P Benfield is likely the relative of the Benfield who has concurrently become a banker to Britain. The banker was notorious for his earlier involvement in Madras loans. He later befriended Pitt and partnered with Boyd, the British banker of Paris.
  8. This relates to the immense expenditure the Nabob incurred by supporting the British and opposing Hyder Ali and the French. It ultimately caused the loss of his lands, exposed his family to the Madras loan sharks and required British taxpayers money to resolve.
  9. The port of Surat is jointly administered at this time by a British and a Mughal officer which latter gentleman personally enjoyed a monopoly of trade with Ottoman functionaries in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. This trade had been deranged by French privateering and Kuli piracy and the administrators were not getting any advantage from it. The particular Company objection this year relates to diversion of Surat shipping to carry Hajj pilgrims to the detriment of commerce.
  10. Colonel Palmer, one of the great British Residents – devalued by the Wellesleys when they entrenched their exclusive system on the administration. See Dalrymple’s White Mughals.
  11. A ‘slap in the face’ for the Company’s formal position that it governs on behalf of the Mughal.
  12. The facility with which the leadership of a native government could be replaced fascinated the Company’s officials. It related solely to the Rajah or Nabob. The minister could not so easily be replaced without causing many unpredicted effects whereas replacing the King permitted tranquillity to be maintained and production and commerce to continue uninterrupted. The Company attempts the same operation itself on numerous occasions, usually successfully.
  13. His domains include the only known source of diamonds at that time.
  14. His second death. The previous occurrence was in the 24th May 1794 edition.
  15. War between Burma and Thailand was frequent at this time. From other reports it appears it was often sparked by border disputes. Burmese were taken at or near the frontier and enslaved, and presumably vice versa.
  16. The settlement of the Madras loans. British businessmen loaned to the Nabob on the security of his territorial revenue. Repayments since 1792 had increasingly caused depopulation as the farmers removed from the intolerable burden. Lord Hobart identified the problem, lost the confidence of his civil service and was dismissed for it, but parliament had to vote public money to the loan sharks in settlement. See Hobart’s report in a May 1798 edition below for better details.
  17. The Company’s problem is that everyone knows you go to India to make a fortune and all new employees and specialists pay for access. The government and the King both want more participation. The gift of £500,000 was supposed to be annual but was actually only paid in the first year (1793) of the new Charter.
  18. This no doubt concerns the revenue Shore has demanded of Oudh. The receivables are sold to the Calcutta agencies and the proceeds remitted to London.
  19. This paragraph is an edited version of the army’s 1794 ‘Magna Charta’.
  20. See the Europe chapter for better details of this bit of turbid diplomacy involving Talleyrand and some diamonds.
  21. Wellesley’s job is to secure all India to Britain by destroying the major local power centres. He will ensure France can no longer threaten us in Asia. His replacement of Government House at Calcutta with a magnificent new structure may have been done in prospect of George III staying there – the war in Europe has not been going well for Britain.
  22. This is the Company’s complaint. Having allowed the merchants to manipulate the market price of grain, it too has to pay the elevated rate.
  23. Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire, was replaced shortly after publishing this. The new Governor of Madras is Lord Clive, grandson of the first Lord. The Company likes to have employees from families who are familiar with its methods.
    After the sale of jobs in India was disapproved in London, the company commenced employing many orphans as cadets – they recognised a debt of gratitude for the opportunity provided to them.
  24. And sepoys often address their British officers as ‘father.’
  25. The Portuguese and Dutch had both conspired to limit spice production to single islands for better control of the monopolies. The company is now destroying that policy by spreading production throughout its monopoly trading area.
  26. The root, bark and fruit of this fragrant tree provide an essential oil with many commercial and medicinal uses. It is also intoxicating (contains natural MDMA – Ecstasy) and has been controlled by Western governments.
  27. In prospect of a French descent on India.
  28. Each crew member receives imprest money of four month’s pay on joining the ship trading east, supposedly to care for his family during his absence.
  29. He is the admiral of France and its allies in India. He is later exposed as acting for the British and executed – see the France in Asia chapter.
  30. The original method developed by the Chinese was to place the cocoons in salt. There is some suggestion that prior to that, the Chinese manually unwound the cocoons in the ten-odd days available before the worm ate its way out.
  31. This is a frontline part of the Company’s response to the feared French invasion.
  32. On respondentia, the ship is security for the loan. This was the form of financing that the speculative country trader used to start business until he had sufficient capital to pay for his own cargoes. Respondentia offered a chance for sudden wealth.
  33. Governors, Council members and Judges receive their salaries in Sterling. All other Company employees are paid in Rupees.
  34. A capital offence.
  35. This is the first indication of an Admiralty Jurisdiction in British India (after 8 years of war)
  36. Laudable Societies are more commonly associated with propagation of Christian teaching. The life assurance aspect of this investment is its scheme for savings.
  37. Formerly the Commanding Officer collected the effects and advertised in the newspaper that the Estate would be disposed of in accordance with Army regulations.
  38. He is the son of Henry Dundas, 1st Lord of the Admiralty. They later co-operate in promoting Indian teak-framed ships for use in England – see the Europe chapter.
  39. Sindhia has killed Holkar’s brother and Holkar has rebelled. This inter alia encourages the Peshwa to submit to Lord Wellesley’s Treaty of Bassein, cede Surat to the Company and pay 2.6 million Rupees annually for British protection.
  40. The Company soon established its own military school at Addington on the Kent / Surrey border.
  41. Umdat ul Omrah has died. This is his son. The importance of the Nabob to British interests is well indicated in this report.
  42. Ujjain is associated with Sindhia whereas Indore is Holkar’s town. They are both important distribution centres of Malwa agricultural production, inter alia opium which production is shortly to be stimulated by the Marathas and their Portuguese and Parsee intermediaries into an export crop.
  43. To meet a shortage in Britain, see the Europe chapter.
  44. The ruler of the Ottoman Empire is called the Porte throughout this work.
  45. The use of a Company army reinforcing a British force in Egypt becomes a precedent for the rise of Company foreign policy. It is the King’s Company. It has already occupied Manila briefly. Hereafter the Company sees threats from the Persians and the Russians. It will also launch its own invasions of South America and later China.
    War is good for the Company – it provides employment for the army which has to be paid whether fighting or resting; increases territory and profits, and it enhances ministerial reliance on it.
    The French took a rubbing of the Rosetta Stone before surrendering it. It was later used by Champollion to decipher the Egyptian script.
  46. The island is a navigation marker off the South Vietnam coast.
  47. In which employments a lack of commercial opportunity causes shortages of officers.
  48. These were formerly issued by the South Sea Company.
  49. This is perplexing. Marathi might be understood in Malabar but the local dialect is Malabari.
  50. These Indian agencies just now appearing in London are to take advantage of the Company’s permission to private merchants to export a limited amount of some commodities to England and provide India-built ships to that country.
    Charles Forbes remains in Bombay running the business. He is also the town Sheriff – he deals with cases of defendant’s property seized by Plaintiffs as security for claims. He arranges their sale. Every week there are houses seized and advertised for sale to provide cash security for alleged debts.
  51. This and the subsequent battle reports deal with Governor-General Wellesley’s determination to overcome both the Mughal and the Marathas and entrench British rule on the sub-continent. His brother secures the Deccan; Lake secures Hindustan.
  52. Assaye removes Maratha protection from the Deccan; the Battle of Delhi does the same for Hindustan. The Company will substitute its own protection to the people generally and the Grand Mughal specifically.
    These developments are fundamental to the exclusion of French influence (through their links with some native Princes) and for the consolidation of the Company’s Raj. They represent the territorial aspect of Lord Wellesley’s policy.
  53. The Pasha controls Mesopotamia and can influence our important overland route for communications between London and India. The Wahhabis are strict Sunni Muslims under the House of Saud.
  54. The main reason for the wish in London to impeach Wellesley.
  55. There may be confusion arising from two Basseins. One is in Burma (now Pathein) and is famous for its teak trees; the other is the city in Maharashtra referred to here. It is now called Vasai.
  56. Off-reckoning allowance refers to the expense of clothing native troops. The Company pays the cost of the native troop establishment. If the Presidency is under-manned, the surplus is divided amongst the General Staff. Madras and Bombay officers are getting more off-reckoning allowance than Bengal. Colonels of regiments also want a share.
  57. The pertinent thing is the amount a Master pays to obtain the command of an Indiaman – these chaps are rich merchants in their own right.
  58. Between Sion on Bombay and Kurla on Salsette. It has just been completed.
  59. Its one of the mud forts that gave the Company’s army so much difficulty. British artillery pounds the walls all day; during the night the defenders fill any cracks with slurry and by morning, when the besiegers come back from breakfast to recommence the barrage, the wall appears as good as new. The mud forts were only reliably susceptible to under-mining.
  60. See the Economy and Europe chapters for details of concessions to merchants.
  61. The remedy eventually adopted by the Company’s army against mud forts was the Mongol solution of undermining. The dangerous work is in approaching the walls to commence excavations and, when that is successful, in the subsequent assault up the hill of loose sand.
  62. No trial, no conviction, just this advertisement, perhaps authorised under a contractual term.
  63. Nash’s unnamed partner soon leaves for London and Ardaseer Dadysett is left without security. Some customers of the Tavern do not pay their bills and, a year later, are still being requested by advertisements (paid by Ardaseer) to do so, without which funds repayment of the Parsee’s loan is impossible.
  64. The market price is about £400; captaincies are about £700-800
  65. The VOC has lost all its ships whilst the mercantile demand for colonial goods continues. This is one of the results. The Americans are able to provide goods to Europe that have not paid British tax. This is a contributing cause to the War of 1812 and to the British invasion and occupation of Java of about the same time.
  66. This appears to have been a necessary precursor for the rise of international trade in Malwa opium via Bombay.
  67. Lassar was an Armenian who grew-up in Macau. His translation of the old and new testaments into Chinese was completed and printed in 1822, a year before the better-known version of Morrison.
  68. This relates to the shortage of money in England in Spring 1796 and the efforts in British India to alleviate it with the reluctant assistance of the Nabob.
  69. Lord Wellesley has a thing about British dignity. He has built new prestigious palaces for himself although the existing accommodations were said to be in satisfactory condition. This expenditure may relate to the war with France – if England is invaded, George III will need somewhere else to live. Wellesley is the Governor-General associated with the requirement of British exclusiveness and non-fraternisation with Indians. On the other hand his brother the General, later to be Duke of Wellington, has a fundamental concern for doing his ‘duty’ in an unquestioning military way. Both traits are widely adopted throughout the later British Empire.
  70. The commission Cochrane receives on this deal becomes the subject of his prosecution years later in London when another ministry is seeking for dirt to throw on the Cochrane family.
  71. This case is useful confirmation that the Company’s Directors conduct private trade in India in spite of their public contrary decision reported earlier.
  72. Melville is identified with the improvements in seamen’s service conditions that followed the mutinies at Spithead and the Nore. They are mentioned in the Europe chapter.
  73. Britain assumes the administration of Portugal with the departure of the House of Braganza and most of the nobility to Brazil. An aspect of that control is the provision of H M Regiments as garrisons to Portuguese colonies other than Brazil.
  74. The Star Pagoda contained just under 3½ grammes of gold. The amount written in the text is 5 Pagodas 33 fanams and 60 cash and the formula is 80 cash = 1 fanam; 42 fanam = 1 Pagoda, worth about 8/- Sterling. The Madras army has formerly bought Malwa opium for its doctors – its the local and original supply.
  75. Quite unlike the instructions to Warren Hastings mentioned in Erskine’s Defence of John Stockport at the beginning of this chapter – to secure the territory and revenue of Bengal. Bentinck is quite Whiggish in flavour – his Constitution for Sicily was considered the most advanced statement of popular rights at this time.
  76. This publicity in the Bombay Courier, which acts as the government gazette for the Presidency, should dispel any tincture of doubt about why we are in India. It displeases the Company Directors who are devalued by the high costs of Wellesley’s campaigns, particularly chasing Holkar all over north India. As usual the Company is pleading poverty whilst the employees are in clover.
  77. The Dundas effect – this time Robert who became President of the Board of Control in 1807. When Castlereagh was President after 1802 India was inundated with Irishmen.
  78. Sometimes sticlac, a vegetable varnish.
  79. Palmer is an Anglo-Indian and thus can avoid the Company’s proscription on British business in native states. He consequently has a monopoly of foreign access at Hyderabad. He and his European staff are naturally close to the garrison officers.
  80. The British are unpopular in India. Had it been the Dutch or the French that succeeded in India, they would have been unpopular in the same way. The dissatisfaction arises from resentment of change rather than a preference for the Mughals. British rule is maintained by military force. The Jat Fort of Bharatpur is considered impregnable by Indians since the Company’s failure to besiege it in 1805. It has become a rallying point of Indian nationalism. The growth of British India shows that the Europeans are bent on the conquest of the entire country and Lake’s and Wellesley’s successful wars with the Marathas are publicly said by the British to be the turning point at which eventual total British control became inevitable. Since then Metcalfe has settled terms with the Sikhs and Elphinstone has gone to Afghanistan with Shah Soojah al Mukh. This is pushing the Company’s frontier further to the north west.
    Now the army officers are revealing a belief that they should dictate to the civil power rather than vice versa. Their demands include a seat on the Presidential Council of Madras. The officers are irritated by the Company’s economising on half-batta – resulting from the new rules, supposedly agreed by Cornwallis with the British government, that have just been introduced. The army officers are in India to make money the same as everyone else – they pay for their cadetships and expect to make their investments work; they are fundamental to the British hold on the country and they are unhappy to be restrained financially and have their important services made the subject of economies.
    There is further commercial background – the wealth and prize money of India that comes to the army is partly invested in the great Houses of Agency. Those businesses routinely get military assistance in Madras in collecting their usurious loans, as reported by Lord Hobart; indeed the soldiery is widely used by Collectors for revenue collection as well and may have had a role in the reversal in Afghanistan in 1840s. The activities in Hyderabad of Palmer & Co is a notorious case and all the native states buying the Company’s protection are more or less predated upon.
    The Governor-General’s approach is to remind British officers that India is no longer entirely regulated by a Company government. He says it has been part of the King’s government since the Board of Control was established and notes many appointments are directly made to Indian service by the King (or in His name).
  81. The China writerships are the crème de la crème. They are more expensive than the Indian ones and, at about £10,000 each (more than a ton of silver), head the tariff of Company jobs. The Editor laments that a considerable number of young men who bought their appointments may be obliged by the disclosures in this investigation to surrender them and return to England. The committee has recommended that bonds be taken from the parents or guardians of new writers / cadets which will be called-in if purchase of the office is later established.

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