Asia 1809-1820 – part 3


Sunday 3rd September 1809 Extraordinary

The Madras army mutiny:

Some of the disaffected regiments in Madras Presidency have marched to Seringapatam and plundered the villages en route. The Governor-General is satisfied the disaffection does not involve the native NCOs and rank & file. He says it is restricted to the European officers and men. The Resident of Mysore (a Colonel) and CiC of that district (Lt Colonel Davis) ordered them back to their cantonments but they ignored the instructions.

The mutineers say government has unilaterally breached the terms of their commissions over half-batta. The Governor-General dispatched Lt Colonel Gibbs with a body of Mysore Horse and the 1st battalion of the 3rd Regiment of Native Infantry to prevent the men reaching Seringapatam. They attacked and dispersed the rebel column. During this action a sally was made by the garrison of Seringapatam but was driven back by the 5th Regiment of cavalry under Captain Bean of HM 25th Dragoons, who commands that Regiment. Many rebel Europeans were killed. The government troops had one casualty – Lt Colonel Gibbs – who endeavoured to negotiate a settlement under a flag of truce and was shot by a rebellious officer.

The Governor-General is shocked that European officers might oppose the civil authority, seize the public treasure under their trust, abandon their posts and march to unite with others rebels, plundering the dominions of the Company’s ally on their way. He hopes their fate will be a lucid warning to the remainder of the Madras army.

Saturday 16th September 1809

Madras army mutiny:

Another twenty signatories to the Governor-General’s Declaration have been received at Calcutta. It appears the officers’ mutiny is losing support. The Seringapatam garrison surrendered on 23rd August.

Saturday 7th October 1809

The former Governor-General Marquis Wellesley has been appointed British ambassador to the Spanish junta in Seville.

Sunday 8th October 1809 Extraordinary

The Madras mutiny:

Governor-General Minto has investigated the army rebellion at Madras and decided it is too serious to pardon. He has made a small selection from a ‘great mass of iniquity’. Only officers in command of units will be tried by courts martial. The larger the unit commanded the heavier the punishment if guilt is established.

A list of the officers selected for trial is attached. Every other officer involved in the criminality will receive a general amnesty. This amnesty is intended to perpetually annihilate all record of this incident.

The list of officers to be tried contains 3 Lt Colonels, 3 Majors and 16 Captains.

Saturday 14th October 1809

The Viceroy of Portuguese possessions in the East (Goa, Diu, Damaun, Macau, Timor) has issued a Proclamation from Panjim Palace in Goa on 16th August:

Lt Colonel Fraser’s Regiment (H M’s 86th) is being withdrawn from Goa after three years service as garrison. He thanks the Colonel for his good service.

Saturday 21st October 1809

The free mariner J P Inglis has arrived at Madras in the Indiaman Union.

Saturday 4th November 1809

For Sale, 26th October – at the regulated price, an ensigncy in one of HM’s regiments. Contact Forbes & Co.

Saturday 11th November 1809

The Residents that the Company appoints to various places around Asia (and most recently to the expatriated Portuguese Court at Rio de Janeiro) are usually serving Indian army officers.

Captain David Seton of the Bombay army has long been Resident at Muscat but has just died and William Newnham of Bombay is appointed Executor of the Estate.

Saturday 11th November 1809

A large community of Parsees reside at Surat and, together with a similarly large group of Hindus and some Muslims, monopolise the cotton trade of that town. About one hundred Parsees have just joined the other merchants in thanking Nathan Crow for his dedicated service as magistrate of the town. Crow is retiring.

Saturday 9th December 1809

Advertisement – Pestonjee Rustomjee has opened a new shop in Hummum Street and filled it with the privileged tonnage of Wm Fisher, 2nd officer of the Northampton. A liberal selection of London goods is available along with some fine old Madeira wine.

Saturday 9th December 1809

Calcutta, 28th October – Governor-General Minto has received Oaths of Loyalty from all the officers of the Coast Army in Madras Presidency. He is satisfied the mutiny is over.

He deplores rumours in Calcutta that dissent continues and says, if he could discover who was fomenting them, he would heavily punish him.

Saturday 16th December 1809

8th June – The Court of Directors has voted on a show of hands to recall any officer from India who is shown to have paid for his job. The objection was the incitement that payment gave them to recover their investment by malpractice in India. Some said it would be fairer that the parents of youths going to India should be bonded and their bonds confiscated if payments were discovered. This was unpopular.

Saturday 30th December 1809

The de Souza family have fallen out over the division of the property of the late Maria and Francisco de Souza. Joseph de Souza has sued the other executors (Nicolao de Lima e Souza, Lourenco de Silva, Rozario de Quadros and Nicolao de Silva) in the Recorder’s Court in an equitable claim that has resulted in an Order for the sale of numerous houses in the fort and some pieces of land near Bombay, preparatory to distributing the proceeds

Saturday 30th December 1809

22nd October – Malacca letters report the opium market there is stopped owing to the non-arrival of the Bugis this year. A month ago a fleet of 21 Bugis proas was sailing up the Straits for this port and for Penang when they encountered the French privateer Piedmontaise out of Mauritius. These proas are indistinguishable from the boats favoured by the local pirates; one has to recognise the crews not the boats. The French thought they were pirates and the Bugis could not make themselves understood to the French. They are brave and warlike people and, when the boats of the Piedmontaise attacked, they fought back wildly, obliging the French to withdraw with the loss of 2 seamen killed and 30+ injured. When the French withdrew the Bugis did likewise and returned directly to their ports of Rhio and Lingin.

Mr Keak, the Malacca trader who has most experience of the Bugis, has sent messengers to the Bugis King telling him of the mistake and asking him to send his people back but they are a proud race and say they will no longer visit British ports. A second fleet of 40 proas learned of the attack on arriving at Rhio and has not continued its voyage up the Malayan coast. Opium is now nominally $900 but if a sale is forced it sells for only $800.[148]

Saturday 27th January 1810

Our present convoying arrangements whereby a single warship, often a sloop (the smallest warship in the war fleet), escorts the Bombay merchant ships is thought to be no longer adequate. Recent French tactics in eastern seas have been to assemble their warships and privateers in fleets against which a single frigate would be of little use, let alone a sloop.

The convoy system has also been a cause of constant complaint by the merchants who dislike waiting for the availability of a warship and the slow progress of the voyage. The merchants feel that no convoy would be better and each ship can find its own way. To have a whole fleet of ships inadequately protected is a greater risk than to have numerous individual voyages, they say.

It is also the case that, with all ships arriving at destination more or less concurrently, the prospect of windfall profits by being first to provide supply of needed commodities is lost to the merchants. Thus the fun of trade is lost.

Saturday 10th February 1810

11th February – All Europeans in Bombay who are not Company servants are required to register themselves with the Police within the next 10 days. This is an annual requirement in all Company-administered lands.

Saturday 10th February 1810

Thomas Hugh-Davies is selling Bills on Madras Presidency for anyone interested in transferring funds to that jurisdiction.

Saturday 10th February 1810

On 6th February the Charles Grant was launched from the Bombay dock. She is a teak-built ship of 1,200 tons and eminently suited for charter to the Company.

As soon as she was launched, the keel of another 1,200 tonner was laid down. It is becoming known in London that teak lasts twice as long as oak and our Bombay ships are consequently in demand in England. This promises great prosperity for the Bombay docks.

Saturday 10th February 1810

In mid-January eight Company scholars graduated in the Oriental language examinations at the Fort William College, Calcutta.

Fry Magniac obtained passes in Arabic, Hindi, Persian and Bengali; Davidson in Hindi and Bengali; Innes in Persian and Hindi, etc. Three other graduates have elected to continue further studies.

Saturday 10th February 1810

The Rev Claudius Buchanan, formerly of Madras, has given an interesting report of religious conviction in a sermon delivered at Bristol, England on 29th February 1809:

Abdullah and Sabat were Arabians, friends from childhood, who aspired to see the world. They travelled to Kabul where an Armenian merchant gave Abdullah a copy of his bible. On reading this Abdullah was persuaded of the superiority of Orthodox Christianity and apostatised. This is a capital offence in a Muslim country so he left Kabul for the area around the Caspian Sea where he knew there were some Russian Orthodox churches. He met-up with Sabat at the Muslim city of Bokhara and told what had happened to him, imploring his assistance on the grounds of their friendship.

Sabat was appalled and reported Abdullah’s offence to Morad Shah, King of Bokhara, who sent Abdullah to the execution ground, offering his life if he would abjure Christ. Abdullah declined. One of his hands was cut-off at the wrist but he seemed hardly to notice it, leaving the arm hanging at his side. The King offered a doctor’s service to staunch the blood-flow if Abdullah would recant but he remained silent, looking up at the sky, his eyes streaming with tears. He looked at me (Sabat) without any trace of anger. His other hand was then cut-off but he never recanted. The King was concerned for the respect that the audience was beginning to show Abdullah and had him quickly decapitated.

Sabat had expected Abdullah to recant and was consumed with guilt and grief at his death.

He thereafter travelled extensively himself and eventually arrived at Madras where the British Governor made him a Mufti in light of his great knowledge of the Muslim scriptures. This facilitated his travelling throughout southern India. On a visit to Vizagapatam he discovered an Arabic translation of the New Testament and, to honour his dead friend, he read this carefully and critically. The translation was poor and required his thoughtful reflection to adduce meaning. This progressively induced his own conversion to Christianity. He returned on foot (500 miles) to Madras where he made a public profession of his new faith and was baptised Nathaniel at 27 years of age.

He resigned his government employment and travelled in stages to Bengal where he joined the Company’s Language School as a translator of Arabic and Persian texts. He has now produced a book in Nabuti called Happy News for Arabia which relies mainly on texts that are jointly honoured by both Muslims and Christians. This sermon is drawn from the Preface to his book.

Saturday 17th February 1810

The Brinjaries of Madras, who supply grain of all types to the English army, have petitioned Gilbert, Lord Minto, on 19th January for help:

We are grateful for your enlightened rule that allows us to work everyday instead of supplying corvee labour for two or more days each week to the Rajahs who used to rule us. Since we came under your Raj our former rulers have cleared all the jungly lands for their own cultivation and we have nowhere to graze our cattle and no tanks to obtain water. They punish us for our support to you. Please take revenge.

We helped you to capture all Jumbo Dweepa (India) so you might bring peace and there have been no wars for a few years. The people from the North want to buy clothes and ornaments from us and we want to supply them but we need to increase our grain sales to finance the trade. Please make war immediately. We require 1 – 2 million Pagodas deposit and we will supply every grain you need at reasonable rates.

And another thing, we formerly flavoured our own food with sea salt but it has been scarce and we are asked to use mineral salt. This makes us unwell. Please resume the sea salt supply or you will have no Brinjaries to supply your grain.

Sgd Bojanaig, Matranaig, Dausoonaig, etc.

Saturday 17th February 1810

Lord Valentia, who spent a couple of years travelling India in about 1804, has published his Voyages & Travels to India, Ceylon, etc., in three volumes. He says he interviewed the Directors about the opportunities for trade in the Red Sea. The Directors however thought there were no prospects of worthwhile trade in that Sea and were content to leave it to the Americans.

“Having dismissed me,” Valentia writes, “they welcomed Mr Jacobs’ plan to trade with Abyssinia and offered him a licence, although it was fettered with restrictions. He took the sort of cargo that I had recommended and I expect him to report a successful voyage when he returns. He took a letter from King George III (there was a precedent of James I) and a present of habesh cloth.”

King Ayto Galao told me that what he sought for was specialists in irrigation, medicine and woodwork but these could not be sent on what was a commercial voyage.

I fear the Company has been neglecting a profitable area of trade and I hope they will not be permitted to close it to private merchants. I mentioned all this to Canning as I fear Company disinterest will permit access to the French and the Red Sea forms a route to India. He asked me to assist in the preparations for Jacobs’ voyage. The presents we selected were hand guns, satins, cut glass and fine British muslins worth totally about £1,400. There were also two cannon. We should offer our assistance and trade as Abyssinia is a Christian country.

Editor – the Company has routinely avoided Red Sea trade contending that navigational difficulties make it too dangerous.

Saturday 24th February 1810

A General Court of the Company has received and considered the Report of the Select Committee into the sale of jobs in India. It notes with satisfaction that no Director was involved in that disreputable business. The Directors will in future interrogate candidates to ensure they have not paid. They will also require every applicant to have a certificate from a serving Director confirming the applicant is a fit and proper person for employment. The recommending Director is to state that he has not been paid for his recommendation. Directors are to report annually the numbers of writers, cadets and students who have applied to them for employment during the prior twelve months. It will show how many succeeded and how many failed. The Company offers its thanks to Directors George Smith MP and Charles Grant MP for their invaluable services in the House of Commons in settling this matter.

This meeting identified Director Robinson as the man who gave the cadetship to Castlereagh.

An order was made in the course of the meeting to expel from India all people identified by the House of Commons as having paid for their jobs.

The patronage of the Shipping Committee, which controls access to cadetships, assistant surgeons, free mariners, volunteers for the Bombay Marine and volunteers for the Bengal Pilot Service, will be examined by a Select Committee to advise and draft anti-corruption procedures.

All individuals commending applicants for vacancies to Directors will in future have to attend before the Court to swear they have not paid anyone before presenting their recommendations.

The retrospective application of the new regulations is limited to 6th August 1806.

Saturday 24th February 1810

The following employees were identified in the House of Commons report as having paid for their jobs and their employment contracts are rescinded:

Writers – Edward J Smith and Fry Magniac.

Cadets – Thomas Kelly, George Barker, George Tenlon, John Samuel Williams, Braithewaite Christie, Thomas Maw, John Manson, Robert Manson, Thomas Locke.

Student – Henry Gardiner (for a Madras writership).

Others – Samuel Lewis who, having an Indian mother, sent a white friend named Philips to impersonate him at the Shipping Committee, is dismissed for fraud.[149]

Saturday 24th February 1810

The Company’s anti-corruption measures had been advertised in the London Gazette and in an Edinburgh and Dublin newspaper. This complies with the legal requirement that the measures be advertised in all three countries of the United Kingdom. Few people read the Government Gazette and most Englishmen have never seen a Scottish or Irish newspaper – nevertheless, the Company has complied with requirements.

The Directors had themselves passed a by-law requiring all their Regulations be posted in a public part of India House for the inspection of all and sundry but these anti-corruption rules were never published that way.

Shareholder Sansom argued that if the matter was litigated it would likely be discovered that the Regulations had never been properly communicated to the public and were consequently of no effect.

He said there was already evidence of Director Thelluson’s complicity in sale of jobs. Some people would conclude the Directors as a body were either stupid or corrupt themselves.

Sansom noted the Committee’s report mentioned that Shareholder Parry told Thelluson that large sums were paid for cadetships and Thelluson replied it was nonsense – they never cost more than £500 (equivalent to 125 lbs of silver)! Should not this knowledge of the prices have prompted remedial action against Thelluson if the Directors’ really disapproved of sales?

On the other hand it was said that everyone knew that paying for jobs was clearly not a kosher way to obtain employment. The people who pay are as guilty as the people who receive.

Johnstone said there is corruption in the British Army. Many officers pay more than the regulation price for their commissions. Are they likewise to be discharged? Similar practices prevail in the engineers, artillery and marines. It was particularly obvious in appointments in the Anglican Church. In all these institutions it had not been thought necessary to introduce regulation.

Eventually the motion was voted and the shareholders were ten to one in favour of the new regulation with its retrospective effect.

Saturday 24th February 1810

General Orders, 20th February – when native troops and camp followers are taken aboard ship for service overseas, the daily rations they are each entitled to are 3 lbs rice, 1 lb dhal, 1 lb of ghee and ¼ lb of salt.[150]

Saturday 3rd March 1810

The Portuguese and English country ships from China and Manila via Penang have returned safely to Calcutta on 12th February convoyed by HMS Fox.

Saturday 3rd March 1810

The expedition sent by Bombay Presidency at the Governor-General’s instruction to assist the Imam of Muscat in recovering some of his dependent ports from the Jowasimi pirates has been successful and the force has now returned to Bombay.

Saturday 3rd March 1810

The Company is considering convoying of merchant ships:

Calcutta private merchants sent a complaint to the Court of Directors of the Company. They want to trade their ships individually to get the greater profit that flows from their experience and commercial information but Sir Edward Pellow, Admiral of the India Squadron, commended them, for the protection of what they already had, to sail in convoys.

The Calcutta merchants asked the Bombay merchants to join their protest but were refused. Bombay values convoys and the only losses sustained at that port were amongst unconvoyed ships. It was noted that some 80 Bombay merchants had seen fit to publicly thank Pellow for his convoy service.

One of the Company shareholders, Herriott, has asked if the Admiral’s version of events has been considered by the Directors. Pellow had commended the Governor-General to require the merchants to sail in convoy and this opinion had been adopted and followed in all the Presidencies.

The Calcutta merchants were disinclined to attend to this advice. They think Pellow should be cruising against the French and Dutch privateers, deploying his ships off ports and at the mouths of straits. Instead, they say, the East India war fleet of 15 ships lies idle in Madras roads throughout August – November 1807 awaiting merchant requests for convoy.

It was only when losses on the Calcutta registry reached an unacceptable level that the insurance offices, Agencies of the great Houses of Commerce, pressed convoy on the Calcutta merchants and they submitted.

Edward Parry, who had been Company Chairman at the time of the Bengal complaint, had reconsidered the matter and now felt convoys are the best option. He denied the newspaper report that Pellow was recalled for insisting on convoys – he says Pellow asked to be relieved due to ill-health.

Saturday 10th March 1810

20th February – There is rebellion in Burma. The King at Ava has ordered a conscription of all male Burmese to fight the Thais. The commercial Burmese at Rangoon objected and rioted. All the foreign commercial houses except one have been looted and burned. The Armenians have suffered particularly badly.

Saturday 24th March 1810

The Company imports Madeira wine but not from the island – it buys from British wine merchants based in London – Gordon Duff & Co, Murdoch Yuell & Co, Scott & Co, etc. Three ships have arrived at Bombay with consignments for sale.

These suppliers are the merchants who received a monopoly of Madeira wine production in 1808 to provide a means of repayment of some small part of British military costs in the Iberian peninsula.

(The private India merchants have been permitted this trade but they buy unbranded wine at Madeira itself on their return voyages)

Saturday 24th March 1810

The Aberdeen Society for the Benefit of the Children of Deceased Clergymen and Professors of Scottish Universities has been formed to ameliorate the financial difficulties of the children of people in these commonly related professions.

They have always been only moderately paid and the rise in the costs of all provisions has put their standards-of-living back a century. Our Society was established in 1799 when this problem first became apparent. Prices since then have continued to rise. Bombay contributed £400 in January 1808. We are grateful. Please give more.

Sgd James Hogg, Manse of Skene Presbytery of Aberdeen.

A list of new subscribers is attached. Send money to Forbes & Co.[151]

Saturday 24th March 1810

The complaint of the Brinjaries to the Governor-General of a lack of sea-salt (above) is also affecting Calcutta and Bombay. The Governor-General recently asked Bombay and Madras for salt shipments to Calcutta and he offered a certain fixed rate but relief has not been obtained and indeed the shortage is very apparent in Bombay.

Saturday 7th April 1810

The recent fire at Rangoon started in the arrack shop of Mr van Hart. Heat burst some of the barrels and the alcohol spread the fire everywhere. 7,000 wooden houses were destroyed. Only the Portuguese church and four brick buildings belonging to foreigners survived. The Burmese officials say they will routinely ban the export of wood until the town has been rebuilt.

There is no suggestion that the fire is related to military conscription as previously reported but the King of Ava has sent an army of 30,000 to the island of Junk Ceylon (Phuket), captured it and sent all the inhabitants he could find to Pegu. The Thais, who formerly occupied the island, are expected to take revenge.

Captain Canning of the Company’s service set out from Rangoon to Ava on 20th December on a mission to the King. He has not been heard from since.

Saturday 7th April 1810

Lt Isacke is the officer who has been selected as the representative of the officers’ rebellion in Secundabad and elsewhere. He has been court-martialled for insubordination and cashiered.

Tuesday 10th April 1810 Extraordinary

The Directors have complained of recent army activities at Madras and have used the opportunity of the revolt to review the chain of civil and military command in a letter to the Governor-General dated 15th September 1809:

We look after the Indian Army very well; we contribute to W&O plans; we pay you pensions until you die; you are better paid than any other army.

In June 1808 your Quarter-Master General Lt Colonel Munro was ordered by CiC Madras Sir John Cradock to provide tents and transport for the carriage of stores for the Native Regiments. Hitherto these services were arranged by the Commanding Officers of Corps who contracted them out to the private sector. The Governor-General noted that General Stuart had made a similar proposal in 1803. The proposal was approved and had been adopted by the Madras Army in May 1808.

In September 1808 the Commanding Officers of 5 Regiments of Native Cavalry and 23 Regiments of Native Infantry in the Madras Army jointly charged Munro with ‘conduct unbecoming an officer’ in insinuating in his report to the Governor-General that the COs had been profiting from the contracts and were reluctant to forego these emoluments.

In January 1809 Munro was arrested by Lt General MacDowell.

The Directors feel that a proposal, having received the approval of the Governor-General, cannot be subsequently queried by subordinate officers. The proper course of action to take for any of those aggrieved COs is to demand a retraction of Munro’s inferences, or failing that, the aggrieved officer’s own Court Martial. Army Officers have no authority or right to combine. They may act only in respect of their individual concerns.

On the other hand, when a proposal has been considered and approved at the highest level of civil government, it is inappropriate for army officers to publicly criticise the civil administrators. That might bring the administration into public disrepute.

Munro’s report was ‘confidential’ and was placed in the official records of the government by the CiC. How it became public is unknown but clearly involved a breach of confidence by some high official.

We understand the Judge Advocate-General advised the involved officers that their acts were illegal and they have accordingly expressed contrition. We hope that is the case.

We now consider the conduct of Lt General MacDowell, our late CiC of the Madras Army.

The General has indicated no intention of appealing to us but we suppose the papers we have are adequate to form a view as they contain his own public documents. MacDowell, having received the legal opinion of the JAG that any action would be an unwarranted attempt to control the acts of government, still arrested Munro and commenced to try him. He should properly have returned the complaints of his COs and indicated his displeasure to them. Our Governor-in-Council at Madras should have ordered him to do so – Munro’s proposals had been approved and MacDowell was ordered to implement them. There was no basis to Munro’s arrest and charge but MacDowell proceeded to do just that. When you (the Governor-General) required MacDowell to quit Madras, he published a General Order that was highly contentious. It severely reprimanded Munro although the JAG had advised MacDowell of his legal position and the aggrieved COs had withdrawn their protests. He alone still harboured resentment against an officer who was merely doing his duty.

The power of government at Madras is vested by Act of Parliament in the Governor-in-Council. The Council holds supreme civil and military authority subject only to the Governor-General at Calcutta and he in turn to the Directors at home.

CiC Madras has no independent authority to initiate and conduct public business. When the Governor-in-Council ordered Munro’s release it was not open to MacDowell to query that decision in a publication of General Orders or rebel against the Governor’s legal authority. We approve your Orders expunging MacDowell’s publications from the public record.

MacDowell also protested his non-appointment to a seat on the Council. That non-appointment flowed from considerations for the territories subordinate to Madras.

Whom we Directors appoint to Council is our business. CiCs are not automatically appointed to Council, it is a discretionary matter for us alone.

We also deplore MacDowell’s transmission to you of an exceptional memorial from some of his officers in January 1809 together with his approbation of it.

Barlow, when acting Governor-General, wrote to MacDowell privately in May / June 1808 commending he repress an Address to Calcutta demanding parity of allowances with the Bengal Army. He initially complied but later forwarded the Address, signed by many COs, to the acting Governor-General demanding parity of allowances which was claimed as a right. He attached his own approval of it. This was inconsistent.

The COs complain that they are required to serve far from home; well, they knew that when they signed-on.

They say, after 22 years service, they can either return home in comparative poverty or continue serving in an unhealthy climate; well, the military allowances of the Indian Army are higher than any other army in the World. The necessaries of life are cheap in India; the highest ranks are open to them without purchase or expense, and the financial provisions after retirement are better than any other service.

They complain the abolition of the Bazaar allowance – this has been applied in all Presidencies and no-one else is complaining. It is required by the Articles of War which forbid Army Officers to raise a revenue off daily food supplies, effectively a tax on the incomes of their troops that has to be paid for the benefit of the officers. The bulk of this tax, when it was allowed, arose from sale of liquor. Intoxicating the men upon whom one relies to fight is clearly incompatible with an officer’s first duty.

The COs protest the abolition of full batta for themselves but this allowance has not been abolished. It is simply transferred from Officers commanding stations to Officers commanding corps; from officers conducting mainly administrative jobs to men on active duty.

They complain that our Order to appoint army officers to pay offices has not been given effect at Madras. These orders are being introduced by the Governor-in-Council progressively, to preserve the regularity of public business.

They complain that officers of HM Regiments also receive commands at stations although they are detached from their Regiments to assume these posts. The general rule is that the benefits of command of stations will inure to officers of the Company’s army and deviations from the Rule should be reported.

They complain the abolition of the tent contract. They say in time of war the allowance is inadequate. That seems decisive although there may be an argument for continuing to pay it in peacetime. The Madras Army has been generally at peace and officers enjoying the benefits of the tent contract have had time to recoup any extra expenses they incurred during war. The main objection to the tent contract was its application to the entire army whilst, as a general rule, only some units of the army were in movement at any one time. We wish our officers in the field to focus their attention on the discipline of their men and not to the financial possibilities of their military operations.

They demand the same allowances as are paid to the Bengal Army officers. The differences in pay at each of the Company’s Presidencies derive from differences in revenue. Bengal was the first great possession of the Company. It is the seat of Indian government. The standard of living in Bengal is adapted to its prestigious position. The revenue of Bengal has not yet been attained at other Presidencies. We believe all the officers of our civil and military establishments are well aware of this inequality when they apply for employment.[152] Our Bengal revenue is not so great that we can raise Madras and Bombay to the same level. Any plan for equalisation will cause a reduction of emoluments at Bengal. Such differences as exist are limited to officers; the NCOs and privates are all paid more or less the same wherever they serve. It is also the case that opportunities for promotion in the Bengal Army are poorer than at Bombay or Madras as the former is more settled and the prospect of war reduced. If Madras officers can reasonably ask for equalisation of allowance, Bengal officers may likewise ask for equalisation of promotion opportunity. Then again the risk of death (and chance of promotion) is greatest in the cavalry, second greatest in the infantry and least in the artillery – should these inequalities be remedied as well? This is specious reasoning.

Staff allowances and other extras are different. These are conferred on individuals for merit and bear no relation to what others receive.

The unpleasant fact is that the Company needs to retrench. We spend more than we earn. Expenses, both civil and military, are being reduced everywhere or we will become bankrupt. We wish to continue the employment of as many as possible.

The COs complain that CiC Madras is excluded from a seat on the Council. Seats on Council are granted in accordance with need and merit. There is no compunction on the Company to appoint military officers to Council either in war or peace. There is no such thing as a military representative on Council. Do you suppose CiC England should have a cabinet post? The benefit of military advice is available to government without such formality. In any event, whilst the memorialists says a seat on Council will ensure their concerns are represented at the highest level, in fact all the complaints they make derive from proposals of CiC Sir John Cradock whilst he was in Council. It would appear superficially that representation merely brings army interests more fully before the Council which might then act either for or against the army’s immediate interests.

Finally the COs request a general Fund for the ‘off-reckonings’ of the army which they intend to use to equalise the perquisites of Colonels in each of the Presidencies. They say ‘off-reckonings’ increase Colonels’ pay in Bengal but decrease them in Madras. The purpose of the ‘off-reckonings’ is to provide a fund for the retired list of General Officers whose pensions are all equal wherever they served – it is manifestly a pension fund. On the average of the last three years each share in the fund has been worth £952 in Bengal, £1,294 in Madras and £1,458 in Bombay. If one averages the Bengal and Bombay ‘off-reckonings’ it produces £1,205 which is not markedly different from what Madras General Officers receive now. In any event, the officers benefiting from ‘off-reckonings’ are all resident in Europe and none have signed the memorial.

We conclude with our strong disapproval of army officers forming associations to negotiate with government over alleged grievances. We reprobated this in our letter of 20th April 1803 yet still the spirit of dissension continues. We have your interests under our constant attention. You may rely on it.

We expect the officers in return to place their duty to the Company and the Country above all other considerations. We reiterate that it will never be our intention to routinely admit military officers to the legislative process. There is no ‘representative of the army’ in our Councils. We have yet to receive MacDowell’s direct representations but we propose to lay this entire case before HM Government. Major Boles and Lt Colonel Capper have been suspended from duty. It is our belief they acted under the orders of MacDowell. They may return to duty. We approve the provisional appointment of Maj General Gowdie as CiC Madras.

Later the Directors received a copy of the Officers’ memorial. They reply to the Governor-General saying it is subversive of all legitimate government and continue:

The officers assert military privileges that form the basis of independent military power; they demand Council representation; they demand the replacement of the Madras Governor; they dictate to the Governor-General.

We now learn that Major Boles was one of the rallying points for disaffection. We had formerly supposed he acted under the orders of MacDowell. Suspend him again. We are happy to hear that the officers of HM Regiments have been well-behaved throughout this confrontation.

Saturday 14th April 1810

Penang, 10th March – all the Cholia boats have left and sailed back to the Coromandel coast.[153]

Saturday 21st April 1810

Fallout from the enquiry in the Commons into the sale of offices In British India:

M/s Smith and Fry Magniac of the Bombay civil establishment are ordered to hold themselves in readiness to depart for England.

Five Bombay army officers are similarly warned of imminent expulsion.

Saturday 21st April 1810

3,000+ troops are preparing to leave the Cape (South Africa) on a military expedition.

The Cape market is glutted with British manufactures.

Saturday 21st April 1810

Three regiments of cavalry attached to Colonel Close’s army on the Nerbudda have mutinied.[154] The officers were not involved. The discontent arose from the absence of help from the residents. The people of Bundelkund and Malwa are resentful and do not support us. Our occupying army is short of all sorts of food. The mutiny has been suppressed with energy and presence-of-mind by Colonel Close.

Gopal Singh has been plundering the country. He found a small detached column under Capt Wilson at Perirca, near Kokereti and defeated it but treated our men well and later returned them with a polite note.

Wilson was superseded in command by Major Delamain who chased after Gopal but the insurgent force is mainly cavalry and escaped. While Delamain was chasing them, Gopal sent a detachment to circle back to Delamain’s cantonments and fired them. Captain Wilson’s bungalow was completely destroyed (he previously fired Gopal’s camp which earned a promise of revenge). Infantry reinforcements were sent from Adjighur but were too slow to be useful.

Gopal withdrew to Terowah where Major Morgan’s reinforcement attacked him and drove him back to the Paldee Pass. At the same time, a detached force of Gopal’s infantry again visited the British cantonment and completed the destruction there. The British officers have lost most of their private possessions. While they were assessing their situation, Gopal visited Terowah, sacked the town and then destroyed it.

This persuaded Colonel Martindell to send a regiment of cavalry which caught up with Gopal’s band of 600 and killed 250 of them. The rest dispersed towards the Jenna Pass. Major Leslie has taken a battalion in pursuit. We have now placed three regiments in the field against the residue of Gopal’s group.

Saturday 28th April 1810

Charles Andrew Bruce arrived at Penang in March with his wife and two children to take over the Governorship. Colonel MacAllister and W E Philips form his Council. The Governors of Penang are always civil servants from Bengal Presidency. Thomas Raffles continues as Secretary to Government.

Saturday 12th May 1810

Notice, 3rd May – Government has reason to believe some Europeans are buying land outside the boundary of this Presidency. All UK nationals and others holding British citizenship and all foreigners whatsoever are forbidden to invest in land. The Company’s magistrates and Collectors are to attend closely to land transactions. A Briton may only own land under the express sanction of the Company.

Saturday 12th May 1810

Governor-in-Council Notice – Disputes have occurred between marines and sailors on the Company’s cruisers. In future sepoys (marines) will work the ship below, in hauling up and down cables, in hoisting in or out boats, water and provisions – in other words, in manning the tackle on all occasions.

They will draw and hand along water for washing the ship. They are to personally clean-out their own berths. They may wash clothes only at the times appointed for that ship. They may not be compelled to go aloft, to sweep the decks or perform menial duties.

Saturday 19th May 1810

Notice – Government is preparing to contract with the four sons of the late Nabob of Broach. Anyone having pecuniary claims on the boys should submit them before 1st August where after all rights of claim will be extinguished.

Saturday 19th May 1810

Allan Gilmore has resigned the partnership of Fairlie Gilmore & Co on 30th May. The business will continue under partners Wm Fairlie, John Hutcheson Ferguson and David Clark as Fairlie Ferguson & Co.

Saturday 23rd June 1810

The Calcutta papers have reported that Bombay has insufficient ships to carry the annual cotton crop to China. They say we are chartering Arab tonnage to get our cotton to that market.

Its completely untrue but several Calcutta ships have sailed around India expecting to find freight here. In fact we have more tonnage in harbour than can possibly be filled by our normal trade. The Calcutta ships that came here have now sailed away in ballast.

The effect of the misinformation has been to deprive Calcutta of her normal shipping capacity and caused an increase in freight rates from that port.

At least it makes the Company’s recent offer to receive and ship Indian goods for England look more reasonable at those immense freights they require. That offer has just been extended from 31st May to 31st August.

Saturday 23rd June 1810

HMS Minden, a 74-gunner, has just been launched from our new Bombay dock by Jamsetjee Bomanjee. This is the first ship-of-the-line built outside the mother-country. A few thousand spectators attended the launch. Teak is the finest ship-building timber on Earth. The frigates that we have previously built are admired by the Royal Navy. It is not just the wood; the Salsette sails are better wearing too. One Bombay-built frigate was frozen-up in the Baltic and sustained no damage. Their quality is starting to be recognised.

Saturday 23rd June 1810

Charles Metcalfe has been appointed to succeed Mercer as British Resident at Sindhia’s Court. He set out on 19th May

Saturday 23rd June 1810

The Hon George Elliot, second son of Lord Minto and Captain of HMS La Modeste, has married Eliza Cecilia Ness at Calcutta.

Saturday 30th June 1810

Trade with Amboinya is reopened and the Cape Packet and the brigs Ceres, Bee and Sally are departing from Calcutta for that destination.

Saturday 30th June 1810

A long letter from the Directors is published:

The Directors have instructed that the grain captured in the wars in Malwa on 7th September 1808 (a contributing cause of the famine) is a droit of the Company as sovereign in India and they are not inclined to depart from this general rule.

They also say they do not automatically appoint military officers to Presidential Councils – they will appoint such officers as they themselves deem suitable.

They intend that no officer will in future be promoted to staff rank unless he has an understanding of Hindi.

“We confirm that the unauthorised emoluments of army officers from a tax on goods sold in military bazaars to their soldiers are in future to be accumulated in an account for our own disposal. You estimate the annual proceeds at 60,000 Rupees. Any officer discovered taxing his soldiers will be prosecuted.”

Saturday 30th June 1810

29th June – Ardaseer Dady, doyen of the Parsee community at Bombay, died today aged 55 years.

Saturday 28th July 1810

Note – The inferiority of the Editor of Bombay Courier to the Company’s staff is illustrated in this edition. He is obliged to print a two page complaint of Charles Keys, Captain of the Bombay Marine, which has for its subject a recent book that mentions him briefly but uncomplimentarily.

Saturday 4th August 1810

The Directors have replied on 9th February 1810 to the Madras Governor’s summary of 6th September 1809 concerning the mutiny by officers in his Presidency:

A mutiny commenced 1st May 1809 amongst the officers of the Hyderabad subsidiary force. We thought the orders you issued that day would recover the situation. We were surprised that so many officers rejected your offer to pardon them and overlook their offence. The rebellion involves both King’s and Company’s officers. They seduced the soldiery to turn their arms against their employers. They have signed and submitted a seditious paper requiring you to revoke your orders of 1st May 1809. They demand the restoration of the dismissed officers and an amnesty for all.

The garrison at Masulipatam commenced this rebellion; then Seringapatam and Hyderabad joined them. The greater part of the Coast Army combined to subvert your government by force of arms.

You must take decisive measures. Remove every officer who declines to give a written undertaking to obey your orders. We applaud the general loyalty of HM forces and those of our own army who have been submissive. We particularly applaud the native troops who were not seduced by their officers. We lament the necessity of your having to rely on native troops to oppose the mutiny of their British officers. This shakes the foundation of our system of military control in India. We were glad to read in your letter of 26th July that all the dissident officers have thrown themselves on your mercy. We approve of your awaiting the arrival of the new Governor-General before awarding punishment.

Saturday 4th August 1810

Lord Melville has visited the Bombay Indiaman at East India Docks on 26th March. Its a fine Indian teak-built ship. He is promoting the use of Indian-built ships in England.

Saturday 1st September 1810

Sindhia has taken a bold step. He is poor as usual and the British Raj is not permitting him to plunder his neighbours who are under its protection. His army has not been paid for months and is in a state of rebellion.

In late July, he paraded his regular infantry and, whilst they were drawn up, he surrounded them with his cavalry, ordered the troops to ground arms and plundered every last man. The infantry in Sindhia’s army carry their valuables on their person as a precaution, so they lost everything. We do not know if his European infantry officers were shaken-down as well.

Afterwards the dissatisfied troops were turned-out of camp. He now relies solely on his highly mobile, and somewhat wealthier, cavalry.

Saturday 1st September 1810

Description of the New South Wales Colony.

Saturday 6th October 1810

Notice 1st October – Forbes & Co announce that James Kinlock resigned his partnership on 31st July. He is replaced by William Taylor Money (formerly the India Company’s Superintendent of Marine) and John Stewart. The other continuing partners are Charles Forbes, Michie Forbes and David Inglis.

Saturday 6th October 1810

The people of the island of Ternate have applied to one of H M ships for protection. Ternate and Tidore (adjacent islands in North Moluccas), the Banda Islands (Seram et al) and Java itself are the sole remaining possessions of the Dutch in eastern seas.

Saturday 6th October 1810

The Admiralty has offered to provide convoy to East India Company fleets all the way to India and back. Hitherto they have merely escorted the fleet through the Channel.

Saturday 13th October 1810

The American ships that have arrived recently in India have come with no cargo except silver. We had hoped they would bring wine and brandy in view of the local shortage but those commodities are unavailable in America due to the restricted trade she has with Mediterranean ports.

Madeira wine is selling from that island at £56 per pipe owing to the small harvest last year and great demand in London. The Company has just sold off its stock of Madeira at Bombay. The London supply sold at 470 Rupees per pipe and the country trade supply direct from the island was 435 Rupees per pipe.

Saturday 10th November 1810

On 16th November 1810 the Company will auction the lease on Breach Candy, its complex of bungalows, private apartments and outhouses, all on 30,000 Sq Yards of land. Ground rent is 150 rupees a year.

Saturday 10th November 1810

M/s Hunter, Hay & Co of Madras have admitted John Hunter’s nephew William Simpson to the partnership. 22nd October 1810.

Saturday 10th November 1810

The Regulations for the personal import of tobacco, snuff and ganga into Bombay are published. They apply to the native troops of the army.[155]

The knapsacks of all native troops entering Bombay are to be searched by an officer or one of the Customs House staff to ensure no dutiable commodities are brought in. The same restriction applies to the European soldiery and their families.

Saturday 17th November 1810

The Governor-in-Council has published an Order on 10th November 1810 to C J Briscoe, the Superintendent of Bombay Police, requiring him to cease all his commercial activities. The Governor has been ordering Briscoe to do so since March 1808 but without effect. He now offers Briscoe a choice – resign the Superintendency or resign the commerce. A decision is required before end November.

Cap 52 of the 33rd George III requires all Indian civil servants involved in the Presidential Councils, the administration of justice or the collection of revenue to forego commercial activities. The law actually specifies only officers in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa but there is a recent letter from the Directors saying it is intended to refer to all British India.

Briscoe’s clerk has received a handsome reward for overlooking a conspiracy of the tellers in the Company’s Bombay Treasury to murder their new sub-Treasurer and restore a regular stream of illicit income. They have been in the habit of taking out 10,000 – 20,000 Rupees from time to time under the previous sub-Treasurer and investing it with the Shroffs in the Bazaar. It seems they are invariably successful speculators and the money is replaced after they have profited from it. The new sub-Treasurer Osborne stopped the practice by keeping the keys to the safe in his own possession. Under the previous Treasurer any one of 10-12 men might hold the keys to the safe which usually contained about $120,000 in silver and occasionally had $500,000+.

The two Treasury Shroffs indicted on this charge were paid 10/6d a week wages but there were records in other Court pleadings of actions against them for debts of thousands of Pounds. One of the short-term loan agents in the bazaar had an account with these Shroffs showing a balance due to them of over £10,000.

The tellers conspired to murder Osborne and restore their ability to withdraw funds from the safe but the assassins they employed were incompetent and got caught. They confessed the whole thing and identified one of the native Shroffs and the Clerk of the Treasury as their principals.

Osborne was appointed in summer 1809 and one of his principal duties was to reduce costs in line with the economies pressed on the Company by the home government. He did not attempt to put an end to many of the traditional perks of the Indian staff but he reprobated their taking the Company’s money down to the bazaar for investment. This was their big earner and a whole industry of people downstream were dependent on it. They employed a hitman to kill Osborne in the expectation that whoever succeeded him would be the usual relaxed type of official.

When the assassins were caught part of their defence was that they had no motive for the crime. That led the prosecutors to enquire further and ultimately to identify Osborne’s co-workers as the Principals. The police clerk Naroon Arzoonjee endeavoured to prevent the investigation proceeding along these lines. He had been bribed to do so and, before acceptance, he took his master’s instructions on how to proceed. Thus Briscoe became involved as well.

He is Superintendent of Police and a JP. He created a conspiracy to suppress evidence and protect the Treasury clerks. Briscoe is gaoled for 12 months.[156]

Saturday 17th November 1810

Government Notice, 16th November – The Public are advised that whenever they pay money to a Company employee they should always insist on a receipt. The official receipt is issued in both English and the dialect that the payer is most conversant with. (this advertisement is in Persian and Gujerati as well as English)

Saturday 1st December 1810

R T Goodwin is appointed Superintendent of Police for Bombay, replacing the disgraced Briscoe.

Saturday 1st December 1810

Ricketts is Secretary of the Salt Department in the Board of Trade at Calcutta. There have been shortages of salt reported recently which are receiving attention. Whilst investigating these shortages, he was informed of abuses at one of the collection depots.

M/s Matthew Law (brother-in-law of Udny on the Board of Trade) and Anthony Blagrave were the Company’s officers on the spot and they inducted Ricketts into the details of the scam. Over a brief period they had diverted 45,000 maunds of salt into private hands. The Company would have sold that quantity for 110,000 Rupees.

Ricketts listened to the exposition as though he was the central government funny-money auditor come to check that the out-stations were not cheating their co-conspirators at Head Office. He did not disclose his disapproval until the exposition had been completed. Even then he did not suggest their acts warranted dismissal from Company service. He merely asked them to transfer to another department (a bit of pragmatism that the Judge seized of the subsequent prosecution publicly abhorred).

Later Law asked Ricketts to discuss the matter with his brother-in-law Udny whereupon all would be made clear to him. Ricketts agreed to do so but Udny demurred and demanded that Law not involve him. Ricketts then submitted a full report of what he knew to Udny. A prosecution of Law and Blagrave for malfeasance was then requested at Calcutta (and of the local link-man Bissonaut Sein who was actually selling the salt). They were indicted but after the first hearing Matthew Law assaulted Ricketts and demanded to fight a duel. He was convicted of assault and imprisoned for 6 months, fined 1,000 Rupees.

(the corruption case comes on next year – see 1811 for details)

Saturday 1st December 1810

House of Commons, 4th May – Creevey MP, one of the opposition liberal Whigs, has asked the ministry for information about the military rebellion in Madras last year. He says ‘our Indian empire should be founded and preserved on the affection of the people, however we have an army of 150,000 troops, mostly Indians, who have just observed a good many of their European officers rebelling against the civil authority of the Company.’

Some say Sir George Barlow (from acting Governor-General in Bengal he was transferred to Governor of Madras) had insulted the Madras army; others that the Courts in India are unjust.

Creevey noted that when the Carnatic was ceded, the Company assumed responsibility to discharge the debts of the Nabob’s family whom it had dispossessed of their lands and revenue. In consequence of this, in 1808, several English people were prosecuted for conspiracy and perjury. The Company’s government however supported the defendants and arranged three new trials in which the erstwhile accusers were prosecuted and punished with banishment from Madras. He wondered whether this earlier trouble was related to the more recent problem of military discipline.

Finally Creevey said he was informed there is a rift in the Madras Council with Sir George Barlow on one side and the party of Mr Petrie on the other.

Creevey wished to see the papers on all these matters.

Sir H Montgomery said the army rebellion originated in the oppressive measures of the civil government of Madras. He said the abuse of the Courts in India by the Company would have produced a revolution if it had been attempted in England.

R Dundas for the ministry (President of the Board of Control) said Creevey’s question was inconvenient. MPs want too many papers – it looks like a fishing expedition.

Creevey said he was shocked to learn that a group of army officers had intimidated the civil government. They had tried to replace civil rule with military rule. They must have had very strong reasons for acting thus. He wanted to know what they were.

Dundas said Barlow, the former acting Governor-General, and he (Dundas) both agreed that the civil authority should always predominate in India. A feature of the rebellion had been the call of the civil government on the native troops for their support. Barlow had a fine record of service in India. He was entirely qualified to rule Madras as he was above all the petty intrigues that had enmeshed the rest of the government of that Presidency. One of the dangerous aspects of the rebellion had been the disruption of the Company’s mails between the Presidencies.[157]

Creevey said the Madras government had taken the part of the Commissioners sent to settle the Carnatic claims. It had interfered in the selection of jurors hearing those claims. It had been biased against the capitalists (the Madras Agency Houses that operated the loans business with local rulers).

Dundas denied it. On the contrary, he noted, several people involved in the claims had been promoted. Barlow’s removal of Petrie from Council was supported by the Directors. Someone had to leave the Madras Council in order that Sir Samuel Auchmuty (the new CiC) could take a seat and appease the army officers. Barlow chose to remove Petrie.

Lord A Hamilton said Petrie’s removal appeared unjust and was the fundamental cause of the army’s rebellion.

Sir J Anstruther swore to the integrity of Barlow. He would never believe the charges of drunkenness and tyranny made against him by Madras residents.

Saturday 29th December 1810

Mr Edward Marjoribanks has arrived Calcutta on Thomas Grenville to assume the duties of a writer.

Saturday 5th January 1811

House of Commons – Prendergast MP is continuing the search for information about the Madras army rebellion. He now says he will pay for printing the requested copy papers if economy is really the sole concern of Robert Dundas.

He has moved a new subject. The export trade of India is so slow, the Company has contracted with American ship owners to partake of it, something legislatively denied to British ship owners (see the Europe and Economy chapters for better information on British use of New England shipowners to get trade into Europe).

Prendergast feared that on the return to peace the Americans would be in a position to undersell the Company in its tea and silk business. If they do not undersell, they will at least be able to sell into the existing smuggling networks and destroy the European market.

Prendergast said this opening of Asia to America was referred to in a Governor-General’s letter to the Bengal Council of 23rd August 1809 that dealt inter alia with the finances of India and he moved for production of the letter.

Dundas said there were pressing reasons why it could not be produced.

Grant said the Company did not itself encourage American trade but was obliged to cooperate in national policy.

Turton said the House was kept entirely in the dark on every aspect of the India Company’s business. Prendergast’s motion was then voted and defeated 64/24.[158]

Saturday 12th January 1811

House of Commons is continuing to debate India. It continues to consider the Company’s request for a loan. The recent nett annual profits of the Company were reported to MPs as:

1802 – 03
1803 – 04
1804 – 05
1805 – 06
1806 – 07
£ 11,427
£274,571 Cr

It is expected to have been loss-making since 1806. The Company’s accounts are routinely presented in an unintelligible manner. Both its debt and its capital have increased in the last 30 years. One MP suggested that it was not credit-worthy.

Dundas said he would answer all questions if the House would go into committee. He mentioned that a loan to increase the Company’s trading capital must produce an increase in profits. The House then voted 43/5 to go into committee. Dundas said the Company had fought several expensive commercial wars. This was not the time to consider the Charter terms. They needed money and the House of Commons should pay.

Creevey said the Company was supposed to be repaying £500,000 a year but had only paid that once and the outstanding debt on this item alone was £9 millions (since the renewed Charter of 1793).

Another MP had a letter from India saying all the credit of the Company had been destroyed.[159]

Charles Grant said all big Companies occasionally get into difficulties and the Commons should give their help as necessary.

Prendergast complained that the policies of the Indian and British governments were not aligned:

Firstly, the Company had been prepared recently to send 25,000 troops from Bombay into Persia to change the ruling dynasty of that country when, at the same time, the home government was wooing Persia to prevent its accession to a treaty with France.

Secondly, Drury’s expedition to China had irritated that government when the home government’s policy was to accommodate China.[160]

Lord Morpeth said he had no detailed accounts or reports from India but he thought the loan application should be met. The House of Commons then voted 71/10 to pay.

Saturday 2nd February 1811

Rosario de Quadros resigned from de Souza & Co of Bombay on 31st December 1810.

Saturday 2nd February 1811

The people of Benares have rioted to protest a tax on houses and shops that the Company had sought to implement. The Company says protection is not free – our reasonable tax is better than your losing everything as you did under the Mughals whenever disorder occurred. Oudit Narain, the Rajah of Benares, has advised his people to remain calm. He says the Company will not impoverish them. There is an exemption from the tax for houses of religion and more or less all Benares is a church.

The people have since returned to the city and the shops are open again. The Company should be grateful for the Rajah’s intercession.

Its own response to the disorder was to send in the army and call-up the 67th Regiment from Ghazipore in case of need.

There is an old Indian observatory at Benares which records time very accurately but is mainly used for divination.[161]

Friday 8th February 1811 Extraordinary

The Company wishes to charter an India-built ship to carry exports to London on or before 31st May. Owners are to stipulate that they can fill the ship with cargo. The ship must be registered in India or England and three-quarters of the crew must be British Indians.

The following goods are forbidden to private trade – indigo, pepper, saltpetre, raw silk, tea and nankeen cloth.[162]

The Company may require 1% of the space for stores to St Helena and will pay freight of £12 per ton in Company Bills or cash at destination. On the return voyage the Company has the option to load the ship or, failing that, the ship owner may load British manufactures on his own account but no military stores. The Company may nominate passengers who will be carried to or from London.

A fine of £500 will be levied for every passenger carried without the express approval of the Company. All the native crew must be brought back to India and a fine of 500 Rupees will be levied for each missing man. Each Indian crew member must be provided with clothing and bedding suitable for the European climate. Two independent securities for performance are required. Full list of Charterparty terms in the office of the Company’s solicitor.

Saturday 9th February 1811

Notice, 30th January – With immediate effect no servant of the Company may resign his employment and remain in India. All persons leaving the Company’s employment for whatever reason are required to leave India for Europe by the first available ship.

Saturday 9th February 1811

HCS Psyche has arrived Bombay 6th February from Basra, Bushire and Muscat with Lt Eldred Pottinger on board.

Saturday 16th February 1811

Nasserwanjee Manockjee has ceased payment. He appears to have no valuable assets whatsoever. Hormasjee Bomanjee and Pestonjee Bomanjee have nevertheless offered to pay all his creditors 25% in six months time in order to assume rights over the Estate in bankruptcy. Creditors for 1,270,106 Rupees agree whilst the owners of about 500,000 Rupees of debt disagree. The majority view is upheld.

W T Money, now with Forbes & Co, joined the two offerors as joint Trustee and declared the offer final on 15th February 1811. Amongst the creditors are two French merchants resident in Bombay – Gautier and Mercier.

Saturday 16th February 1811

C A Bruce, Governor of Penang, died of fever on 27th January. Colonel Norman Macallister the CiC is away.

Wm Edward Phillips, the No 3, has assumed the government of the island; John James Erskine is made up to No 2. W A Clubley is Acting Secretary to Government.

Saturday 23rd February 1811

The Wahhabis, who have been fighting for political power in Arabia for several years, have formed a navy and taken to the sea. One of the Company’s trading ships to Persia, the Macaulay, was attacked by 35 Wahhabi boats.

These people have captured many ships belonging to the Sultan of Muscat, who is himself a functionary of the Porte at Constantinople.

Now, whenever they can assemble in great numbers, the Wahhabis attack our ships as well. The Wahhabi sailors are armed with matchlocks. They are not dangerous unless they can get alongside when their superior crew numbers might be brought into play.

Saturday 23rd February 1811

28th January – the Bank of Bengal has appointed Wm Egerton as President of its Board. It has announced a dividend equating with nearly 9% per annum for the first six month’s trade.

Saturday 23rd February 1811

Charles Reed has introduced an action in the Supreme Court at Calcutta accusing the previous and present Governors-General (Wellesley and Minto) and numerous Council members, other high officials of the Company and three Judges of the Sudder Diwani Adawlut with oppression, tyranny and neglect of duty.

The action relates to numerous prosecutions for serious ‘offences against the person’ in the Sudder Diwani Courts that Reed believes were not properly adjudicated. The Supreme Court of India has a power of referring decisions of lower Courts to England for approval, which is what Reed wants it to do.

Reed has spent 20,000 Rupees of his own money collecting the evidence and preparing the cases for trial.

The Supreme Court Judges note there is a law that makes members of the Company’s government exempt from the jurisdiction of the Courts in all cases except felony – they cannot be indicted for misdemeanours.

The Judges also say that to qualify under the Act, the offending civil servant must have acted under the orders of government i.e. the Act restrains abusive central administration rather than abusive administration generally. There is no evidence in Reed’s pleadings of the lower court Judges having been instructed like that.

Finally it is necessary for the complainant to give security for his action whereas Reed says no-one will provide security for an action against the Company’s government for fear they will be disadvantaged in their residence in India.

The Judges categorise this last submission as slanderous. They refuse to hear the complaint unless Reed gives security. They say ‘we know there are murders and perjuries going on every day but this is not the way to remedy it’.

Saturday 2nd March 1811

The Warren Hastings, Baynes, Porcher, Providence and Ganges, all big teak-ships built in Bombay, have been sold in London for very attractive prices.

(some of the ships taking private merchants’ goods to London are sold on arrival; others are loaded for a return journey – it’s a matter of the greatest profit)

Saturday 2nd March 1811

Sir Francis Baring MP, a director and shareholder of the Company, died in September 1810.

Saturday 9th March 1811

Two years ago General Daendels, the Governor of Batavia, ordered a post road be built from that city to the north coast of the island. The engineers have since reported the discovery of a teak forest on the route.

Daendels has issued a prohibition on its export and sent word to Amsterdam that he is now enabled to build strong ships on Java.

Saturday 9th March 1811

The Christian teachers at Fort William College are proposing to proselytise the Jews.

The black Jews of India live in the interior and call themselves bene-Israeli not Jews. The Hindus also call them Israel. They are of the tribe of Israel not Judah and are descended from those tribes that were carried off in the first captivity. Many of them have never heard of the second temple or of the coming of Christ. The scripture they have is the Pentateuch, the Psalms and the book of Job. They observe the Sabbath and their religious rites are clearly Jewish.

They believe the rest of the ten tribes are still in Chaldea and suppose that some of the Afghan and Pathan races are actually Jewish. When the Muslims invaded that country, the bene-Israeli say the Jews there purported to adopt their religion, much as the Jews of Spain purported to adopt Christianity, but they incrementally lost their sacred books and, although their worship is still peculiarly Jewish, they ceased to assert any difference with their Muslim neighbours to whom they appear to have become assimilated.

The white Jews live on the coast and make their living by commerce. They are fully aware of Christianity because there are Syrian Christians living on the Indian coast too.

The prophecies suggest that the Jews are on the cusp of being restored to their spiritual birthright. We Christian missionaries are proposing to write (in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, which all understand) to all the scattered communities in Asia and provide them with bibles complete with the New Testament. We are sending Rev Frey to Cochin to talk with the white Jews there. These smaller groups should be capable of conversion.[163]

Saturday 23rd March 1811

Notice, 22nd March – The Company has over 1 million maunds of salt in storage at the works in Nellore and Tanjore. It needs shipping to carry the salt to Calcutta. Owners of country ships and Arab vessels are invited to tender for the service. The Company will deliver the salt to the ship at 24 Arcot Rupees per 20 maunds and will receive it back at Calcutta for 72 (sic) Sicca Rupees per 100 Bengal maunds.

Saturday 23rd March 1811

Notice, 22nd March – Peter Puget, the Commissioner for the Royal Navy at Madras, has appointed Forbes & Co to be Bombay agents for the Estate of the late Admiral William O’Bryen Drury who has unexpectedly died at Madras.

All creditors and debtors of the Admiral are to submit their accounts.

Saturday 30th March 1811

Bombay Government Notice, 27th March – The Company is determined to enforce the law that prevents any British citizen from residing more than 10 miles from his Presidency without a written licence. You have been warned.

Saturday 30th March 1811

Bombay General Orders, 18th March:

Article 35 of the Regulations for Military Expenditure allow Commanding Officers to sanction payments of public money in emergencies (they draw on the land tax due from the natives to fund their troops).

This Regulation is intended to provide a source of funds for extraordinary field service. It should be used only in war or time of civil unrest. Unless there is a genuine emergency, all money requirements of the army will in future be authorised by the Governor-in-Council.

Saturday 30th March 1811

H M’s 78th Regiment has finished its tour of duty as the British garrison and auxiliary force at Goa. It has been there for over four years.

The Portuguese Viceroy, on behalf of the Prince Regent in Rio de Janeiro, thanks Colonel Adams and his men for their help.

Saturday 30th March 1811

Alexander Seton, the Company’s Resident at Delhi, is posted to Penang to take-up Bruce’s job of Governor. Metcalfe replaces him at Delhi.

Saturday 6th April 1811

A representative of the British Judge Advocate General has been in India for seven years investigating supposed abuses. This case is one of his:

Henry Pitts Forster, an employee of thirty years and the Company’s Mint Master, receives that part of the Company’s gold, silver and copper that it requires to be made into coin. He is supposed to send all coin minted each day to the Treasury but he usually stores it at the Mint until the Company has need of it.

Part of the Mint-Master’s job is to distinguish the coin he mints on behalf of private suppliers of bullion from the coin he mints for the Company. The two sources of bullion are mingled and no-one can readily say who owns what. He says he remits to private customers first as they are more insistent.

This has facilitated a profitable sideline – brand new Rupees from the Mint-Master’s stock are available to the most opulent Indian Shroffs for investment. These Shroffs may or may not be the Mint’s customers for minting services. They invest the coin as they like and share the interest with Forster until the Company’s Treasury requests for delivery of its coin.

The quantity of all bullion going in and coin coming out of the mint is attested by a pass signed by the Mint Master. It was necessary for Forster to sign the passes to send new-minted coin passed the gate sentry to his associate Shroffs in the bazaar. Previous to February 1808 all such passes were from time to time routinely destroyed by Forster as an administrative procedure and no record of his transactions before that date remains. In February 1808 Forster became unwell and left the Mint to convalesce. In his absence his deputy discovered the transport of new coins to the bazaar Shroffs and the matter thus became public.

Forster was charged at Calcutta with three counts of providing 10,000 Rupees to named Indian bankers. Forster says he has not stolen anything – all the silver he received has been returned and is fully accounted. The Company’s complaint, if any, is merely that he kept the bullion longer than necessary – its hardly a crime. It is precisely the defence of Lord Melville – using public money for private investment is blameless if the Treasury has no immediate use for it.[164]

In 1778 the King’s Minister (this is not Melville’s case which occurred later) was dismissed from office with a balance of £450,000 due from him which he had borrowed from public funds. The Minister asserted his right to use the funds. He said it was a matter of indifference to the public whether the money was in this bank or that bank so long as it was available when required. Numerous other ministers in control of public money have asserted the same opinion – Earl of Lincoln, Lord Holland, Charles Townshend et al – and none of them were criticised because it was not considered an indictable offence. In all those cases, the ministerial perk was to draw a bit more money from the Treasury than was requisite and apply the excess to personal investments – everyone did it.

The Calcutta Court accepts that was the custom in England at that time. Then Burke introduced a Bill to regulate the accumulation of balances of public money in ministerial hands. In 1785 it was enacted that all balances held by the Treasurer of the Navy should be kept in the Bank of England. There was no attempt to make the collection criminal. The decision of the House subsequently was that ministers should account for the interest from public funds in their care subsequent to their resignation but not before. That was the law when Lord Melville was impeached and the Judges in his case decided in consequence that his use of public funds was not a misdemeanour.

Forster has adduced all this before the Calcutta Court to establish that his own acts were not criminal. He then referred to the second aspect of the charges – that he had wilfully breached a duty of trust owed to the Company. Forster’s duty was to produce coin to the Company when required. The mint was designed as a safe place to store coin until needed and the Company was itself agreeable to storing it there under Forster’s care. The public stored it there (the Company permits private holders of bullion to mint coins for a fee). Nothing had been lost.

The Chief Justice directed the Jury to find Forster guilty. They however found him guilty of a notional breach of trust but not with intention to defraud. It is effectively a verdict of ‘not guilty’ and a second charge was then withdrawn.

Forster told the Court that he was a diligent Mint Master. He reduced the amount that his predecessors had charged the Company for ‘loss on melting’ (the common goldsmith’s fraud). Since his replacement the Company has increased this allowance to the new comer. He says this revealed his basic integrity.

The Company, through its former Mint Master, had published rates for refining which Forster protested as non-commercial but was over-ruled. Only one member of the public accepted the Company’s rates. “It was after I had achieved a saving of 5 million Rupees that the Company was convinced its rates were commercially unacceptable. Had I remained silent I might have put this immense sum in my own pocket,” he noted. Finally Forster says he was not a principal in the transactions – “I did not give the coins to the Shroffs to invest; they applied to me for loans and signed receipts. They remained responsible to refund the coins. And they were members of the most opulent House of native bankers in India.” Forster was then fined 100 Rupees and gaoled for 6 months on the breach of trust.

Saturday 20th April 1811

The Editor laments that it has been seven months since the Company last allowed London newspapers to be sent out. All he gets is the odds & ends from the Americans and the Persian Gulf traders.

Saturday 4th May 1811

The Burmese Empire is in revolution. Great bands of insurrectionists have control of all the upper provinces and are moving south towards Pegu and Rangoon.

The majority of the people of Rangoon have adjourned to the surrounding jungle as is their usual response to military incursions and social instability.

Bassein has been totally destroyed by fire.

Saturday 11th May 1811

H M’s 56th Regiment has appointed M/s Greenwood Cox & Co as its Agents. It is offering Army Bills to a face value of £1,196 on the Agents in return for some cash. Offers to the regimental headquarters before 30th May.

Saturday 25th May 1811

Notice, tri-lingual – The tidal channel opposite Tannah to the north of Bombay has been made navigable and the Company is providing pilots but boats are not using the new route. We understand the public is concerned that they will have to pay anchorage and other fees at each of the Company’s Customs Houses on Salsette along the route from Tannah to here should the tide oblige them to stop.

The Company is pleased to advise that the Customs Master of Salsette has been prohibited from levying any fees on boats using this channel, whichever direction they are travelling.

Boat masters are advised only to ensure they always anchor on the Salsette side of the channel. Should they anchor on the other side, they may become liable to pay whatever fees may be requested by the Maratha government which is sovereign on that shore.

Saturday 25th May 1811

Calcutta news, 26th April – Mr Fry Magniac has been appointed Assistant to the Hoogly Magistrate.[165]

Saturday 25th May 1811

The Peshwa has requested Sindhia and Holkar to unite their forces against the Pindaris. The two great Maratha chiefs have been squabbling between themselves. He says he will confiscate the possessions of both of them in the Deccan if they cannot administer their lands properly.

As a result 5 battalions have been sent under Juggoo Babu to deal with the Pindari brigands.

Saturday 25th May 1811

The price of land in Calcutta is greater than London. A lot at the Loll Deeland near Larkins Lane belonging to Mr Leicester and measuring 3¼ cottahs (c. 2,340 sq ft) was sold on 3rd May by M/s Williams & Hohler for 4,500 Rupees. It equates with £10,000 an acre. That well illustrates the value attached to land in Calcutta.

Saturday 25th May 1811

Black Town at Madras is the residential area of native Indians and other non-whites. The British live either in the fort or to the south of Madras which is more expensive, although the occasional cadet is obliged to briefly live in Black Town after arrival until he accumulates sufficient funds to move away.

Saturday 1st June 1811

In late April HMS Modeste (Elliot) took the Governor-General Minto from Madras to the eastward. Strangely, he did not go direct from Calcutta – it must be a secret. His destination and purpose have not been disclosed (its the conquest of Java). Capt Elliot of HMS Modeste is Minto’s relative.[166]

Saturday 29th June 1811

M/s Bruce Fawcett & Co have admitted Robert Edward Stephenson as a partner wef 28th June 1811.

Saturday 29th June 1811

Notice, Bombay Castle 26th June – Lt W P Kempe, the Deputy Commissary of Bazaars with the Poona Subsidiary Force in the Deccan, has been arrested for impropriety (the Commissary buys provisions etc., in the bazaar for the troops). He is appointed Fort Adjutant at Broach pending his trial.[167]

Saturday 13th July 1811

The Governor-General landed from HMS Modeste (Elliot) at Penang on 9th May and left for Malacca on 21st May.

He swore-in Archibald Seton as Governor of Penang whilst there but Seton is accompanying him to Malacca and William Edward Phillips was appointed to administer Penang in Seton’s absence. W A Clubley is acting Secretary to the Penang Government. Raffles has left with Minto to act as his Secretary.

A fleet of transports carrying a large military expedition from Madras left Penang on 28th May for Malacca. Minto and his party arrived Malacca on 19th June. There is no formal explanation why the short voyage took so long. The expedition is scheduled to sail from Malacca on 10th July.

Saturday 13th July 1811

The Princess of Wales arrived Penang on 11th July from Amboinya. She reports that provisions are almost unobtainable in the Spice Islands and trade is at a standstill. The Dutch prisoners from Ternate and Banda have been sent to Java on the Nadir Shah. The stock of spices from the captured Dutch islands has been loaded on the Piedmontaise and Procris and is coming to Penang.

Saturday 20th July 1811

Our expedition against Java is assembling at Malacca. It consists of 90 ships of which the British government has contributed 2 capital ships, 9 frigates and 5 sloops.

The Dutch are preparing to defend Brietenzong, a port several miles from Batavia, where they have assembled all their cannon and ammunition, 12,000 native infantry and their military stores. This act of General Daendels, the Francophile Dutch Governor, has left Batavia itself without protection. We believe that most of the Batavian merchants within the city are in favour of a British occupation. The Bantamese are assisting us and have taken advantage of Daendels’ weakness within Batavia to revolt.

The same concentration of materiel as at Brietenzong has also occurred at Surabaya but we suppose this is to send the stores off to Europe in the event the Dutch lose the government of Java.

On 2nd April the British squadron took or destroyed ten ships in Batavia Roads. Our naval commanders have learned that when an invasion is imminent, it is the rich who remove their property first and it is consequently more rewarding to take prizes before an invasion rather than during or after.

Saturday 20th July 1811

Sir James Mackintosh, the Recorder of Bombay, is preparing to return to England. He has reported to government on the adequacy of laws and found two areas which he thinks are in need of new legislation:

  • There is no bankruptcy law at Bombay to ensure a fair distribution of a bankrupt’s assets to creditors. As a result every mercantile failure produces a scramble for assets and a few recover all whilst the majority lose all. The local Agency Houses, with their networks of suppliers and buyers know the capacity of local companies long before the Trustees of some W&O fund in London. When a British Indian bank is seen to have over-speculated in indigo or opium or whatever, the local capitalists are the first to withdraw their investments, never for a moment hinting at the real reason for their withdrawal. The withdrawals of themselves help to fulfil those creditors’ expectations.
    Some merchants are agreeable to better clarity on this subject of bankruptcy. We have seen some recent failures in which the debtor’s estate is passed to Trustees to run-off and an equal distribution achieved. A similar development occurred in London after the recent spate of business failures there. The potential defect in this voluntary system is the absence of penalties for the concealment of assets. Everything depends on the integrity and vigilance of Trustees.
  • The second defect that Mackintosh mentions relates to the voluntary judicial abandonment of capital sentences. “Since I arrived in 1804 no man has been judicially killed. The population subject to the jurisdiction of the Bombay Court exceeds 200,000. Our Court records in Bombay commence in 1756. In the first seven years of British administration we executed 47 convicts out of 141 people convicted of capital crimes. In the last 7 years we have convicted 109 people of capital offences (including 8 murders) with no executions. The interesting thing is that 200,000+ people have been governed for seven years without our resorting to executions for their control and without any statistical increase in violent crime.”[168]

Saturday 20th July 1811

Supreme Court Calcutta, 20th June 1811 – Law, the superintendent of a salt depot, Blagrave, his 2iC, and some local workers are charged over their private sale of salt, which is a government monopoly. (see the earlier 1810 report for an introduction to this)

The salt monopoly produces 10 million Rupees (c. £1.2 millions) in nett revenue to the Company annually. This is the sum that the Company expects in its accounting and any shortfall has to be covered from other revenue. The Company protects its salt revenue by operation of a complex and extensive paper system which is compiled from records maintained by several people independently. It records every movement of salt from the collection in the evaporation pans to the sales to buyers. All these records should more or less tally with each other when audited. Many of the record-keepers are Indian whilst 4-5 at the involved depot were English. As the administration of salt movements was so detailed, any fraud required the conspirators to amend a great number of relevant records. The document that these defendants were unaware of and consequently overlooked was the load records of individual coolies delivering salt to / from the yard, all of which were individually weighed in and out. With this exception, the administrative system at the salt pans was duplicated by the conspirators and a second set of books fabricated to conceal their depredations.

The defendants have said that the salt they were caught selling privately was in fact not Company salt at all but some other salt, ‘surplus salt’ as they call it, for which the Company had no use.

The prosecution relies on the records of the Head Coolie, who maintained the paper record which the conspirators overlooked. These individual load records show deliveries in and out of the depot were double the amounts recorded in the spurious set of books. Superintendent Law confessed as much to Ricketts when that officer visited to audit. Between 1st July 1808 – 24th October 1809, the Head Coolie and his men delivered 1,135,693 maunds of salt into the depot. He was supposed to be paid by the maund but was not paid for the maunds he delivered which were not recorded in the second set of books (the likely cause of discontent that may have led to Rickett’s enquiry in the first place). The balance was taken off in boats and smuggled ashore elsewhere.

At this point the Judge stopped the hearing, saying the charges were inappropriate and others should be substituted. Blagrave was discharged and the other defendants committed for retrial.

Monday 22nd July 1811 Extraordinary

R Dundas has mentioned in the House of Commons, in answer to a question, that the Company may soon give notice of its voluntary surrender of its exclusive privileges in the East.

Saturday 27th July 1811

A new Commission of Government is published with effect from the date of its receipt in Bombay in 1811:

Jonathan Duncan is President and Governor of Bombay; John Abercromby is CiC Bombay and has a seat on Council as second member, unless CiC Calcutta is in town in which case he retains his seat but loses his vote to the senior officer. George Brown (3rd member, replacing Thomas Lechmere) and John Elphinstone (4th member replacing Robert Rickards) complete the Council.

The Governor has some (unspecified) personal powers and the council has the residue of powers. Its decisions must reflect a majority opinion.[169]

Saturday 27th July 1811

Private James Estelow of the Bombay Artillery has been convicted of murdering a coolie and was publicly hanged on the esplanade on 20th July.

It is the first judicial execution of a European in Bombay for 25 years and the first hanging for over 7 years. The garrison turned-out under arms and a large concourse of native residents assembled to observe his death.

Saturday 27th July 1811

General Barry Close, ex-Resident at Poona, and Thomas Sydenham, ex-Resident at Hyderabad, have returned together to London to brief the Company Directors and the Board of Control on the causes of the recent military rebellion by the Madras army.

Sydenham had a private meeting with Bosanquet, the Company Chairman, on 27th February. They then both had a meeting with Robert Dundas at about the same time.

Sunday 11th August 1811 Extraordinary

Governor Jonathan Duncan died this morning. He was 56 years old and has been Bombay Governor for over 15 years. He arrived in India in 1772 as a Writer aged 17 years. He was made Governor of Benares in 1786 and Governor of Bombay in December 1795. He never married. Charles Forbes is granted Probate of his Estate and is one of the Executors.

Wednesday 14th August 1811 Extraordinary

George Brown, the senior civil officer in the Presidency, is appointed acting Governor of Bombay in accordance with the legal provisions for succession of Governors.

Saturday 17th August 1811

Lt John Matheson has bought a captaincy in H M’s 78th regiment

Saturday 24th August 1811

Matthew Law and the native officer involved in the salt corruption case have been arraigned before Sir John Royds, the new Chief Justice.

He asked if there was any charge against them. The clerk said there was not. He then discharged them by Proclamation.

Saturday 31st August 1811

Notice, 27th August – The four English Trustees of the Estate of the great Parsee businessman Ardaseer Dady are paying a 1st Dividend of 30% to his creditors. Some adjacent advertisements reveal his ships and landed estates have not yet been sold – they are to be disposed of at auction.

Saturday 31st August 1811

Notice – Complimentary or ceremonial visits to the acting Governor may be made between 11 – 12 am each Wednesday or Thursday. Business enquiries should be made at the same time on the other working days.

Saturday 31st August 1811

The acting Governor is trying to reduce the costs of purchasing which have become far greater than is customary. He has created a Commissary General and appointed Major William Cowper of the Engineers to command it.

All people involved in purchasing at divisions and stations will transfer to Cowper’s new department. Agents for military supplies, the garrison storekeeper, the Commissary for grain and cattle in the Deccan, the Agent for supply of forage in Gujerat and officers acting as storekeepers at out-stations are all to put themselves under Cowper.

The acting Governor expects officers appointed to the new department to display the highest integrity.

Saturday 31st August 1811

Chittagong, late July – A warlord named Quoi Butreeng has arisen in Arakan and wrested possession of that state from the Burmese King whose country is still in anarchy. Quoi has some 10,000 men under his command. The Burmese are quite decisive people but not as skilled in military arts as we are. Nevertheless, we expect the King to attempt to recover his lost province.

Saturday 14th September 1811

Prime Minister Perceval has commended the Prince of Wales to appoint General Charles Craufurd to be Governor of the Company’s Military College at Marlow. The Prince of Wales said Craufurd has a pension of £1,200 a year on his own life and that of his wife the Duchess; he has the income from a regiment of Dragoon Guards and he is Lieutenant Governor of Tynemouth. These three sources give Craufurd $3,000 a year and the Prince of Wales indicated he would prefer to appoint a more needy officer.

Perceval said Craufurd’s son-in-law, the Duke of Newcastle, is pressing for the appointment and he is the owner of several seats in parliament that are essential to the ministry’s majority.

The Prince of Wales said the maintenance of the ministry was a separate matter. The Governorship of the Military College is supposed to be a reward for conspicuous military services not political services. He required Perceval to undertake never to solicit appointments on unconstitutional grounds.

Strangely, the conversation, which was between the two men alone and not witnessed by any third person, appeared in the government’s newspaper the Morning Chronicle the next day. The Editor said he got it from the new 21 year old Duke of Newcastle but everyone believes it was Perceval’s leak, indeed the Editor of the London Courier has been so bold as to publish a leader categorising the attribution to the Duke as fiction.

Saturday 12th October 1811

James Peter Fearon has been appointed Sheriff of Bombay.

Saturday 12th October 1811

Lt General Sir Samuel Auchmuty has captured Batavia. He landed unopposed about 12 miles from the city and was marching to the place where the FrancoDutch force awaited him, when the garrison of Batavian ran away and the merchants came out and offered the city to him.

Batavia was well provisioned which facilitated supplying our army. It is well located for communications with our fleet.

An inspection of the enemy’s positions at Cornelis revealed they were well dug-in. Auchmuty decided to take the enemy army by assault, which took place on 26th August. The loss of Batavia had already demoralised the enemy troops, who were mostly natives with families there. They had little appetite for the bayonet but could not escape the discipline enforced on them by their own officers. The carnage produced by our assault was immense and another 5,000 (out of 10,000 total) were taken prisoner. General Janssens, commanding the enemy, escaped with some cavalry but left instructions to submit to and obey the British. (He was later captured near Semarang.)

The Malay chiefs of Java remained uncommitted throughout until our victory was certain. After the battle, they uniformly came over to our side.

General Janssens left towards the east and Auchmuty has set out for Surabaya.

Monday 14th October 1811 Extraordinary

Details of the Java victory

Saturday 19th October 1811

The Company has appointed Sir James Mackintosh as Governor of Bombay.

A dinner for 120 people was held in honour of his appointment at Bombay. It coincided with receipt of news of the fall of Batavia. Mackintosh said Bombay is the greatest British naval arsenal outside of England.

A similar entertainment was given to Sir Charles Forbes who is leaving for London. General Malcolm was in the Chair. He said everyone who did business with Forbes made money. He is a fine representative of the British merchant.

A third entertainment was given to Robert Rickards at which Malcolm was again Chairman (all the attendees were almost exactly the same people at each of the three dinners). Malcolm said Rickards has been in India for 26 years. The power he wielded was comparable to a King. It requires a special kind of man to discipline himself to the use of such extensive power and Rickards is that man. He is in every respect a gentleman. Rickards is leaving India on retirement from the Company’s service.

Saturday 19th October 1811

The Company has progressed its deliberations concerning the mutinous officers of the Madras Army, as identified in the Secret Committee’s letter of 13th May 1809 to the Directors. They believe Major Boles and the Adjutant General should not have been suspended from duty. “When we previously said we agreed, we were relying on the advice of Barlow and Gowdie. You suspended Boles because he circulated an official letter from Lt General MacDowell of January 1809 which contained what you say is ‘an illegal order’. MacDowell was the Quarter-Master General of the Indian army at Madras. He is to be court-martialled in respect of that order.”

We agree there may be times when a junior officer should disobey the orders of a superior officer but this was not one of them. In this case Boles could not have known all the factors in MacDowell’s mind that underlay his order – he had no choice but to obey. It was not an order given in the course of battle, for example, when both officers might have precisely the same data to work on.

Subsequent to your suspension of Boles he became a rallying point for dissent in the Madras Army. His attempts to politicise the officers and form a group of them to dispute with the civil government are reprehensible. He offered those officers an indemnity for their acts.

It may be arguable that the acts of the Madras Government were unreasonable but Boles’ way of dissent was unacceptable. His correct course was to bring the grievance to the notice of the Directors. The Address made to Boles by the other officers and the subscription they commenced for funds to finance his cause are not offences that can properly be attached to Boles; they were the work of others. Boles later wrote to us and his comments about the CiC Gowdie and Governor-General Minto were unacceptable.

Our decision is to end his suspension but to not allow his return to India until we are ready to permit it.

The cases against Lt Colonels Arthur Sentleger, Bell and Martin, against Major de Morgan and against Captains Marshall & Grant are all still under our consideration.[170]

Saturday 26th October 1811

The Abercromby was launched at Bombay last Saturday. She is built of teak which is now being recognised as more durable than oak. Charles Forbes named her. She is 1,283 tons and was built in 10 months by Jamsetjee Bomanjee, the famous Bombay master-builder who built the first ship-of-the-line ever built for the Royal Navy outside England.

Immediately after the Abercromby was floated off the dock, the keel of a new 74-gun ship-of-the-line was laid down. She will be called Cornwallis.

Saturday 26th October 1811

The Bombay Courier has a section in which poetic memorials of famous men and battles are published. This edition has an epic about the conquest of Batavia. It is accompanied by a guide to the approved style of writing poetry.

Saturday 2nd November 1811

27th May 1811 – The House of Commons has been debating the East India Commissioners Bill – a Bill to increase the salaries of Board of Control officials.

Creevey recalled that when Pitt set-up the Board of Control, he said it was to be operated by men who already held a salaried office but were not busy. The intention was to make Board supervision as inexpensive to the Company as possible.[171] Then Melville got hold of the Presidency and demanded £5,000 a year – £2,000 for the President and £1,500 for each of the two Commissioners.

These Commissioners have since done nothing at all for their money, Creevey said. They have sent in clerks to handle their paperwork and those clerks get salaries from government. Effectively the Board is operated by its President alone.

Now Robert Dundas, who obtained the Presidency from his Dad, has come cap-in-hand for an increased salary. As President of the Board he gets £2,000 a year; as Keeper of the Signet in Scotland (a sinecure) he gets another £2,000 a year. His father, Lord Melville, gets a £2,000 pension from Britain; a £1,500 pension from the Company, and a sinecure in the Scottish Courts worth £3,500. There is also a house that young Dundas set his heart on, which the country brought for him and is now known as ‘the Official Residence of the President of the Board of Control’. This family is getting £11,000 a year in cash, a huge free house, and Dundas wants more!

Creevey thought MPs should recall the straitened circumstances of the Dundas family when they first appeared in parliament twenty odd years ago.

Perceval, Castlereagh and Lushington were not persuaded. They approved the salary increase which was then voted without a division.

Saturday 9th November 1811

Sir James Mackintosh, Robert Rickards and Charles Forbes all left Bombay last Saturday for London on the Caroline. Before he left Forbes donated 100,000 Rupees to a variety of local charities. He has resided here for 22 years. The Parsee merchants and a group of Shroffs and Banyans have given him a service of plate engraved with his family crest and worth 1,500 guineas.

Before Forbes left, Hormusjee Bomanjee, doyen of the Parsees, gave a dinner for him and some 50 guests at Lowjee Castle, the opulent residence of that Parsee family. Jamsetjee Bomanjee and Pestonjee Bomanjee attended with their families. Macklin was Chairman of the dinner and he lauded the acumen of both British and Parsee merchants. Numerous toasts were drunk, the first being to John Forbes, the founder of Forbes & Co of Bombay.

Colonel Forbes of H M’s 80th Regiment is also returning to England. He is based at Tellicherry where the Caroline will first stop.

Saturday 16th November 1811

Raffles of the Penang Presidency has been appointed Governor of Java and Colonel Gillespie is appointed CiC British forces. A body of marines from HMS Drake has captured the island of Madura.

The wording of the FrancoDutch capitulation is unique in characterising the people of Amboinya as British subjects since the British conquest of that island. This characterisation is not extended to any of the other occupied Dutch islands.[172]

The conquest of Java removes French influence from the East Indies. It was removed from West Indies a couple of years ago. The world outside Europe is ours.

Saturday 23rd November 1811

Notice – Orpiment, hurtaul (yellow orpiment) and arsenic has been shipped on trial basis to London by private Bombay merchants. They have packed the chemicals in bags which were stowed near edible commodities and caused contamination.

All poisons are in future to be carried aft of the magazine bulkhead and isolated from the rest of the cargo. They must be packed in boxes with a gunny covering. The boxes are to be lined inside with a piece of coarse cloth soaked in dammer and oil to prevent leakage through the wooden seams. All poisonous shipments are to have the name of the contents marked prominently on the outside packaging.

Saturday 30th November 1811

Calcutta, 1st November – The shipwright Blackmore has launched a fine 430-ton ship from his yard in Clive Street. She is the Claudine and will be eminently suitable for the West Indian trade. She is built on the same basic plan as the Frances and Margaret, which were built in Bombay 18 months ago. Her first commander will be John Williams.

Kydd & Co also launched a 600+ ton ship at their yard in Kidderpore. She is the Maitland. Her design is approved by most of the shipping people and if she can be traded to London she will sell at a good price. The owners have applied to the Company for a licence to send her to London in lieu of the Henchman that was recently burned at Malacca. She will be commanded by Stevens.

We have learned to distinguish which tropical hardwoods are best for varying needs of our ships and testing in Europe has convinced opinion-formers there.

Editor – Here in Bombay, we have built a ship-of-the-line and four frigates for the Royal Navy and we are just laying down the keel of another capital ship.

Saturday 7th December 1811

TJC Plowden is appointed Superintendent of the Western Salt Pans. HC Plowden is also serving at Calcutta.

Saturday 7th December 1811

Calcutta, 12th November – John Palmer led a delegation of merchants to the residence of Lt General Hewitt, the officer administering India in Minto’s absence at Java. He is returning to London. They thanked him for his administration and offered to have a portrait painted of him. The delegation comprised representatives of :

Palmer & Co, Downie Cruttenden & Co, Alexander & Co, Colvins Bazett & Co, Fairlie Ferguson & Co, Hogue David Robertson & Co, Joseph Barretto & Co, Johannes Sarkie & Co, Mackintosh Fulton & McClintoch, James Scott & Co, James McTaggart & Co.

Saturday 14th December 1811

Theodore Forbes is appointed the Company’s Commercial Agent at Mocha.

Saturday 14th December 1811

Minto returned to Calcutta from Java on HMS Modeste (Elliot) on 18th November.

Saturday 14th December 1811

The celebrated Maratha chief Jeswant Rao Holkar died on 27th October 1811

Saturday 21st December 1811

Sir William Bligh’s case against Lt Colonel George Johnstone has succeeded. Bligh said he was appointed Governor of New South Wales and arrived there in 1806 finding the Colony distressed by a flood of the River Derwent and by the excessive use of spiritous liquors by the populace, particularly by the garrison.

McArthur, a former officer of the 102nd Regiment that comprised the garrison, was the principal liquor merchant of the Colony. He complained to Bligh that he had been maliciously prosecuted for sedition by the Judge Advocate of New South Wales. The officials of the Criminal Court were six officers of his former Regiment and they supported McArthur and declined to co-operate with the Judge Advocate.

Bligh concluded that a miscarriage of justice had occurred and referred the case to the colonial magistrates for consideration. As a result he elected to prosecute the six officers for treason. On 26th January, before this new prosecution could be instituted, Lt Colonel Johnstone at the head of his entire Regiment, arrived outside the Governor’s House, surrounded it and entered to search for Governor Bligh. After 90 minutes they found him under a servant’s bed on the top floor. Bligh was then confined for a year under a guard of six soldiers but eventually managed to escape to his ship Porpoise and sail away. He did not return until McQuarry, the British Government’s representative, arrived at New South Wales with instructions from London to reinstate Bligh.

Johnstone denied that his Regiment controlled the market for spiritous liquor. Johnstone’s defence was that Bligh had acted like a tyrant. He had confiscated houses and lands and subverted the acts of the Court, specifically by re-trying McArthur after his acquittal by his ex-fellow officers. He said when Bligh sought to use the magistrates to oppose the Judge Advocate of the Criminal Court, the people spontaneously arose in protest, considering the Criminal Court as their only protection against the arbitrary acts of Bligh. Johnstone then came into Sydney and was assailed by McArthur, who led most of the populace with a demand he arrest Bligh or they would take the law into their own hands. He then arrested Bligh to preserve the peace.

The decision of the Court Martial is that Johnstone was guilty of mutiny. He is sentenced to be cashiered. The sentence and papers have been sent to the Prince Regent for ratification.

Bligh thinks cashiering is too light a sentence.

Saturday 4th January 1812

Cotton Bowerbank Dent is appointed paymaster at Vellore.

Saturday 4th January 1812

Minto has appointed the provisional government of Java:

Raffles is Governor; Hope is Deputy Governor, Colonel Gillespie is CiC.

Saturday 18th January 1812

Notice – the Estate of Mallar on Salsette consisting of 7 villages is to be sold in one lot at auction by the Trustees of the Estate of Ardaseer Dady.

Saturday 18th January 1812

Lt Henry Pottinger of the Pioneers has arrived in Bombay.

Saturday 1st February 1812

Advertisement, 1st February – M/s Baxter Ferrer & Co have received their China investment from the returning fleet and are pleased to offer all sorts of tea in chests, half-chests and 10 catty boxes (c. 13 lbs).

We also have Chinese sugar candy, many colours of crepe and velvet cloth, sarsnet (a type of Chinese satin that was popular at this time) and tortoise-shell combs.

Saturday 8th February 1812

Lt General Sir George Nugent became CiC India on 14th January.

Saturday 29th February 1812

Notice from Malabar, 10th February – 188 Candies of 1st Class Mysore sandalwood and 197 Candies of the 2nd Class (the Malabar Candy is c. 640 lbs) are for sale by auction at Tellicherry, the property of Shakajee Rao.

Terms – 15% deposit on successful bid and 5 days to remove the wood.

Saturday 7th March 1812

The Company’s army has introduced a new concept – a unit of sharp shooters, deployed to pick-off officers from the enemy’s ranks and disrupt their chain of command. They were first used on 22nd – 24th February at Noanugger against an Arab force acting for the Jam Rajah, the chieftain of Noanugger, whom we have attacked for his ‘refractoriness’.

The sharp-shooters, who are from the 1st battalion of 7th Regiment under the command of Major Burr and Captain Hogg, were extremely active. They were deployed within half musket shot of the walls but only one of their Company was wounded.[173]

Saturday 7th March 1812

John Palmer v Hope Insurance Company – Palmer runs the biggest Agency House in Calcutta. Hope Insurance is a company of English investors in India led by John Hayes. On 12th March 1811 Palmer bought a hull policy on the Thomas Henchman from the Defendants. The Sum Insured was 80,000 Rupees and premium was 5%.

He chartered the ship to the Company as a transport to take some of the expedition troops to Java. On 24th May at Malacca she was totally burnt and Palmer claimed under his policy. The insurers said the fire was caused by a cargo of gunpowder and they had excepted themselves from risks associated with gunpowder cargoes.

Palmer says the fire broke out in the fore hold whilst the gunpowder was in the aft hold. The fore part of the ship burned for ten hours before spreading to the gunpowder and causing the ship to explode. Thus the ship was bound to have been damaged beyond economical repair whether it carried a gunpowder cargo or not.

George Nicholls, captain of Thomas Henchman, said the Company had loaded 65 barrels of gunpowder and 130 boxes of fixed ammunition into the after hold. He arranged for extinguishing the fire in the fore hold and concurrently ordered the Chief Officer to throw the gunpowder overboard. The CO went to the after hold but was unable to dispose of the cargo as instructed as he found the ship under-deck was full of smoke. At midnight Nicholls order ‘abandon ship’ and she exploded at 9 am the next morning.

The Court found for the Defendant insurers.

Tuesday 10th March 1812 Extraordinary

Calcutta, 11th February – Governor-General Minto has congratulated the native Bengal troops involved in the conquest of Batavia. They have rarely faced European regiments before and they share equally with Europeans in the honour of the battles.

A medal is being struck to reward their conspicuous bravery.

Saturday 14th March 1812

A British expedition was fitted-out at Batavia and sailed for the reduction of Palembang but returned without effecting its object. Palembang is in southern Sumatra and a fine source of timber.

The Sultan of Palembang refused permission to the British troops to land. He says he does not allow Europeans in his lands. He also owns the tin mining island of Banca.

Saturday 14th March 1812

The Atalanta has arrived at Calcutta 20th February from Philadelphia and Rio de Janeiro with a valuable cargo of specie and Madeira wine. She left America on 5th June.

Saturday 14th March 1812

Sir Richard Keats has been appointed Admiral on the India station. The job was first offered to but declined by Sir Richard Strachan and Sir Samuel Hood. (A couple of weeks later it is Sir Samuel Hood who is said to have been appointed.)

Saturday 18th April 1812

Advertisement 1st April – M/s Forbes & Co are offering life assurance. Ask at the office for particulars.

Saturday 2nd May 1812

The Sultan of Palembang has sent an Embassy to Raffles in Batavia. We recently sought to occupy his lands in southern Sumatra but were not welcome – he said Europeans are not allowed to land, it is a Muslim place.

It now turns-out that there was a Dutch community concealed there whom the Sultan was protecting. After our departure, they requested to be allowed to go to Java and boats were provided but they encountered a fleet of pirates on the way (piracy is again out of control on the Java coast due to the change of sovereignty at Batavia) and the whole community was massacred.

These pirates have amassed a fleet of ninety boats of varying sizes and armaments. They patrol the coast of Java. They have already taken two merchant ships. Their bases are on islands – Jombol, Banca, Lingen, Rhio and Sambac – and they operate a commercial form of piracy by agreement with the rulers of several nearby ports who permit their disposal of captured ships and cargoes.

We have only four warships for the protection of Java and most of the crews are sick but Raffles is organising a military response to the pirates.

Our future policy towards Palembang is not disclosed.

Saturday 16th May 1812

The Company has funded the study of Oriental languages at Hertford College but a good many of the students have recently become refractory. A deputation of Directors visited the school and suspended forty students who are thought to be the ring-leaders. All the others were sent home and no delayed departure was permitted. A tumultuous spirit has pervaded many English schools in the last year.

Saturday 6th June 1812

The Company is dissatisfied with the King of Palembang. We cannot accept his unwillingness to receive the English as we know he had a Dutch factory in his lands for decades. The British position is that one European nation is the same as another.

On 22nd March a new expedition sailed from Batavia. The five warships and about 1,000 men under Colonel Gillespie were expected to arrive at Palembang before the end of the month.

Saturday 13th June 1812

Jamsetjee Bomanjee has just launched another ship in Bombay. The Ann is 794 tons and was built for the merchant Leckie. She is a fine piece of workmanship.

Saturday 13th June 1812

HMS Hespar (Thurston) took possession of the Portuguese colony of Timor on 10th January in the name of the British King but for the benefit of the Company. It is made a dependency of Java. The main city is Capang which collects the production of the neighbouring islands and provides a considerable export market of beeswax, sandalwood, birds’ nests and sea cucumbers.[174]

We found the government of the island is conducted by the elderly widow of the former Dutch Resident – everybody submits to her. She is based in Fort Concordia and the Dutch flag was still flying when we arrived but she immediately surrendered to H M frigate when called upon to do so. All the populace cheerfully lined up and took the Oath of Allegiance (an Oath to both the King and the Company). The island will continue to be governed by the present people until the new government at Batavia makes alternative arrangements.

HMS Hespar then travelled on to Macassar and formally received the capitulation and took possession of that place on 10th February for the Company. The natives were initially perplexed by our insistence they take an Oath of Allegiance but ultimately saw no harm in it. The former laws and customs are to be continued by us for the time being. All the smaller dependencies of Macassar are already occupied by us.

The merchants of Timor and Macassar are now eligible to participate in trade east of the Cape under our protection.

Monday 22nd June 1812 Extraordinary

  • Sir Evan Nepean has been appointed Governor of Bombay
  • Several petitions from London merchants have been received at the House of Commons requesting that, if the India Company Charter is continued next year (1813), it permits free trade with India.

Saturday 4th July 1812

The men of the St Helena Regiment planned a mutiny on Christmas Day 1811. The Town Mayor says the population here on his arrival in July 1808 totalled 3,600 people. They all live off public stores which are sold at half-price. As imports are cheap no-one bothers to cultivate the land or develop industry and as a result the extent of public dependency increased. There is also a huge consumption of spirits. This all arose during the tenure of Governor Brooke when many allowances and concessions were provided.[175]

In the period 1800 – 1808 the costs of administering St Helena increased from £51,000 to £115,000. “Once I started to reform the government” the Mayor says “I was repeatedly warned of mutiny. It was really a threat against my government. Recently the warnings reduced but then a shortage of flour and the absence of rice gave the garrison grounds to protest. What they actually wanted was a reinstatement of the allowance of spirits. I sent 20 bushels of potatoes from Plantation House Farm (the Governor’s own vegetable source and sole farm on the island) which became available in the bazaar but the whole garrison combined in saying the potatoes were too expensive although they were sold at the customary price – they want the supply at 4/- a bushel.

“In the grain shortages of 1795 the whole of England used potatoes as a substitute. These soldiers should not be so picky. They are getting their full allowance, if not in precisely the same foods as hitherto.’

On this understanding the Governor believes a handful of malicious people are stirring-up trouble for their own purposes.

There have been occasions in the past when the uncertainty of provisions arriving from England have caused brief and temporary shortages. We should get used to it. The mayor will hold an Inquiry.

The mutineers captured Colonel Broughton, the Governor, and demanded a supply of spirits. The Town Mayor, Major C R G Hodson, declined to treat with them. Eventually nine ring-leaders were court-martialled and sentenced to death. The rebels continued to oppose government unless supplied with spirits. Six of the condemned men were hanged immediately and one later. 20-30 men were imprisoned. The rebels then surrendered and an amnesty was granted to the survivors.

Saturday 18th July 1812

Mir Allum, the minister at Hyderabad, started to build a great reservoir in March 1808 and it has just been completed by his son-in-law. It is basically a valley between two hills, across the mouth of which he has built a wall 12 (sic) ft thick at the bottom and 9 ft at the top. It is 50 ft high in the centre and tapers off to either end. The total cost is 800,000 Rupees. The reservoir is filling now and when full (in about 3 months) will be 17 miles around the circumference.

Saturday 18th July 1812

Our old Governor Jonathan Duncan has died. It is rare for a civil servant to be eulogised like a General but Duncan was a good man.

Saturday 1st August 1812

The second British military expedition from Batavia to Palembang has arrived and occupied the Sultan’s palace without firing a shot. Sultan Ratu had gone on tour. For this we deemed him to have abdicated and placed his brother Adipati on the throne on 14th May. The brother seems a reasonable sort of chap and has sworn an Oath of Allegiance to the British. His signature was taken to a treaty of peace and friendship the same day together with a commercial tariff. We left on 15th May.

Regrettably the ex-Sultan successfully removed his treasure before our arrival and prize money will be poor. Our only loss was a handful of soldiers who strayed from the army and were presumably picked-off by the natives in the familiar way. We lost more men to sickness than battle.

Palembang owns the Islands of Banca and Billiton with the valuable tin mines. It has a population of 700 Chinese (who engross much of the commerce), 300 Arabs and 20,000+ Malays. There is a bar across the river mouth of about two fathoms but, once across that, the river itself is easily navigable up to the town 60 miles inland. Housing is of bamboo, raised on stilts off the ground. Some houses are on rafts in the river. Most people are farmers and a profusion of vegetables is available but the big money is in metals – sulphur, Banca tin and alluvial gold dust.

The Malays operate a migratory farming system for rice cultivation, which is the major crop. Each year they cut and burn some part of the forest and farm the cleared land. The newly exposed soil is said to be very fertile, particularly when the tree ash is new. The plough is unknown and all land preparation is done with a hoe. They take a couple of crops off the new land then move to the next place.

Banca produces tin which is always in demand at Canton. Billiton has a rich iron ore for steel-making. The Malays use it for making guns and tools. We have renamed the town of Banca as Minto and are building a small fort. Its on rising land, well drained, and should be healthy.

Wednesday 12th August 1812 Extraordinary

Sir Evan Nepean, Governor of Bombay, arrived this morning on HMS Volage.

Saturday 15th August 1812

Raffles at Java has been told by officers at the British post on Banca Island that the Dutch factory and garrison at Palembang did not leave the area and fall prey to pirates as was formerly thought.

Some few of the Dutch had earned the hatred of the Sultan’s son, Pangarang Ratu, and, when the Sultan left town on the first British approach, the son, with the help of the city magistrate, had them all killed.

The British officers on Banca warn Raffles that Ratu is being sent to Java as the Palembang ambassador. He is appointed by the Sultan’s brother, whom we made Sultan, and who wants him out of the way.

Saturday 22nd August 1812

India House, 8th April – Directors Mills, Robarts, Plowden, Hudleston, Robinson and Bannerman resign by rotation and are replaced by Astell, Grant, Collins Jackson (late of Bombay), Marjoribanks, Smith and Toone.

Saturday 22nd August 1812

Java, 18th June – Raffles’ government of Java, based at Semarang, has reported a new conquest. The English have discovered Jog Jakarta. Its an independent state in the interior of Java that sets the dissenting tone for all the petty Sultans. It also occupies some of the best land. The Dutch always accommodated the ruler of Jog Jakarta, provided Dutch trade was not disturbed.

We British are not like that.

We offered terms to the Sultan and he declined. We assaulted and conquered his city on 26th June using about 1,000 men against a garrison of 17,000. The Sultan and his family have been arrested and are under our protection. We lost 23 men and 76 wounded.

Raffles then formally deposed the Sultan of Jog Jakarta and assumed the government of the Java highlands, which will be known as the Kingdom of Mataram. Our Governor has appointed a new Sultan to this kingdom whom all residents must obey. Anyone supporting the ousted man will be considered a traitor and punished accordingly.

Saturday 29th August 1812

The Company has made a treaty with the Pasha of Baghdad.[176] He has agreed to send no more slaves to British India. He has also agreed to hand over those deserters from British ships who converted to Islam to escape our justice.

Saturday 29th August 1812

The Pasha of Baghdad has defeated Abdul Rahman, the Pasha of Kurdistan. He has been intriguing with the Persians and the Porte required him to cease. Baghdad had 6,000 infantry and 9 cannon; Rahman had 3,000 cavalry. His force was a mixed group of mainly Kurds with some Georgians and Arabs. The battle ended with half an hour of hand-to-hand combat before the Kurds gave way.

Rahman escaped with 20 horsemen but his sons and brothers and all his unit commanders were captured – his tactic of repeated frontal assaults on the Porte’s artillery was unwise. Actually Rahman has always fought defensively before and this wild offensive was an experiment.

The result has revalued the Pasha of Baghdad. The Porte has rewarded him with sovereignty over Kurdistan. The enhancement of his military reputation might keep the Persians at bay for a while.

Saturday 29th August 1812

HMS Cornelia has returned to Batavia from a cruise along the western coast of Borneo. The captain reports Pontianak is an interesting town. Its run by an Arab named Sheriff Kassim. His grandfather came from Arabia but both Sheriff and his father were born here. He started his commercial life as a pirate and prospered. When he had sufficient resources he made Pontianak a free port and this produced an inrush of foreigners. He keeps the import / export duties light and the level of trade has steadily increased.

He imports mostly opium and piece goods from Calcutta and exports almost entirely gold dust which is collected from the rivers here abouts. There is a large Chinese population that tends the land and produces a surfeit of vegetables that constantly fill the town markets. This Chinese endeavour represents Pontianak’s other export trade – provisioning passing ships.

There are other similar towns along this coast, like Mempawah, but Pontianak is the biggest. Each of these towns has a community of industrious Chinese farmers whose labour underwrites the economy.

Saturday 5th September 1812

The Company will bring a considerable quantity of superior cotton seed from Mauritius next Spring. Anyone who wishes to cultivate long-staple cotton on Salsette or Caranja will be supplied with free seed.

Saturday 5th September 1812

Lt Henry E Pottinger of the 7th Regiment of Native Infantry is made supernumerary Aide-de-Camp to Governor Nepean until further notice.

Saturday 12th September 1812

Review of Sketches of Java and its Dependencies, London 1811, concerning the history of the spice trade:

At the beginning of 17th century the spice islands (Moluccas) belonged to Portugal and Spain. The Dutch then expelled the Iberians, with great slaughter, and found nutmegs and cloves growing on all the islands. It was difficult to make a monopoly. The Dutch bribed the Sultans of Ternate and Tidore and received their agreement to limit spice farming. They hired hundreds of farmers who travelled throughout the Moluccas annually to destroy spice plants.

Once the locus of production had been brought under control, Banda was selected for nutmeg farming and Amboinya for cloves. This gave the Dutch a controlling position in sales of these spice in Europe that grew to rival their herring fisheries in value.

However, the production of spices on Celebes was unaffected by Dutch activities on the Moluccas and the Portuguese and newly arrived British were able to source their supplies there. The Dutch attacked the Portuguese factory at Macassar and drove those competitors away. They made an agreement with the English, with whom they were then allied, to share the spices, one third to the English and the balance to the Dutch, thus ensuring price maintenance. Later, when the relationship between the countries soured, the Dutch attacked British settlers and annihilated them and their families. The government of the Stuart King James I did not respond to the Dutch atrocity. At about the same time they massacred the Chinese population of Batavia (12,000 people) and got away with that too.[177]

With competitors in the spice islands warned off, the Dutch turned their attention to Ceylon, the sole source of cinnamon and then a Portuguese possession. The Dutch discovered the Ceylonese were oppressed by the Portuguese and willing to assist in their expulsion which was easily accomplished. The Portuguese were thereafter reliant on the less fragrant Malabar cinnamon that was available at their Cochin factories on the Kerala coast but the Dutch could not endure even this modest competition. They attacked Cochin and drove the Portuguese from there as well.

Saturday 26th September 1812

HMS Modeste (Elliot) has arrived at Madras with a cargo of treasure from Java. This island promises to become one of our most productive possessions. Officials at Batavia say, after paying the civil and military costs of government, there is still a large balance of cash unexpended, and we have only been there a few months.

Saturday 26th September 1812

The Armenian businessman Johannes Sarkies has died. He arrived in India in 1759 from Isfahan, his birthplace, and lived at Calcutta until his death. He knew everything about the trade of India and China and was one of the most successful merchants. There are several families who were wholly dependent on him and will be devastated by his passing.

He was partial to the British funds and had amassed a holding of over £100,000. He had other large investments in Danish and American paper but his largest single investment was in the Company’s Promissory Notes.

Saturday 24th October 1812

The Rajah of Colapore has ceded some forts in Malwa to the Company and Governor Nepean has appointed Lt Colonel Lionel Smith to take possession of them. Captain Samuel Goodfellow of the Engineers is to assist him.

Saturday 14th November 1812

Notice, 10th November – The right of Commanding Officers to dispose of the Estates of their deceased officers and soldiers is ended in respect of H M Regiments. No fees or commissions may in future be levied.

COs will notify the Treasury of all relevant Estates and transfer the value via their Paymasters (this infers an auction of effects in the cantonment). Bills payable may be discharged with Bills drawn on the Company in London.

Saturday 21st November 1812

The Prince Regent of Portugal, now on tour in Rio, has promulgated an Order abolishing the Inquisition at Goa. A majority of the residents are pleased but ‘a small group’ is working to re-establish the ecclesiastical tribunal.

Saturday 21st November 1812

The Herefordshire, a beautiful 1,200 ton ship, has been launched into Bombay harbour. Its another of Jamsetjee Bomanjee’s amazing designs. She will be deployed on the China route. The freight agent is Forbes & Co. It is the first large ship in the country-trade’s fleet.

Saturday 5th December 1812

Patrick Craufurd Bruce, a Bombay merchant, has commenced an equitable action against the Company. In January 1809 the Company advertised for funds in Bombay. Bruce invested 25,000 Rupees in Promissory Notes. In conformity with the offered terms permitting the exchange of the Bombay Notes for Bengal paper ‘at any time’ (see the Asia Economy chaper), Bruce exchanged his Bombay Notes on 27th March 1811 for a Bengal Note paying 8%.

By 1811 the Company’s finances were in better shape and it was calling in all the high interest loans and substituting them, so far as it needed, for 6% loans.

Bruce is one of the principal merchants of Bombay. He is a subscriber to the Gazette and knew that all the Company’s high interest loans were being transferred into lower interest bonds. He thought the wording of the prospectus permitted a construction that would earn him the extra 2% interest. The Court found the Company’s construction of the term ‘at any time’ as ‘any reasonable time’ was correct and dismissed Bruce’s claim.

Saturday 19th December 1812

This year the rains failed to the north of Bombay and the crops did not survive. The Hindu and Parsee communities have commenced a subscription for the 7,000 affected people at Surat and its hinterland. They need 15,000 Rupees a month until new food can be harvested. They have called on the European residents, who have profited from the production of Surat cotton, to contribute.

Saturday 19th December 1812

James Alexander, a merchant late of Calcutta, was returned to parliament as a Member for Old Sarum in May 1812.

Saturday 2nd January 1813

Captain Meares is the British resident at Palembang and Banca (Banca has been renamed Duke of York Island since our occupation). He is fighting a low-intensity war with the natives who continue to support the displaced Sultan.

The ex-Sultan’s supporters have occupied positions above Palembang town and cut-off the supply of provisions from that direction. Meares moved against them and successfully dispersed the enemy but was himself mortally injured.

Colonel Eales is nominated to replace him.

Saturday 6th March 1813

The Company has selected its shipping for the coming season. There are 27 ships of totally about 30,000 tons chartered for the regular service and another seven smaller vessels of totally 4,000 tons for ‘extra’ ships. There are a lot more ‘single ship owners’ than formerly. Even William Moffatt and Sir Robert Wigram are only supplying one ship each this year.

John Pascal Larkins has two; Henry Bonham five and the Borradailes three. All the other owners supply a single ship.

Saturday 20th March 1813

London, 29th April 1812 – Lloyd’s have appointed Forbes & Co as their Agents for Bombay. Underwriters cannot rely on the Foreign Office for shipping news. Galvanised by the loss of the Baltic convoy, they have created their own worldwide intelligence service.[178]

Saturday 27th March 1813

Notice – Off-reckonings for 1807 have been calculated by the Company’s Auditor General at 604,763 Rupees for the three continental Presidencies.

There are 21 Major Generals and Colonels on the retired list who each get 543 Rupees. The balance goes to 76 Major Generals and Colonels on the active list as commanders of regiments. They each get 6,762 Rupees for the year.

Saturday 3rd April 1813

The people of Palembang seem to resent our presence in their town. Lts Pearson and Frankman were walking outside the fort when a well-dressed Muslim approached and, without a word, stabbed first one then the other officer. Neither was seriously injured. The Muslim was killed by the guards nearby.

Saturday 3rd April 1813

The Rev Henry Martyn, one of the Company’s chaplains, died at Tokat in Turkey on 16th October 1812. He was previously chaplain on the Bombay establishment. He was travelling back from India and elected to avoid the usual route through Baghdad in view of the disturbances in Mesopotamia. He had planned to return on a northern route but on arriving at Tokat he died.

He came to India with the object of translating the bible into Asian languages. He already knew Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He assisted Dr Hunter in the Hindi translation of the New Testament that is now being published in Nagree type. Recently at Shiraz he completed a translation of the New Testament in Farsi with the help of some Persian scholars. From Shiraz he went to Syria and Arabia to visit the Orthodox Christian churches, interview the learned men and translate the New Testament into Arabic. We will know what progress he has made in this endeavour when his papers are returned.

Saturday 17th April 1813

Charles Forbes, late of Bombay, has been returned as MP for Beverley.

Saturday 17th April 1813

The Frankfurt Journal of 1st November says Lord Moira is appointed Governor-General of India.

Saturday 1st May 1813

The executors of Ardaseer Dady’s estate are selling numerous pieces of land and buildings, including the Mallar Estate on Salsette containing seven villages.

Saturday 29th May 1813

Notice – there are many stray dogs in Bombay. They might carry disease. They are to be caught and killed.

Saturday 29th May 1813

The American ship Alligator (Moriaty) arrived 6th May in Calcutta bringing two missionaries for Arakan.

Saturday 5th June 1813

Sir Charles Forbes has been elected one of the MPs for Beverley in October 1812. He will enter parliament in the next session.

Saturday 12th June 1813

Governor Nepean in Council has ordered that in future all troop transports are to be equipped with two life buoys when used to transport the Company’s men.

Saturday 19th June 1813

The Company’s Arabian commerce has been quite desultory since the Wahhabi insurrection at Mecca and Medina.[179] The area has long been part of the Ottoman Empire and the Turks sent a force from Egypt to reconquer it last year.

They entered Jeddah and Mecca unopposed and have sent an expedition against Taif, which is the only place the Wahhabis still hold. The Wahhabi chief Saud and his son Abdullah, who was Governor of Mecca, both abandoned the Holy City on the Turkish approach.

The Turks have appointed Pashas to Jeddah and Mecca.

Mohamed Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, is leading the Ottoman forces and is at Mecca but is planning to march to Loheia, Hodeidah and Mocha to ensure those towns are settled and that all Arabia will again submit to Constantinople.

We expect our trade will resume its usual proportions once tranquillity is re-established.

Saturday 26th June 1813

The British government of Java is blockading the Sambas River in west Borneo using two of the Company’s cruisers HCS Aurora (MacDonald) and HCS Teignmouth. There is a successful group of pirates based somewhere up this river whom we have difficulty in attacking as the river is too shallow.

A large junk evaded our blockade and entered the river but was caught by the boats of the Aurora cruiser. A sudden squall from the land prevented the junk from escaping. Her captain is Malay and there were 400 crew aboard. She carried a cargo of gunpowder and shot and had a team of engineers to advise the pirates on artillery matters.

The containment of these pirates should mitigate the effects of piracy on our Borneo coasting trade. Raffles’ Java government is assembling a flotilla of shallow-draft boats to make a further attack.

Saturday 26th June 1813

The fever on Java continues to affect our troops. It is particularly prevalent at Banca Island where we have had to remove the garrison to a new well-drained location.

Saturday 26th June 1813

Lt Henry E Pottinger was Governor Nepean’s supernumerary aide-de-camp. He is now confirmed as sole aide-de-camp.

Saturday 10th July 1813

Probolinggo, east coast of North Java, 18th May:

Two British army officers were visiting the Chinese headman near this town when word came that a party of 300 Muslims had descended from the hills onto a nearby village and taken it in the name of the Prophet.

The officers went to that village to investigate; the Muslims charged and the party fell back upon a small group of houses which they defended with only slight success.

A slave was sent to Probolinggo to call reinforcements and by next morning we had 150 men assembled for a counter attack. This failed and we had to abandon the area. The two army officers were later found murdered.

The Chinese headman and local landowner Han Ki Ko and his relative Ong Tiong Tiong were also killed. Ong Tiong Suey was injured. The Chinese were very helpful.

Another detachment was sent the next day and dispersed the Muslims.

Saturday 10th July 1813

The new Governor-General of India is Lord Moira. He is the acting Grand Master of the Masonic Lodges of England on behalf of the Prince Regent. The Friendship No 3 Lodge which Farquhar, General Bradford and Bayford attend, voted on 10th December to donate £100 towards a Masonic Medal to be presented to Moira at his farewell Masonic dinner on 16th January before he departs England to assume the government of India.

Every Lodge in Britain is expected to follow this example and accordingly the sum raised will total £20,000. Moira has a reputation amongst all the European Lodges for the benevolence and perfection of his Masonic practice.

Saturday 17th July 1813

The market at Mocha, apart from slaves and coffee, also supplies gum Arabic, aloes, frankincense, myrrh, senna leaf, madder root[180] and alkali.

Saturday 31st July 1813

The Bank of Bengal has reported a bad year. The dividend set by the Directors on 3rd July was 7½% being 1½% less than any former year.[181]

Saturday 31st July 1813

Thakurdass Narrondass died 26th June aged 56 years. He was the principal Bombay agent of the great Hindu firm of Gopaldass Manordass.

He was born in Benares and came to Bombay in 1792. He managed Gopaldass’ offices at Surat, Poona, Bombay and Madras.

On 28th July Nemchand Amichand, the main broker of Forbes & Co, also died.

Saturday 7th August 1813

Advertisement – The British and Foreign Bible Society of London has been doing sterling work distributing bibles.

An Auxiliary Bible Society was commenced recently at Madras. Bombay now emulates Madras with its own Auxiliary Bible Society.

We will save the heathen and induct him into the one true faith. Anyone making an annual donation becomes a member. Christian ministers of all persuasions are welcome to attend our meetings.

George Brown is President; W T Money is Treasurer and the Rev N Wade Secretary. Send your donations to the Treasurer or Secretary.

Saturday 21st August 1813

Shipping arrivals Batavia – the Chinese brig San Hin Cheo (Kiong Saing) from Banjer Masina 13th June with a cargo of sundries.[182]

Saturday 21st August 1813

The Indiaman Lord Melville arrived Madras in early August bringing Sir William Rumbold and his family.

Saturday 21st August 1813

Raffles at Batavia is sending the Dutchman Wardenaar and the Englishman Ainslie to Japan in the Company ship Charlotte & Mary in an attempt to reopen that old trade. They are accredited by Raffles as Trade Commissioners. They sailed at end June 1813. The ship carries a valuable cargo of the type of goods that have previously sold well in Japan.

Due to the war, the Dutch at Batavia have not been able to have their Japan-trade for the last 4 years and their Resident at Nagasaki has been isolated for that period. Japan has previously been a good market for the products of Java and the Dutch have taken return cargoes of copper and camphor.

On this occasion Raffles has required his Commissioners to also take a selection of British manufactures to test the market.

Saturday 21st August 1813

Our appointee to the Sultanate of Palembang has been relieved of responsibility for the tin mines on Banca Island. We have experienced some difficulty with native chiefs on Banca who expect a part of the revenue from tin sales.

The mines will now be directly administered by the Company and their management from Palembang is ended.

The port of Banca has been renamed Minto.

Captain Court of the Madras army is appointed to the command of the Banca garrison.

The Company ship Indian is sailing to Banca in late June. It will collect the tin production and take it to China for sale. It also carries a rich cargo shipped by the Company itself.

Saturday 21st August 1813

There is an immense teak forest at Blora in the lowlands between Semarang and Surabaya on Java. Teak is always in great demand for its hardness and ideal suitability for ship-building – it is used for the framework. Early summer is the season for felling. The Company has assumed the ownership of Blora teak and has felled double the quantity that the Dutch felled in former years.

Saturday 28th August 1813

The Bombay Courier’s Editor for the past seven years has resigned. He is receiving adverse attention from the new Governor Nepean (never a supporter of a free press) and has become anxious.

He intends to focus his efforts on trading to more quickly acquire a competence with which to retire to England and rejoin his wife and growing family.

Saturday 18th September 1813

George Chinnery’s assistant Eugene Bonnefoy, has won the Calcutta lottery first prize of 100,000 Rupees.

Saturday 18th September 1813

Two ambassadors from the King of Burma at Ava have arrived at Calcutta for discussions.

Monday 20th September 1813 Extraordinary

Rickards, late of the Governor’s Council here in Bombay, has been elected MP for Wootton Basset.

Saturday 25th September 1813

The Company is holding its quarterly sale of woollens and metals on 15th October at the Import Office. It’s the same type of goods as all the previous sales.

Saturday 25th September 1813

The subscription that the Company has commenced in India for the Russians in their fight with Napoleon’s grand army has now extended to include donations from numerous Parsees but no Hindus or Muslims have contributed. Bombay has collected £2,600 so far (it rises to £4,000 by year end and is then discontinued).

Saturday 25th September 1813

Lord Moira has arrived at Calcutta. He was brought here on HMS Stirling Castle, the ship commanded by his friend and fellow Mason Sir Home Popham.

Saturday 25th September 1813

Raffles has sent an expedition under Lt Colonel Watson to suppress the pirates at Sambas River. It is a joint operation of naval and military forces. They entered the river in boats on 25th October and called on the Sultan to surrender and hand over the Pangarang Anom and his pirates. The Sultan had gone on holiday and the demand was received by the Pangarang in person. He did not reply.

The river approach to the town is protected by batteries. We carried two by assault and some others were then abandoned. We killed about 150 enemy including the Sultan’s brother, the Pangarang’s eldest son and 12 other chiefs but the Pangarang himself escaped.

We lost 8 soldiers and some officers were wounded.

We captured 31 small brass cannon, 36 iron cannon, 6,000 round shot and 26 barrels of gunpowder.

Saturday 9th October 1813

Advertisement – the owners of the Indiaman Carmarthen require funds and offer Bills in exchange. Enquiries to Forbes & Co.

Saturday 9th October 1813

General Sir Barry Close has died. When we ultimately overthrew the House of Hyder Ali of Mysore and substituted our own nominee, Barry Close was the man chosen by Lord Wellesley to advise the young prince. His services as Resident at Mysore were highly valued.

He received his knighthood from Lord Buckingham (then Lord Hobart), now President of the Board of Control, who liaised closely with him as Governor of Madras.

Saturday 16th October 1813

Angus Bruce has been charged with the murder of Bebee Anna at Nagpore. On 11th April 1813 Bruce came home and took 15-16 Rupees from his room to pay the milkman’s bill. He then gave the change to his Indian wife to replace inside the house. At that time there was a cookboy in the kitchen and Bebee Anna was sweeping the forecourt.

A few hours later Bruce wished to count the money received from the milkman and it was found to be missing. He interviewed the soldier performing duty at the house entrance and confirmed no visitors had arrived or left. He went to the kitchen, seized the boy, accused him of theft and hit him a few times – the boy slipped from his grasp and ran away. Bruce then seized Anna, pulled her into the house and accused and beat her too. She was then sent away to her son’s house in poor condition with bruises and a broken arm. She died about a week later. Anna was 84 years old and had many relatives – they unitedly complained and Bruce was arrested.

The defence produced three relatives of Bruce’s wife who each said the old woman said she had been falsely accused and had gone to the kitchen and beat herself sustaining the injuries from which she died.

Two European residents of Nagpore gave evidence of Bruce’s good character. He was acquitted.

Saturday 16th October 1813

The drought in Bengal earlier this year delayed sowing of indigo and it is feared the crop will not ripen in time. It is the lower provinces that are worst affected.

Saturday 6th November 1813

The Military Paymaster General of Madras employed Cyprian Rodrigues and Manas as writers (clerks) until May 1810 when they were both dismissed for negligence.

Having become familiar with the forms used by the Paymaster and the signatures of the officers signing them, the couple launched a scheme to forge an Abstract of the pay of Captain C H Keating, 1st battalion, 22nd Regiment of Native Infantry. The couple employed Eliapen, an ex-servant of one of the army officers, to collect 96 Star Pagodas of salary on behalf of Keating. Next month they made another Abstract and collected another salary.

Having succeeded twice, they extended their scam to the pay of another officer. Lt J S Watson was selected and Eliapen was sent for his salary. He was instructed to say, if he was recognised, that Watson and Keating lived together. These two salaries produced about 150 Pagodas a month whereas locally-employed writers earned about 5 Pagodas each a month.

This continued for two years.

Ultimately the couple became careless. One of the Pay Abstracts was seen to have an error in it which brought it to the attention of the Auditor General’s department and an investigation revealed there was neither a Captain Keating nor a Lt Watson serving in the Company’s army. The two writers and Rodrigues’ grandfather Granna Pragassan were all convicted along with Eliapen in July 1813.

Saturday 6th November 1813

Minto’s portrait has been delivered to Java by HMS Hussar. All the Company’s senior government officers and the old Dutch VOC officers attended at the Council House to receive the picture.

It is sent in response to a pleasant Address the Dutch officers sent to Minto previously. They are grateful that Minto granted them liberal rights after the British occupation of Java.

Saturday 13th November 1813

Coonverjee Ruttonjee, Nasserwanjee Rustomjee & Co have bought the privileged tonnage of Captain George Williamson of the Indiaman David Scott and will sell the goods on 17th November opposite Admiralty House – beer, port, brandy, gin, claret, champagne, fruit liqueurs, ham, cheese, boots, glass, hats, hosiery, perfume, stationery, guns, saddles etc (a typical inventory of privileged tonnage)

Saturday 20th November 1813

HMS Hussar has arrived from Java with news that we have reinstated the government of Palembang. The Sultan knew nothing until our army landed and secured all the principal places.

The government that Major General Gillespie established on our first invasion of Palembang is restored.

Saturday 20th November 1813

Minto has completed handing-over the government of India to Moira and will leave for England with his family later this month.

Saturday 20th November 1813

Calcutta – The shipbuilder Smith has launched two ships from his yard. The Earl of Moira is 610 tons and the Susan is 520 tons. The former belongs to Captain Kemp and the latter to Captain Collingwood.

Saturday 20th November 1813

Moira held his first durbar on 25th October and several representatives of native princes did homage to him. Amongst them were the vackeels of the Nizam, of the Nabob of Moorshedabad, of Sindhia, of the Peshwa, of Rajah Nain Singh and of Jugguset. There were also emissaries from Burma and Aceh. Several other ambassadors were presented.

Saturday 27th November 1813

Moira has appointed the recently arrived Sir William Rumbold as Chamberlain of his establishment in Calcutta.

Saturday 27th November 1813

The Recorder’s Court in Bombay has allowed a Writ of Fieri Facias to be issued on the property of three Portuguese – Nicolao de Lima e Souza, Joao Antonio Pereira and Balcrusta Govindjee. A large number of pieces of land and buildings are for sale to create a fund for settlement of any judgment debt.

Saturday 4th December 1813

The detention of officers and men of the Company’s army at Mauritius by the French has given rise to a requirement that the pay of soldiers whilst prisoners-of-war be fixed. This is the first occasion after 20 years of war that the matter has come up.

As the Company promotes by seniority it will sometimes occur that an officer is promoted whilst imprisoned. Officers get the pay and half-batta of their rank if imprisoned ashore in India. If afloat in India or ashore or afloat in Europe he gets the pay only and no batta.

Saturday 18th December 1813

In April 1813 Mrs Tadman opened a boarding school at Bombay for girls 4 – 14 years and boys under 10 years. All students are instructed in the three Rs – reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic. The girls are also taught needlework. The school has been well-patronised and Mrs Tadman now invites new entrants for the January term at 35 Rupees per month for board, education, supervision and laundry.

Saturday 18th December 1813

Bombay Presidency is the only Presidency to issue a dram of spirits, free of charge, to each of the European troops daily. It has also been feeding them at Company expense. The equalisation of the King’s and Company’s armies that is required by the ministry ends this support. HM regiments will in future buy their own food and drink.

When fighting for the country, each man will be provisioned with a daily ration of 1½ lbs fresh meat, 1 lb of salt meat, 1½ lbs of rice, 2 ozs salt, 2 drams of spirits and 4 lbs of firewood.

Saturday 18th December 1813

Teak ships are superior to oak ships. The Turkish government ship at Basra was built of teak 70 years ago by Nadir Shah. It was recently in dock here in Bombay for a thorough survey and not one of her timbers required replacement. Our own merchant ship the Hercules was built of teak here in 1763 and operated for forty years without structural problems. After she was captured by the French in 1805 we lost trace of her.

Teak contains an oil that inhibits worm and preserves iron whereas oak is acid and corrodes iron. Oak ships need replacement after 10+ years if they are to withstand the stress of weather. By that time they are only fit as hulks and prison ships.

The land-owners of England, who control the supply of oak timber, say teak is too heavy but our comparisons here suggest they are about the same weight. They also say teak splinters more than oak (the cause of most injuries from broadsides) but that is equally fallacious in our experience. In fact the reverse is the case.

The ship-builders of Calcutta are constructing a teak ship-of-the-line which they intend to sail to London and show to the Admiralty. Lord Melville is a strong supporter of India-built teak ships. He has approved a plan for Indian shipbuilders to share the navy’s requirements with England – we get to build some ships here and we send the teak for them to built the remainder there.

Our Bombay Parsee shipbuilders should take note.

Saturday 1st January 1814

An advertisement is circulating in Calcutta for the Oriental Times, a new newspaper that is about to start publication.

Saturday 1st January 1814

On 10th December, Minto returned to England on HMS Hussar, which is commanded by his relative George Elliot.

Saturday 15th January 1814

Letter from Rangoon – the government at Ava previously pledged to limit its import duty to 12% ad valorem but the local Governor of Rangoon has hinted he will charge an extra 2%.

There are now 18 ships in harbour from the main ports of India. They came in reliance on the pledge of fixed import duties.

Saturday 22nd January 1814

The Company’s charter expires in March this year.

Saturday 22nd January 1814

A list is printed of 20 ships totalling 10,000 tons that have been built in 1813 at Calcutta.

Saturday 29th January 1814

The dependencies of Bombay Presidency are Kaira, Broach, Salsette and Surat.

Saturday 29th January 1814

Dutch law has been preserved in the Moluccas as a term of the capitulation made with the VOC. Under Dutch law, all transfers of property require a tax of 9% ad valorem be paid before the transfer is legally recognised. The transfer document also needs stamping and that costs something more.

An interesting dispute has just been settled by our ‘court’ at Amboinya that deftly circumvents this onerous tax. The ownership of the property in dispute was not legally transferred but the court legalised it by ordering the revenue officer to register a transfer and deduct the costs from the judgment sum.

Saturday 29th January 1814

As a general rule no jokes against the English are published but this week the Editor could not resist an item from Bojapore:

One night a horse was stolen from our camp. 6-7 sices (horse-attendants) who slept with the horses failed to detect the theft until they awoke. Fortunately the horse and thief were caught and the horse owner wished to ascertain how the theft had been accomplished without disturbing the sices.

The thief could speak neither English nor the dialect of the native troops but demonstrated his method – first I do this, then I do that – until he was seated on the horse, whereupon he galloped off again.

Saturday 29th January 1814

Fiji is one of the places to buy sandalwood and beche-de-mer for the Canton market. A Bombay ship has just returned from there with the distressing news that several of the crew, whilst ashore, were eaten by the residents.

Saturday 5th February 1814

The Bank of Bengal has declared a first half dividend of just over 8.8%

Saturday 5th February 1814

In 1801 the natives were permitted to retail arrack in Calcutta. Since then, they have opened innumerable shops but none of the premises provide seating – the shops sell the arrack to take away. In fact customers stand around the doorway drinking and invariably become troublesome to passers-by.

Over 20,000 gallons of this stuff is consumed monthly in Calcutta. The arrack they sell is 25-30% proof but they add other ingredients to increase intoxication. Over half the people brought before the magistrates are more or less drunk at the time they commit their offences.

Now the foreman of a Grand Jury, George Cruttenden, has brought the matter to the attention of the new Chief Justice before the Court started to hear cases. 64 arrack shop-keepers have petitioned for assistance in regulating their customers and Cruttenden presented their petition with a plea for judicial help.

The judge is new. He told Cruttenden to make his case to the executive who had responsibility for maintaining law and order in town.

Saturday 5th February 1814

Java Proclamation, 22nd October 1813:

The old Dutch government proscribed private trade in spices, wild nutmegs, mace and in opium. These commodities were reserved as VOC monopolies.

It is the policy of British government to promote free trade and Minto promised this to the Javanese in his Proclamation of 10th September 1811.

The British provisional administration of Java has repealed all the restrictive laws. You may now trade in all these commodities provided you bought them from the Company. This Proclamation is to be translated into native languages and posted at Batavia, Semarang and Surabaya.

Saturday 12th February 1814

Government Notice, 4th February – The 9th article of the Treaty of Bassein between the Peshwa and the Company provides that all food, all cloth and clothing and all live animals for food or transport pay a duty on being imported from the Peshwa’s domains to the Company’s lands, except those goods belonging to the Company’s subsidiary force (the troops provided to the Peshwa for his protection).

It has become apparent that soldiers are using their military authority to personally import these items to Bombay Presidency from Poona without paying duty.

To avoid paying duty in future, they will be required to show a pass signed by the Commandant or Brigade Major of the Poona brigade or the Commandant or deputy Adjutant-General of the subsidiary force. The pass will certifiy that the goods are for the use of the army or belong to army personnel.

Saturday 12th February 1814

The Penang Court commenced its second sessions on 2nd December. The Governor, the Recorder and W E Phillips sat together to hear the cases. Several prisoners were tried for the murder of a Chinese farmer and acquitted.

Saturday 12th February 1814

The Europeans and Burghers of Jaffnapatam (Gerrit Frankend, Thomas Nagel et al) have eulogised William Coke, puisne judge of the Supreme Court and member of the governing council, on 30th September 1813 on the occasion of his return to London.

They thank him for mitigating the corruption, vice and abandonment of character that has prevailed at Jaffnapatam, by his impartial administration of justice. The disorder had arisen from ‘violent and lawless bodies of men who infest the district’. Come back soon.

Saturday 19th March 1814

Dr Ainslie of Madras Presidency has returned to Batavia from his mission as Joint Trade Commissioner in the Charlotte and Mary to Japan. He is a botanist and has recently published the Materia Medica of India. He was sent by our Java government on advice from the Dutch. The Japanese allow the Dutch to send one ship a year.

The party stayed three months in Japan. The Dutch member of the Commission was allowed to remain. The rest returned with a cargo of copper and Japanware.

Saturday 19th March 1814

Richard Brown our Superintendent of Tin Mines on Banca has been murdered along with his Dutch assistant. Some Muslims imprisoned his detachment of soldiers from Amboinya with the apparent intention of selling them in the slave market at Billiton, a nearby island. They took Brown and the Dutchman into the forest, tied them to trees and stabbed them.

Saturday 9th April 1814

The Admiralty and Board of Trade are persuaded that shipping to / from the East will in future have to be convoyed in the same way as shipping to / from the Baltic, West Indies or Mediterranean.

This will proscribe single ships from making the voyage.

All free traders will have to accept convoy to preserve their insurance cover. The possibility of windfall profits from bringing your goods to market before the others will be lost. This will unfortunately be a blow to the nascent free trade that has just been granted.


Bombay Courier editions for most of April, all May and the first half of June is missing.

Saturday 18th June 1814

Notice, 14th June 1814 – people who have obtained a licence from the Directors to reside in India under the new Charter terms are also required to register with the Company’s Judiciary in India giving the following particulars – name, nationality, year of arrival in India and town of intended residence.

Saturday 25th June 1814

Some Balinese boats were caught and arrested for importing goods into Java without a Company licence. The Rajah of Bali responded by arresting some English ships which he sold to compensate his merchants.

Now Raffles’ government of Java has sent an Expedition of about 800 men to Bali under General Miles Nightingale to instruct the Rajah. It departed Batavia in late March.

Saturday 25th June 1814

The Admiralty is sending a piece of plate to Jamsetjee Bomanjee for his care and diligence in building the capital ship HMS Minden for the Royal Navy.

Saturday 25th June 1814

Major Munro has given evidence to a Select Committee in London on the population of the districts ceded to Madras Presidency several years ago. The Company’s census shows the figure at about 2 millions with 10% more men than women. The villagers say it has always been unequal like that.

At first we thought the difference might be explained by female seclusion – its practised by some sects, both Muslim and Hindu, but the difference extends to every caste in the district, some of which do not seclude their females.

We re-checked a sample and a few villages were found to have equal populations but the preponderance had a surplus of males. Dr Price contrarily advises that males are likely to die younger than females. It’s a paradox.

In Europe the natural statistic is about 20 females to 19 males, a 15% difference to the new Madras Presidency figures.

Some field officers speculate that in times of adversity a family is more likely to preserve a son than a daughter. They also say an older child will inevitably be favoured over a young one in time of famine, particularly if the infant is female. In India it is common for all domestic labour, vegetable growing and watering, harvesting and spinning etc., to be done by women – so the fairer sex is absolutely fundamental to the economic prosperity of the village.

It has also been suggested that the absence of war in the last few years may have preserved more males than usual but this does not correspond with the villagers’ information that ‘it has always been like that’.

Munro notes that the funeral rites that admit a deceased to the afterlife must be performed by a male child. It seems possible that some selection against females is operating in the native states of the Deccan.

Note to readers: The Recorder’s Court at Bombay frequently issues Writs of Fieri Facias to plaintiffs seeking to recover money from debtors. There are two in the edition of Saturday 9th July 1814 and commonly one in other editions. The Plaintiff is commonly the Company or a European Agency house. The Fieri Facias Writ permits the distraint and sale of the landed property and buildings of the Defendant before trial. The Sheriff then accumulates the sale proceeds in a fund to satisfy the action for debt, if successful.

Saturday 9th July 1814

Calcutta – Governor-General Moira’s friend, Sir William Rumbold, has been made a JP and Commissioner of Police for this city.

Saturday 16th July 1814

The 15% import duty on British goods and manufactures to Goa and Macau and the other Portuguese ports has been levied by mistake. Under the Anglo-Portuguese commercial treaty of 19th February 1810 it should be 5% as was previously levied. The Prince Regent at Rio has now decreed the 5% rate is to be used.

Saturday 23rd July 1814

The Editor has commended his readers to subscribe towards the costs of a statue of the Duke of Wellington in commemoration of his exploits in Spain.

This induces a reader to comment that “the large sums raised by public subscriptions in 1805 and 1806 for statutes of Cornwallis, Lord Wellesley and Pitt and in 1808 for a statue of Captain George Hardinge produced no statues”.

If we wish to be patriotic, he says, we would do better to donate our money to the widows and children of deceased soldiers.

Saturday 6th August 1814

Lt Henry E Pottinger ceased to be an Aide-de-Camp to Governor Nepean on 1st August.

Saturday 6th August 1814

Bombay Notices:

  • Michie Forbes ceased to be a partner in Forbes & Co on 31st July.
  • Nadir Baxter ceased to be a partner in Baxter Ferrar & Co wef 31st July.
  • William Crawford ceased to be a partner in Bruce Fawcett & Co on 1st August
  • David Malcolm was admitted a partner of Shotton Calder & Co wef 1st August.

Saturday 6th August 1814

Capt Peter Brown of the Charlotte has received a piece of plate worth 100 guineas from the officers of H M’s 78th Regiment whom he took to Bali for our recent invasion.

Saturday 6th August 1814

Juggernaut, 22nd June – The machine has been travelling since 19th June and is about half a mile from its starting point at the temple. Only one woman has so far devoted herself to the wheel and it was a shocking sight. More people have been trampled by the crowd than have been killed by the machine.

There are some exceptional fakirs here – one chap has filled his eye sockets with mud, another has tied his foot to his neck, a third has a pot of burning charcoal resting on his belly.

Saturday 6th August 1814

The half-yearly dividend of the Bank of Bengal was paid early July. Its 500 Rupees per share, equivalent to 10% of the Bank’s capital.

Saturday 6th August 1814

The expedition to Bali has succeeded without firing a shot. The Rajah submitted to us on our arrival and surrendered two hostages for his future good conduct.

Saturday 27th August 1814

The army off-reckonings in Bengal Presidency for 1808 totalled 334,925 Rupees. These moneys are available as pensions to retired Generals, Colonels and Commanders of regiments. 37,462 Rupees was paid-out to 8 retired Generals in England. The balance of 297,463 Rupees is carried forward.

In Madras the figure for 1808 was 280,438 Rupees of which 33,300 Rupees was paid-out to retired Generals at the same rate

At Bombay the sum is 82,462 Rupees of which 29,040 Rupees was paid-out.

Saturday 27th August 1814

Two English ships sailed from the outport of Bristol at end April for Asia. They are the first private ships licensed to trade in Asia under the new Charter.

Saturday 17th September 1814

The British inhabitants of Patna under the leadership of Abraham Welland, Wm Moorcroft, G Neville Wyatt and Capt Roughsedge have given an Address to Moira who is passing through.

They congratulate the Governor-General that the great Kings of Europe are restored to their legitimate authority and peace is upon us.

It is signed by every British merchant and army officer in Patna – Duncan Campbell, H Douglas, J R Elphinstone, Francis le Gros, J Miller, Hubert Cornish, A MacKenzie, Robert Mitford et al totally 57 names.

Saturday 22nd October 1814

The total tonnage of ships being built and used on the new free trade route from Calcutta to England is about 30,000 tons or ten times the permitted amount under the old arrangements. There will no doubt be price fluctuations until London is able to digest these increased imports on a regular basis.

Saturday 29th October 1814

Indian cottons are selling well at India House in expectation of a renewed trade with France. The best Sea Island cotton is 3/- to 3/3d a pound and the other varieties proportionately less.

The ministry has stopped paying the bounty on refined sugars but this will only temporarily slow the market now that Europe is re-opening to our trade.

28,000 bags of Indian rice imported by the ships’ officers as privileged tonnage has been offered at auction and only 2,000 bags sold at 22/- to 26/- each. Brazil rice was unsellable and Carolina rice was moving very slowly albeit at 50/- a bag.

The sales of all Indian spices are attracting lower prices.

Saturday 29th October 1814

Colonel Taylor continues to promote the Suez route between India and London – he says it is quicker and cheaper. The British government prefers Venice, Constantinople, Aleppo, Basra and Bombay as it has regular dispatches for the first two stops.

Taylor’s quick alternative is Bombay, Suez, Cairo, boat to Rosetta, overland to Alexandria and by ship to Messina/Malta and London. That should generally be a two-month journey compared with over three months on the Mesopotamian route.

We used to consider Red Sea navigation dangerous but we now have good charts. It is a no-brainer.

Saturday 5th November 1814

General Nightingale’s expedition obtained the submission of the Rajah of Bali without firing a shot.

He then sailed to Macassar where that Rajah was made of sterner stuff. His resistance ended on 7th June and a garrison has been placed in the fort to ensure he makes the right decisions in future.

Captain Phillips is appointed Resident of Macassar and will advise the Rajah.

Saturday 12th November 1814

House of Commons, 4th April – With Castlereagh’s absence from the House of Commons settling the terms of peace, the Company has difficulty in controlling its destiny. Castlereagh usually fronts the Company’s demands / defences to parliament but he is in Europe.

While he is away, the India Shipping Bill has come-up for debate. It makes India-built teak-framed ships available in England – it is a great bit of business for India but a disaster for the Company’s shipping interest and the owners of forests, often the Royal Family.

Regrettably, the MPs are all for it.

At first the Company’s MPs managed to divert the proposed Bill into a Committee where it languished for several weeks but the promoters of Indian ships (Melville et al) keep asking questions and are pushing for its passage.

The Company says these ships are too good. They need so little repair they damage London’s ship-repairing business. If our ship-repairing industry shrinks we will be less able to repair ships in future. Instead of self-sufficiency and improvement we will become dependent on foreign assistance.

A second line of Company opposition relates to manning. India-built ships will be delivered with Indian crews. They will diminish the employment prospects of the British Tar.

Saturday 12th November 1814

The Company is still discussing Directors’ pay. Shareholder Howarth thinks the shareholding qualification to become a Director should be raised from £2,000 worth of shares to £4,000. This will better align the Director’s capital and interests with the Company.[183]

He wants them to resign their directorships if they receive a public appointment. He wants an Attendance Book kept so the number of days they visit India House and the number of Meetings they attend is known. He wants all this information to be available to shareholders so they have some sense of the efforts of their executives

Saturday 26th November 1814

A great fire consumed part of Penang on 27th September. It broke out in front of the Muslim mosque and spread throughout the area occupied by Chinese, Armenian and Pulicat merchants. Several warehouses were burned and damage is estimated at 500,000 Rupees.

The great fire of 1812 consumed the European quarter of the island, this one has destroyed the native quarter.

Saturday 26th November 1814

Moira has gone up the Ganges on tour and is now at Lucknow. Whilst he is away, Thomas Stanley, a lawyer admitted to practice here, is suing his client James Smith for libel and James MacKenzie, who produces the Calcutta Times newspaper, for publishing it. Smith’s libel was to say Stanley received funds on his (Smith’s) behalf and kept them.

This successful litigation of Smith’s is mentioned but not elucidated. It appears Stanley was disbursing Smith’s damages to him bit-by-bit on application.

In February, young James Smith gave Stanley the conduct of his defence in an equitable action before the Calcutta courts. Stanley employed Ferguson as Counsel. Smith has not yet accumulated much capital and Stanley was doubtful of getting his fees but did his best. On conviction, Smith gave way to an intemperate burst of passion against Stanley. It seems all his capital with Stanley was consumed by the costs and party costs of the unsuccessful defence.

The prosecution-side in the libel case however forgave Smith, as he is young and inexperienced, and focused their disapproval on MacKenzie, the editor and publisher of Calcutta Times, who should have known better.

Smith’s defence is a long rambling biography and the Court declines to hear it. His 46 witnesses are likewise dismissed without a hearing.

Strettell, the Counsel for MacKenzie, says the Editor published the article when he was told by Smith that he had commenced an action in the Calcutta supreme court for recovery of his money from Stanley. The Judge said that would have been a proper course for Smith to pursue but he preferred revenge and publicity. Smith got 6 months whilst MacKenzie was fined 100 Rupees and bound-over to keep the peace for a year.

Saturday 17th December 1814

Mr L Magniac has arrived at Calcutta on the Indiaman Phoenix. He is one of the new Writers.

Saturday 24th December 1814

Bombay Presidency Notice – The next quarterly sale of the Company’s stocks is set for 16th January 1815 at the Import Office – it’s the usual mix of woollens, metals, window glass, wines and tools.

Saturday 24th December 1814

The Company hopes to prevent the return of Java and the Spice Islands to the Dutch until it can get some assurances for the future business of our trading stations in the islands.

Our administration is more efficient than the Dutch and revenue in the ex-Dutch Colonies is now adequate and increasing. Large areas of formerly uncultivated land have been ploughed and farmed since we assumed the administration. Crime has diminished and the gaols are empty. The ownership of property is protected and everyone is happily making profit. All the warehouses are over-stocked with our goods and imports have slowed but are steady.

Bills are selling at 4/3d per Spanish dollar (paper currency) or 75 cents Spanish (for silver)

Saturday 31st December 1814

The Prince Regent has published a Patent of Precedence for the Government of India. Its a British caste system.

The Governor-General, Lord Chief Justice, Bishop of Calcutta, Council members, puisne Judges are listed and then the whole civil establishment of the Company down the hierarchy of ranks.

This arrangement follows the English form with wives of officials similarly ordered. It makes Calcutta society even more strictly hierarchical than previously.

Saturday 7th January 1815

Advertisement – Forbes & Co are authorised to issue policies of the Canton Insurance Company on the hulls and cargoes of all British ships at or from Bombay to all ports and on Portuguese hulls and cargoes at or from Bombay to Canton, Lisbon and Rio.

Saturday 14th January 1815

Letter from the Directors, 21st June 1814:

Several British investors in Agency Houses in India have lost their capital as a result of the bankruptcy of their selected Agent.

The Company accepts responsibility only for investments made in its own Indian debt paper. We are advising the resident British population so our position concerning investments in Agency Houses will be widely disseminated.[184]

Saturday 4th February 1815

The Admiralty has awarded Jamsetjee Bomanjee Lowjee a piece of plate in recognition of his skill and diligence in superintending the construction of the capital ship HMS Minden.

He replied 19th October 1814 ‘since building the Minden I have built two more capital ships – Cornwallis and Wellesley’.

Saturday 11th February 1815

6th February – Forbes & Co has admitted Thomas Allport and William Ashburner into the partnership.

Saturday 18th February 1815

The Act allowing non-British built ships to trade to / from Asia has been extended to cover voyages commencing before 1st January 1816. The Company is responsible for this trade.

Under the new extension, its responsibility for repatriating distressed Asiatic seamen is transferred to the ship-owner.

Saturday 18th February 1815

HMS Halcyon is going to Batavia with the news that Java and its dependencies are returned to the Dutch in the general peace agreement in Europe.

Saturday 18th February 1815

Half Pay is payable to all officers from Ensigns to Lt Colonels and to Regimental Quartermasters and Surgeons. It is just increased 20 – 35% as of 8th August 1814.

Saturday 18th February 1815

Sir George Barlow, the Governor of Madras and before that briefly acting Governor-General, has been accused in the House of Commons by Marsh MP (on the information of M/s Thomas Parry, Maitland and Evans) of interfering with judicial process in the cases of those British merchants and army officers involved in making loans to the Nabob of the Carnatic.

Marsh says unaccommodating Judges and prosecutors were substituted for amenable officers before the cases could be heard. After some discussion Marsh agreed to postpone his motion until next session.

Saturday 4th March 1815

R Thornton, the Company’s Chairman, has resigned and fled from England. He is said to have speculated in the funds and made great losses. Inglis also resigned as Chairman very recently but his reasons were not published.

Tuesday 14th March 1815 Extraordinary

The Board of Control has approved a number of Company pensions that had been left pending for Charter renewal – £5,000 a year for life to Lord Wellesley; £4,000 a year for life to Warren Hastings; £20,000 to the Estate of the late Lord Melville, etc.

Saturday 8th April 1815

Northampton Mercury, 6th August 1814 – Russian expansion to the east has arrived at the Pacific coast. The north-east of Siberia is inhabited by a tribe called the Chukchi.

They have been in more or less continuous war with the Koryakes who people the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk. The Koryakes submitted to the Russian Commissioner Banner and now the Chukchi have done so as well.

They are both hunting tribes. They come to the Russian posts every year to trade their furs for tobacco, iron and other goods. Many of them have been baptised into the Orthodox Church.

Russian expansion is now expected to cross the Bering Straits and enter northern Canada to link with the stations of the Russian American Company.

Saturday 15th April 1815

W. Manning, the Chairman (Governor?) of the Bank of England, has written to Sir Charles Forbes, formerly a leading Bombay trader, on 4th August 1814 acknowledging receipt of £4,000 from the people of Bombay towards the relief of the Russian people.

This acknowledgement results from Forbes’ public revelation to the House of Commons that he could find no-one to receive the donations.

Saturday 22nd April 1815

Batavia, 7th April – there is a dearth of silver in this market. Last July and August we were selling opium at $2,300 a chest but now its down to $1,300 and selling only slowly. Coffee is $6.50 – 8.00 and pepper $9, both cash per picul.

Saturday 6th May 1815

The five licensed free-trade ships direct from England to the Company’s domains are expected daily. They are Minerva (Richardson) and Ocean (Lindsay) for the sub-continent and Duke of Wellington, Semarang and Orpheus for India and Penang.

Saturday 13th May 1815

Mahomed Ali Pasha, the Porte’s Viceroy of Egypt, who sent an army into Arabia to restore order, has defeated the Wahhabi army of Faisal bin Saud on 15th February 1815 at Turabah and killed 4,000 of them. Faisal is the brother of Abdullah bin Saud.

The Turkish forces are advancing on the Wahhabi stronghold and appear likely soon to extinguish this rebellion.

Saturday 27th May 1815

The China fleet normally arrives in India from London at about this time of year but it is delayed.

The crews protested at Gravesend against the reduction of wages that the ship owners unilaterally fixed on them due to peace with America and the declining freight rates.

This delayed their departure.

Saturday 17th June 1815

The Ottoman Viceroy (Pasha) of Egypt and Arabia, Mohamed Ali, has succeeded in driving the Wahhabis from Mecca and Medina and the Red Sea ports. The obstacles to trade, both by land and sea, that these followers of Saud caused have been removed. He has captured their great inland capital Turabah and entirely dispersed them. This campaign has lasted for two years. The Pasha will now return to his capital (Cairo).

Throughout these two years his government in Egypt has continued to function smoothly; tranquillity throughout the country has been maintained.

It’s a marked difference to the previous government of the Mamelukes. The Beys divided every 50 miles of the river Nile into fiefs for numerous Arab Sheikhs who were continually at war with each other. During those times the reigning Bey could seldom leave Cairo. Law & Order was maintained only along the river banks and inland was anarchy. Travellers were routinely stopped and robbed. It is now possible to cross the country unarmed in safety. Under the Mamelukes anyone in European dress was sure to be reviled; now our wealth assures us of offers of accommodation and transport.

Britain has just sent two huge hydraulic machines to Mohammed Ali Pasha and some military engineers are installing them on the banks of the river. They are to improve the irrigation of the flood plain in the dry season. Its our gift to the Viceroy to keep his friendship.

Saturday 1st July 1815

Bombay 28th June – James Robert Reid is made a partner of John Leckie & Co.

Saturday 15th July 1815

Bombay, 12th July – Capt Francis F Staunton is permitted to go to China for six months.

Saturday 22nd July 1815

The Bombay merchants have asked the Governor to permit them to petition the House of Commons protesting the postage charged by the British government (using private ships) and Company (using its chartered fleet) on their letters. A meeting of the British inhabitants is set for 27th July in the Court House.

The Madras merchants have already made their petition. They have voluminous correspondence with their Agents and constituents. They say they have all along been paying postage on their letters to / from England. The new additional charges are unreasonable. The captains of private ships have become reluctant to carry mail as the penalties in the new Law are onerous. This makes the provision of the government 6d service uncertain and difficult of performance.

Saturday 12th August 1815

John Forbes Mitchell retired from the partnership of Bruce Fawcett & Co on 31st July.

Saturday 12th August 1815

Nathaniel Edward Kindersley has retired from the London Agency House Porcher & Co of 9 Devonshire Square on 14th February. Joseph du Pre Porcher, Edward Fletcher and James Alexander continue the business in the same name.

Saturday 26th August 1815

James Gathorne Remington, the precedent partner of Bruce Fawcett & Co, is returning to London on the Bombay. The Parsees gave him a splendid party at Lowjee Castle. The Governor and all the important Generals and merchants attended. Lt Alexander G Forbes of the Pioneers has got 3 years leave of absence from the Indian army and is going with him.

Saturday 2nd September 1815

James Dinwiddie Ll.D. has died at Islington. He was long a teacher at the Mathematical School in Dumfries, Scotland. He later lectured extensively on science whereby he came to the notice of Lord Macartney and was selected to join the Embassy to China. He was put in charge of the mathematical instruments that were taken as presents to the Emperor.

On his return from China he came to India and lectured on botany at the Fort William College. He accumulated a competence during his Asian tour and returned to Britain to enjoy his leisure.

Saturday 30th September 1815

Our company M/s Smith Rickards & Co has opened in London as Agents for Indian trade. James Smith used to be with Forbes Smith & Co of Bombay; Robert Rickards was a Company servant in Bombay; William Bridgman is our London contact and John Forbes Mitchell has just left Bruce Fawcett & Co of Bombay to join us.

We have the support of John Forbes of Fitzroy Square and his nephew Charles Forbes MP, precedent partner of Forbes & Co of Bombay. We have offered a partnership to Charles Forbes at any time he likes to take it.

Saturday 28th October 1815

There is a Company bye-law that no person can become a Director unless he has resided in England for a continuous period of two years. Its one of the measures introduced sixty years ago to defeat Clive’s employee takeover.

John Lumsden will qualify in July 1816 after 36 years in the Bengal civil service. He served in the political, revenue, judicial and commercial departments of the Company and spent his last 7 years on the Supreme Council.

Mitchie Forbes is also seeking for a place on the Company’s Board. He spent 15 years in India, first in the revenue department at Madras then in private commerce in Bombay.

Saturday 18th November 1815

The British parliament has empowered the Company to remove from its monopoly trading area any persons, not being British or Indian citizens, who do not have the consent of the Company to their residence.

Such people are to be served with a notice of expulsion.

If they fail to leave promptly, they may be brought before an appropriate civil or criminal court and, on the evidence of any credible witness that they are aliens and have been served with the notice, they are to be remanded in custody and returned to their supposed place of origin.

Appellants have 20 days to give notice of appeals and their cause lapses after three years.

Saturday 2nd December 1815

Four local employees of the Bombay Collector have been convicted without trial of embezzlement of the Company’s revenue. An advertisement in the newspaper says they are dismissed and no Company formation may employ them again.

Saturday 2nd December 1815

R Smith MP has moved in the House of Commons on 13th June that Britain retain Banca for its tin mines and give Cochin or some other equivalent to the Dutch. This proposal is intended to form part of the arrangements we are making with the House of Orange to subsidise their re-establishment after the defeat of democracy. The £1 million compensation already paid is just for the Cape and Demerara which we are also keeping.


1816 – Whole year missing in BL copy

1817 – Whole year missing in BL copy

During the last two years, which papers are missing in the British Library copy, the volume of shipping in Indian ports has immensely increased and the destinations of voyages have become more varied. It’s the peace dividend and the result of political initiatives in London.

There are now ships departing for Greenock, Liverpool and other British outports as well as Danish and other European and American ports.

Regrettably the absence of papers for these two years means all details of the proceedings at Vienna that have so far been settled for the future shape of Europe are unavailable.

Canton Register Vol 13 No 42 – 20th October 1840

China news – The departure of some of our ships from China is delayed due to extensive desertions in the crews. Macau recently appointed a Ghaut Serang (A Serang is the leader of a group of Lascars) to assist in regulating the port and he has induced seamen to desert. Macau is full of Lascars. They offer themselves for re-employment through the Ghaut Serang but at enormous salaries – $9 per month and six months advance payment. The Ghaut Serang is responsible for this organised labour movement. It is a conspiracy. He allures the lascars with promises of high pay; they reside in his accommodation enjoying wine and women and incurring debts which he then distrains from their prospective wages.

A similar system was briefly attempted in 1816-17 in Calcutta and was brought to an end only after Lascars burnt the shipping in the Hooghly.[185]

Saturday 3rd January 1818

Hutton & Co has opened an Agency House at Calcutta. We co-operate with Forbes & Co of Bombay and Smith Rickards & Co of London. Our partners are Thomas Hutton formerly of Hutton & Forbes of Penang and Thomas Allport formerly of Forbes & Co Bombay.

The Company’s Indian agent is Nowrojee Sorabjee.

Saturday 3rd January 1818

Sir John Malcolm is at Ujjain negotiating with Holkar. Holkar’s army totals about 11,000 cavalry (Maratha Horse) and a similar number of infantry. The Madras army obtained a signal victory over Holkar on 21st December. A quarter of our engaged force was killed or wounded but we won eventually.

The Rajah of Berar has been captured by a British force near Nagpore and his troops have dispersed. There remains only a corps of 3,000 Arabs in his palace, armed with matchlocks, who agree to withdraw once they are paid their arrears of wages.

We have negotiated peace with Sindhia at Gwalior. The Treaty we made with him on 5th November 1817 refers to the Pindaris whose activities have spread throughout India. It obliges both parties to fight and disperse Pindari units wherever they are found and capture their leaders for prosecution by the Company. As Pindaris are removed from the lands they have usurped, the territory will be returned to its former owner. If the previous owner cannot be found, title passes to Sindhia.

A British officer will be seconded to each of Sindhia’s army units. To fund the army, Sindhia agrees to renounce the money the Company pays him, his family and ministers and apply it to military costs, to be disbursed by the British officers seconded for his protection.

Sindhia also renounces for two years the tribute he receives from Jodpore, Boondee and Kotah. He engages to prohibit his officers from recruiting Pindaris into their ranks.

The Company agrees not to interfere in Sindhia’s dependencies of Malwa or Gujerat.

On conclusion of the war against the Pindaris, the Company undertakes to extensively increase Sindhia’s domains.

The Company assessed this treaty as progressive although there are doubts whether Sindhia can perform all his undertakings against the other Marathas. Nevertheless, if we can keep him docile while we deal with Holkar and the Rajah of Berar, it will be worthwhile.

The Marquis of Hastings (Moira) and CiC of the Company’s army, is at Sikundra near the Jumna, with 10,000 men.[186]

Saturday 10th January 1818

The Grand Jury selected for Sessions of the Bombay Court now has half its members supplied by Captains from the Company’s army.

Many cases involve drunkenness and violence by soldiers from the European regiments.

Saturday 17th January 1818

Isaac Morier, the Company’s Resident at Constantinople has died.

Saturday 24th January 1818

Holkar has made peace with us and agreed treaty terms on 6th January. Malcolm negotiated for the Company. Holkar accepts our protection and will live at Rampura or Mindpura under a small British force. He concedes to the Company his right to negotiate with his neighbouring states. He may make no alliances without Company approval. He accepts a British Resident at his court who will supervise him. He will employ no Europeans or Americans without Company approval.

The tribute and revenue paid to him by the Rajputs (of Oudipure, Jaipore, Jodpore, Kotah, Boondee, etc.) will be forwarded to the Company. He has ceded some land to us. He will discharge all his army except 3,000 horse who must co-operate with the Company. He expressly repudiates the supremacy of the Peshwa over him. He agrees to co-operate with us against freebooters. The Company undertakes not to interfere with his family or subjects.

Saturday 24th January 1818

The Peshwa attacked Mountstuart Elphinstone, the British Resident, and his small guard on 6th November at his court in Poona. Elphinstone had no cavalry and only one European battalion and three native battalions but he successfully beat-off the Peshwa’s men.

The Company had formerly suspected the Peshwa was the guiding hand directing the combined forces of the Marathas against it and Elphinstone accordingly had made a pre-emptive attack, before the Peshwa could better defend himself.

This led to obtaining his signature on the Treaty of 18th June 1817 ceding large tracts of territory to the Company along with several forts and his acceptance of a Company Resident at his Court.

This pre-emptive act of Elphinstone was applauded throughout British India but caused the Peshwa to feel resentment.

The Peshwa’s response ensued on 6th November near Poona in which 2,800 Company troops defeated the Peshwa’s army of 25,000 and secured his submission. The Directors are satisfied and have offered Elphinstone the Governorship of Bombay.

Saturday 14th February 1818

Parry has rejoined the Madras partnership of Pugh & Breithaupt on 1st January which will henceforth be known as M/s Parry Pugh & Breithaupt.

Saturday 14th February 1818

Middle East news:

  • The Wahhabis are again being chased around Arabia by Ibrahim, the Pasha of Egypt & Arabia, and by autumn last year had been forced back into their last stronghold – the fortified town of Deriah. Abdullah bin Saud’s latest rebellion appears to be on the verge of failure.
  • Saudi followers are still strong at sea – they have a fleet of 25 dhows and 15 battillas that act like privateers in the Gulf. They have just captured five large cargo ships at Assetto.[187]
  • Meanwhile our friend Jaffir Ali Khan, who came as Persian ambassador to British India, has died at Shiraz on 2nd December. He was the son of Hussain Ali Khan, the famous Nawab of Masulipatam.

Saturday 14th February 1818

The Rajah of Jodpore has submitted to us. He signed a treaty with us on 6th January. No details are yet available.

Saturday 14th February 1818

Governor-General’s General Orders for 9th December:

The war with the Pindari outlaws is peculiarly widespread. They seem to have a multitude of separate cavalry units that pop-up all over India. To encourage the troops to better efforts, the Governor-General allows units taking prizes to monopolise the value i.e. the army will not receive the prize money as a whole but it will be disbursed to individual companies in respect of their own conquests.

However, all captured horses, that conform with the Company’s requirements as to size etc., will be taken into Company service and unit commanders will immediately pay prize money for them to the captors.

Saturday 21st February 1818

Letter from the Company Directors, 3rd July 1817 – the proprietor of a new newspaper ‘Spirit of the Times’ has our permission to send his newspaper throughout India free of postal charges for six months. He’s a friend.

Saturday 21st February 1818

Kurreem, the Pindari chief at Poona, died recently and his son Namdar Khan assumed the leadership and immediately sent in his surrender to Colonel Adams.

Thursday 26th February 1818 Extraordinary

General Smith has beaten Gokla’s forces at Ashna on 22nd January. We killed Gokla and bought his body into camp and burned it.

We also captured the Rajah of Sattara and his family.

The Peshwa was there but escaped. We expect the rebellion in the Deccan to soon come to an end.[188]

Saturday 14th March 1818

Americans are all over Asia providing their usual diversified services. There is a huge advertisement in this edition for passengers on the coppered 600 ton Horatio (Bunker) sailing from Bombay for Mauritius and New York. Contact the Bombay Agent , Nowrojee Nasserwanjee.

Saturday 28th March 1818

The Directors have sent an explanatory note to the Governor-General concerning the effect of two recent enactments – 53rd George III Cap 155 and 57th George III Cap 95.

These are applicable to European and American shipping and should not be enforced on the existing Arab trade with Ceylon and India.

Saturday 28th March 1818

Elphinstone, our Resident at Poona, held a durbar at which the shastris accepted his presents, an indication of their submission to our rule and repudiation of the Peshwa’s former rule. This is a great advance in our position in the Deccan and will irritate Bajee Rao and the remaining groups that oppose us.

Most of the Indian Muslims have abandoned the struggle with us and the Peshwa himself can rely on only 3,000 – 4,000 Arab soldiers.

Saturday 28th March 1818

Mulla Firuz bin Kaus, the chief priest of the Parsees at Bombay, has a copy of the old Desatir – a long-lost collection of the writings of 15 ancient Persian prophets commencing from the time of Heraclitus to the time of Zoroaster (Zerdusht) and beyond to the fifth Sasan. It is considered to be the revelation of God. The language of the Desatir is not Zend, Pahlevi or Deri and has often baffled our scholars.

The Bombay Parsees obtained their copy from Isfahan about 44 years ago and use it to establish a calendar to fix their festivals and holy days.

The last known reference to the book was by the Parsee Behram Ferhad at the time of Emperor Akbar’s reign. An English translation has been made by Firuz and will be published by subscription shortly.

The Bombay Governor has undertaken to buy 100 copies and the other subscribers are thoroughly international – it seems to have evoked widespread interest. It will be published in two volumes at 35 Rupees.

Saturday 28th March 1818

E Gardner, our Resident at Kathmandu, has sent an interesting specimen to the Asiatic Society and another to Dr Wallach of the Botanical Gardens at Sibpur.

It is Daphne Cannabina (known as Lokta in India). It was later re-identified as Daphne Papyracea from which excellent paper may be made.

Saturday 4th April 1818

Four British merchants have left Penang for Aceh where they propose to establish business. The King of Aceh has been fighting a civil war for 35 years and few people are interested to invest in his country whilst he is in charge.

The new investors are bringing the son of Syed Hassan of Penang, a successful Arab-Malay businessman, as pretender to the throne and, if they can successful enthrone him, stand to profit substantially from his support.[189]

Saturday 11th April 1818

Our cotton trade seems to have fallen prey to speculators. The Mirzapur Bazaar prices have risen greatly. Banda, Kutchura, Furneal, Hatrass and Dass qualities are all more expensive.

This is a trade staple in which we exporters compete with the American slave-grown supply and price is fundamentally important. Fortunately, the stock at Mirzapur is increasing, suggesting sales are slow and the market is resisting the speculative attempt.

Stock is now 160,000 Mirzapur maunds (c. 15 million pounds).

It appears the Company’s army had a role in the sting by commandeering the wagons used to transport cotton from the farms to the river. This prevented the farmers bringing their harvest to market and gave the speculators grounds to anticipate a quick profit.

They overlooked the fact that sales at Canton have been slow – the merchants in China report stock-on-hand of 78,000 bales (23.5 million pounds).

Now the war in the Concan and Deccan is coming to an end, transport to the river will again become possible and we hope to see a reduction of price.

Saturday 11th April 1818

Malthus, a teacher at the Company’s academy at Haileybury, identifies an irrational cause to British territorial greatness:

  • When England was expelled from France, we found America;
  • when we were expelled from America we found India.

Malthus concludes from these two examples that there is ‘an unknown force’ that maintains our sources of revenue.[190]

It is like the story of Vishnu assuming human form and requesting a grant of land the size of an arrow’s flight. When the request was granted, he shot his arrow the length of the sub-continent. In the same way, our handful of buildings in a few coastal ports has been transmuted into command of the entire country.

India is not a British colony; the Company administers it directly. Every year 30-40 young writers are sent out to learn and assume the task of government. This is not a casual selection. They are sons (or the sons of friends) of Directors who have an inside knowledge of India and an interest in its development. They are inspired, persevering and diligent chaps who decorate our administration. There is no irruption of low-born merit into India, indeed the unrestricted access of Englishmen to India would be disastrous for the natives. The ministry would like to get control of our Indian government and we pay an enormous tax to placate and dissuade them. Indian patronage is the perquisite of a privileged few and we must make extraordinary endeavours to ensure that those we send out are properly qualified.

Our early administration was by a handful of Englishmen working through local officers. In 1765 we got Bengal etc., and had to consider the administration of justice on the Bengalis. At first we concerned ourselves with criminal justice but abuses in the native courts required we assume the civil jurisdiction too and that occurred about 1790. The early English adventurers to India were a venal acquisitive group who predated on the land and the greater their numbers, the poorer the country became.

Then the French Revolution unleashed a torrent of democratic criticism with harrowing descriptions of Indian conditions.

The first ministerial attempt to take a share was 10 years after Clive obtained Bengal (7th George III Cap 57) and was solely to get some of the revenue. The restraint on English people coming to India tended to ensure that those who came did not intend to reside here long – they came for the money and for the prospect of returning to England with wealth and consequent prestige.

Some few recognised the harshness of our rule and tried to ameliorate India’s burden and this reached its zenith with the administration of Cornwallis who promoted on merit (only the civil officers; the army continued to be promoted on seniority).

Later Wellesley commenced the College at Fort William which has become a repository of Asian philosophy and English principles. His purpose was to remedy the deficiencies of the civil service by spreading an understanding of Indian languages, customs and philosophy.

It had appeared at that time that the civil service, with a few exceptions, was a collection of commercial agents – travelling salesmen on elephants.[191]

Nowadays the names of the ranks of civil servants – writers, factors and merchants – are no longer exclusively commercial. Most of the Company’s servants are now employed collecting revenue, settling disputes and maintaining order – they need no commercial knowledge at all. Adam Smith’s charge that the Company forgot its sovereignty in its pursuit of commerce is not maintainable in the 19th century.

The events of the last twenty years in Europe have shown us that a nation can combine towering success in arms overseas with oppression and impoverishment at home. Political aggrandisement may be bought by expending private happiness – suffering is splendid, we are ‘doing our bit’. War and Treaties are the foreign trade of glory which, like the foreign trade in wealth, has become pre-eminent in our political purposes.

Three year’s attendance at Haileybury was required of all officials appointed to the Bengal civil service. This academic venture was hardly welcomed by the Directors who suspended it and, on protests being made, revived it solely as a language school. For the other qualifications, they opined that England was the proper place to acquire them. The Board of Control took the part of the Directors but, as Wellesley was powerful at the time, the ministry struck out most of the Directors’ complaints, leaving only the complaint of cost ……

(the complete article continues over several pages of newspaper)

Saturday 18th April 1818

Notice, 3rd June 1814 Republished – the Governor requires a daily report of the names and descriptions of all Europeans and Americans arriving at or departing from Bombay. Officers of the Company’s army and the British army are exempt.

All persons arriving or intending to depart will report to the Town Mayor in the fort. Arrivals will also provide their local address. This applies to people ordinarily resident in Bombay, Salsette, Caranja and Elephanta.

Any European found without a Bombay passport will be arrested. A reward of 10 Rupees will be paid to informers who report vagrant Europeans.

Saturday 9th May 1818

Our Governor of Madras has returned the sovereignty of the former Dutch possessions in Asia to J A van Braam, the Dutch King’s authorised representative, in a ceremony on 31st March 1818.

We continued our government of Java, etc., while the Dutch resolved their domestic problems but now they are ready to receive back their colonies.

Saturday 16th May 1818

Bombay, 16th May – James Ritchie and John Robert Steuart have admitted James Finlay & Co of Glasgow and H J  &  R Barton of Manchester into the partnership. The firm continues in the style Ritchie Steuart & Co.

Saturday 23rd May 1818

Ibrahim, son of the Pasha of Egypt and Arabia, has besieged Deriah, the stronghold of the Wahhabis in Arabia and Abdullah bin Saud has reportedly fled.

Saturday 23rd May 1818

The latest war in the Deccan is over and the army is being disbanded.

  • Elphinstone is appointed British Commissioner to apportion the lands taken from the Peshwa.
  • James Grant is appointed Political Agent to the Rajah of Satarrah.
  • Henry Pottinger is made Collector at Ahmedabad.
  • Henry Robertson has the same job at Poona.

A new road is to be built connecting Bombay with Poona reducing the distance by 18 miles. The old road via Panwell will be abandoned.

Saturday 23rd May 1818

The Dutch factory at Surat has been re-opened by B C Verploegh as deputy to the Dutch Viceroy van Braam. Baron J C G van Albedyell is to manage the factory – ship’s captains are advised he is to receive the same honours as a British chief.

Sat 13th June 1818

King Ferdinand VII has forbidden Spaniards to trade in slaves north of the Equator and has limited the time remaining for the trade in the southern hemisphere to 2 years and 5 months.

The penalty for disobedience is transportation to the Philippines.

Saturday 13th June 1818

Lt General Floyd, Colonel of the 8th dragoons, has died in London of gout of the stomach.

His regiment, being based in India, is one of the most lucrative in the gift of the King. It has been conferred on Lord Edward Somerset.[192]

Saturday 20th June 1818

John Williams, the Collector of Salsette & Caranja, has died. The Company will take the opportunity of this interruption to transfer the districts to the Northern Concan. They will all be administered by Marriot at Tannah.

Saturday 27th June 1818

Sir Thomas Raffles has arrived at Bencoolen to take up his new job as Governor of that insignificant port. He has been travelling through the interior of Sumatra and is well-informed of its commercial potential.

Saturday 27th June 1818

The Rajah of Nagpore has escaped from us. We caught him but he swapped clothes with a sepoy and marched out of our camp unnoticed. He has gone to Hurree Fort where he has 4,000 troops armed with matchlocks.

We are not too worried about his escape as we have reduced most of the Maratha forts but the assistance he received from our sepoys is a matter for concern.

Saturday 4th July 1818

The Company’s Financial Department is inviting sealed bids to operate the Bombay mint. Details from the assay-master at the mint. Submit bids on 22nd July.

Saturday 4th July 1818

Major Jardine’s detachment has occupied Nandurbar on the Malwa border. It is sited on the Tapti River a hundred miles upstream from Surat.

Saturday 4th July 1818

The Company wishes to possess the Danish colonies in India – Tranquebar, etc. Denmark is willing to exchange them for Puerto Rico but it is unclear if Ferdinand will agree (Puerto Rico is nominally Spanish).

The British government, on behalf of the Company, has offered Denmark £4 millions for the Indian ports. Negotiations continue.

Saturday 11th July 1818

Joseph Hume, a Company shareholder and MP, has queried the Directors about high costs in Madras. The Company says its own commerce is loss-making but in Madras the usual necessaries of life cost from 10 – 37% more than at Calcutta or Bombay.

Hume also queried Director Huddlestone who is accused of cowardice in Wilkes’ History of Mysore. The offence occurred 34 years ago. Huddlestone said he knew of the allegation and would refute it on Oath before the next election (he is a candidate).

There were two English witnesses – Sir George Staunton and another, but Wilkes published his book only after they had both died.[193]

Saturday 8th August 1818

Bombay 8th August – John Cartwright has been appointed the Company’s Agent at Constantinople in place of the late Isaac Morier.

Saturday 15th August 1818

Notice, 1st August – Luis Francisco da Silva and Francisco Antonio de Carvalho have been admitted to the Bombay partnership of Sir Roger d’Faria & Co.

Saturday 5th September 1818

The merchants of Calcutta have thanked Hastings (Moira), the Governor-General, for confronting the insurrections in the Deccan and elsewhere.

“The residents of the Maratha states are all poor people and easily incited by promise of plunder. At an early stage in the war, the Peshwa and the Rajah of Berar both reneged on their treaty obligations to the Company and joined the opposition. They were encouraged by the early successes of the Gurkhas in Nepal and assumed a mobile war with us in inaccessible country would be successful for them too.[194] We have shown them that, in time, our reach extends everywhere. The sieges of Poona and Nagpore have revealed their numerical superiority is insufficient to shake off our yoke. We congratulate you on bringing new lands under the Company’s rule.”

Moira has taken the opportunity of this fulsome praise to deny aggrandisement and explain, blow by blow, how the war came to occur, in his opinion. Its in the Indian Government Gazette of 4th August and is intended for a European audience:

We have changed the rulers of those states that would not work with us. We have elevated the prince of Bhopal and the two major Maratha kings – Sindhia and Holkar. Our main object was to suppress the influence of the Pindaris and deny them the sources of their former income. They were formidable because they amassed 25,000 – 30,000 horsemen and pursued a form of mobile war that made it difficult for us to bring them to battle. The Pindaris were an ungovernable part of Sindhia’s army. They willingly adopted the projects of Ameer Khan. My policy was to deter Sindhia and Ameer Khan from countenancing Pindari activity by diminishing their territorial power and increasing that of their neighbours.

My particular concern was my treaty obligation to Sindhia that obliged the Company not to invade the western provinces (the Rajputs). Had the Pindaris been able to enter the Rajput states they might have conceivably united with Ameer Khan and become formidable.

To avoid the treaty obligation, I accused Sindhia of inciting the Pindaris to invade us – that effectively brought any obligations the Company might have had to him to an end.

I had a second argument – that Sindhia the year before had assisted the Peshwa to subvert the Company’s authority in the Peshwa’s domains. Finally I had prisoners who told me Sindhia had promised to join the Pindaris. These Pindari prisoners provided me with Sindhia’s letters to a foreign power offering his co-operation against us. I returned them to him unopened in his own Durbar. I did not need to break his seals because I already had the gist of it in the intercepted letters of his underlings.

The fact is we have to work through these local governments so we told him we would require a new Treaty to mitigate the risk of his known treachery and in this way obtained his agreement to annihilate the Pindaris. Thus the Company obtained via Sindhia, a right of protection over the Rajput states and Rajput agreement to deny the Pindaris any succour.

As regards Ameer Khan, I had to act decisively. I told him central India had to be tranquillised. If he helped us, we would guarantee his possessions to him; if he refused, we would attack him, disband his armies and tranquillise the land ourselves. I had surrounded him with three armies and he had no hope of succour from his erstwhile friends. In this situation, he submitted in early November.

Concerning Holkar’s people, since his death his lands have been ruled by his widow during the minority of young Holkar. She could not control the Sirdars and asked me for help. I did not burden her with a subsidy or a garrison – I just agreed a defensive alliance but she lost control of the Sirdars who marched to the aid of the Peshwa. The widow expostulated with her advisers and was executed in spite of our armies surrounding Holkar’s lands.

The Rajah of Nagpore was similarly misled and attacked our Resident. We eventually had to remove him from the throne. In fact we discovered the intrigues of the Peshwa extended to almost every Court in India. I told the Peshwa I knew what he was planning and offered to forget the past if he would secure the future. He blamed his agents. Soon afterwards we learned he proposed to raise an army to confront Trimbukjee’s rebellion but we already knew that uprising was financed by the Peshwa. One may wonder what purpose he really had in mind for this army and who he was proposing to attack.

We surrounded him in his capital. He had previously agreed in the Treaty of Bassein to provide us with 5,000 cavalry but had never performed that agreement. We now insisted he transfer sufficient land to us to support such a force.

With hindsight it is apparent it was the Peshwa who organised this widespread revolt against us – it was intended to destroy our power in India. But we had already neutralised Sindhia and Ameer Khan when the Peshwa tried to murder Elphinstone, our Resident, and issue the call to civil war. He had only Holkar and the Rajah of Nagpore to rely upon. Both of these recognised an obligation to perform the orders of the Peshwa, their master. The Peshwa advanced his army to the River Warda but instead of finding the army of Nagpore he found us waiting for him. He was now out of his own lands and the possibility of his removal from sovereignty of the Poona dominions arose. We had no-one of his stature to replace him – it had to be one of his family who enjoyed the approval of the Maratha princes. The territories of Bajee Rao, the former Peshwa, are held by us; Holkar has lost two thirds of his lands in his successive attempts to diminish our power. We gave that land to the Rajahs of Kotah and Boondee and to other Rajput chiefs whose strengthening was our policy (less that part necessary to provide a revenue for our garrisons in the area). Our purpose has been to divide the country into more equal princedoms that will fear each other and thus maintain the peace.[195]

It was then I was informed that Sindhia had told the Pindaris that if they could approach to Gwalior, he would break his treaty with us and join them. I placed an army between the two parties and Sindhia backed down.

It is unsurprising that those native princes who have been dispossessed of their lands should resent us. We occupy new lands each year, unite the country and bring settled government, not because we are acquisitive as they say in London, but because we have no choice. And each new acquisition brings us into contact with new neighbours who might be equally resentful of our proximity.

The recent struggle with the Marathas has given the Company a western frontier on the Indus. Thank Heavens. Between the Indus and Calcutta there are now only states bound together with us by a common purpose. Maratha power is broken. We no longer care what Sindhia does or thinks – we have surrounded his lands with powerful fiefs through which we can control him whenever we wish to do so. Those fiefs were raised to power by the extra revenue from additional lands they received from us – they owe us. I hope Sindhia realises that his continuing existence depends on his co-operation with us. The remaining independent states all wish to be feudatory to us – they implore our protection.

We have not conquered this vast territory. On the contrary the native rulers have attacked us and been defeated. It is thus that the country has come under our control. This is why the Rajputs solicit our hegemony. It is to save them from the interminable wars of their rulers. We are largely unconcerned with the internal government of states in alliance with us. We seldom interfere with their culture and traditions.[196] Lands which have repeatedly been battlefields are once again coming under the plough. We are here for the money and we support production and the increase of wealth – ours, yours, everybody’s.

Saturday 12th September 1818

London, 21st April – the Company has elected six new Directors, the old ones going out by rotation. Richard Chichely Plowden is in, Hugh Lindsay is out, etc. The new Chairman and deputy are James Patterson and Campbell Marjoribanks.

Saturday 12th September 1818

House of Commons, 15th May – Howarth MP spoke in a debate on India: In 1784 Lord Melville introduced some resolutions concerning our policy in India. One was that we should not extend our Empire by conquest. That resolution became law in 1793. Strangely, if one compares the map of British India done in 1784 with the map today, one finds the area under our control has ballooned. How did that happen?

The Pindaris are a group of Indians that do not farm and prefer to descend on the sown at harvest time and take what they need. From this they have evolved into a group of mounted predators living a Mongol-type life in the heart of India. The Pindaris abound in northern India.

The Company declared war on them but has actually been fighting all the various arms of the Maratha Confederacy – the Peshwa, Holkar, Sindhia, Rajah of Berar, etc. – on the evanescent assertion it is those Princes who sustain the Pindaris.

The Governor-General is leading 100,000 men in these numerous separate assaults. He has occupied the capitals of Holkar, Sindhia and the Peshwa. He is not managing the shop at Calcutta.

Howarth called for details of all the Company’s treaties since 1804 and sight of the correspondence relative to our relations with the various parties we are attacking.

Canning, for the ministry, said he would provide what he could. H M Government had no idea why the Company was fighting Berar, but had some information on the other wars. Concerning the Peshwa, we were treating him with respect and attention when he suddenly and unprovokedly attacked us. Canning said the Pindaris held no territory of their own – they are almost nomadic. They suddenly attacked the lands of the Company and / or its allies and that required a response. Our Indian administration is composed of good people, pacific and forbearing, but we have to confront those who disturb our peace, he said.

Saturday 17th October 1818

One of the remarkable things in judicial practice at Bombay is the immutability of the identity of jurymen – they are always more or less the same 19 people – local senior traders and army officers.

Saturday 14th November 1818

The late Walter Ewer owned an estate called Bantongon near Bencoolen on Sumatra. Its about 10 miles from Fort Marlborough. He bequeathed it to his sons John and Walter but the Company had claims on him and has got a judgment at Calcutta encumbering the Estate.

The heirs have been obliged to put the property up for auction at Calcutta on 23rd March 1819 to create a fund to satisfy the Company. The title deeds are issued by the Company and may be seen at the office of the Company’s solicitor.

The interesting thing from a commercial viewpoint is the spice saplings that Ewer planted over 2½ acres of the property. About 2,000 nutmeg saplings will be ready for transplanting in a year. All the clove trees, of which there are a considerable number, are flourishing.

Saturday 14th November 1818

Deriah fell on 10th September 1818. Ibrahim Pasha, son of the Porte’s Viceroy of Egypt, encircled the town and attacked from all sides. The Wahhabi followers of Abdullah bin Saud were defeated. The town was razed to the ground.

Abdullah and five other rebels leaders were sent off to Egypt on 18th September to explain themselvers to Ibrahim’s father Mohamed Ali Pasha.

The remaining members of the House of Saud will be detained at Medina until the Viceroy’s pleasure is known. This will likely bring an end to the Wahhabi rebellion in Arabia.

At about the same time the Utoobee family which governs Bahrain voluntarily submitted to Constantinople.

Saturday 28th November 1818

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, newly appointed Governor of Bencoolen, is visiting the Danish settlement at Serampore, near Calcutta. He is said to be visiting missionaries there and will return to duty in a month.

Saturday 5th December 1818

The Company’s doctor at the Baghdad Residency is John Hine. He is unwell and has permission to return to England for three years.

Saturday 5th December 1818

London, New Times 30th June – The Company has contracted with the City’s copper importers for 1,000 tons of tough-cake copper at £193 a ton. Last year they bought the same quality copper in slightly less quantity and paid £100 per ton.[197]

Saturday 26th December 1818

India Gazette, 30th November – A while back, we placed the son of Syed Hussein, an opulent Penang merchant, on the throne of Aceh in order to bring an end to the constant warmongering in that province. Recently Hussein’s right hand man, Abdul Rahim, visited Pedier and stabbed Tunku Pikier to death. Rahim and his entourage were then killed and dismembered by the Tunku’s guards. Their body parts are on public display.

It was then asserted that King Hussein had paid Rahim $10,000 to murder the Tunku as he was thought to have a claim on the Aceh throne and thus pose a threat to Hussein.

Arising from this, our man Hussein was dethroned by an act of the people and the original warmongering King has been restored. The natives prefer their own man but the Penang chap has considerable resources and our support. He may yet prevail.

Saturday 26th December 1818

The Company’s native Bombay army was first formed in 1747 and has grown incrementally since then. The regiments are composed of Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians. Generally the Hindus are of the lower castes.

The Jews are very competent and disproportionately get promotion to non-commissioned and commissioned ranks but tend to become heavy drinkers in old age.

The Bombay sepoys are better sailors than the men in Calcutta – they are generally willing to serve overseas and readily went to Egypt in 1800.

They show their abilities best under hardship, When General Mathews’ army was captured by Tippoo in 1782 they displayed extreme fortitude.

Up until 1803, several detachments of Bombay sepoys were captured at sea by the French and imprisoned on Mauritius. They were continually tempted to change sides but in fact it was some of the European prisoners-of-war that defected, not the sepoys.

Saturday 9th January 1819

The Notice of 3rd June 1818 is recited – the Governor requires a daily report of all Europeans arriving or departing by sea or land from the Presidency. All arrivals will report to the senior Police Magistrate in the Fort specifying their intended address.

This is applicable to ordinary residents going to or returning from Salsette, Caranja, Elephanta etc.

Any European found in the Presidency without a passport will be arrested.

The Company’s civil and military employees are exempt.

A 10 Rupee reward will be paid for information about any European disobeying this Regulation.

Saturday 9th January 1819

Notice, 1st January – Arratoon Apcar has admitted his brother Gregory into his commercial agency and will henceforth trade as M/s Arratoon & Gregory Apcar.

(NB – their father Joseph is 68 years old and frail – he dies in April. He has been a leading Armenian merchant at Bombay for 20+ years)

Saturday 27th February 1819

The Rajah of Nagpore who escaped from us last year is now commanding a small army of Arabs and Pathans in the Maha Deo Hills.

Saturday 27th February 1819

Reports from Malwa suggest the clean-up of the Maratha rebels is continuing and we now have the whole coast of India from Cape Comorin to Jigat either in our direct possession or under our control.

Saturday 27th February 1819

Madras Courier, 9th February – The return of the Dutch has occasioned friction with our settlements. The colonial Dutch appear to be as hostile to British trade as the Dutch at home are.

Local shipping trading to Dutch ports is required to fly the Dutch flag and to carry Dutch passports. They sent a military force to Palembang on Sumatra and evicted our garrison which they sent to Java.

They have tried to assert control over the Malacca Straits but the Queen of Kedah obtained the control of it during their absence and will not willingly relinquish it.

Sir Stamford Raffles is leading an expedition from Penang to Aceh to reinstate our appointed King Hussein. A second expedition is outfitting at Penang but its destination is not revealed.

The Dutch are incrementally re-occupying all the little ports they held before the war. A force of 15,000 troops is coming from Holland to recover their former grandeur.

Saturday 27th February 1819

29th January – David Ochterlony is made Resident at Delhi; C T Metcalfe becomes Secretary to the Political and Secret Department and private secretary to the Governor-General.

Saturday 13th March 1819

The period customarily allowed to occupy the Governorship of Bombay is almost expired and the London papers are speculating on Sir Evan Nepean’s successor. He himself hopes to stay for another 12-15 months but patronage does not work like that.

Canning at the Board of Control has suggested that one of the civil or military men who distinguished themselves in the recent Pindari Wars would be a good choice. Usually the Board of Control and Directors negotiate and the Board makes the announcement but Canning has unilaterally proposed the choice of Elphinstone, Malcolm or Munro and left the Directors to select from these. The Chairman likes Elphinstone best, then Malcolm but will submit to a ballot. If it comes down to seniority, which is a feature of the Company’s military organisation, it will be Malcolm for Governor of Bombay.

Saturday 20th March 1819

Hugh Elliot has been succeeded by Lord Walpole as Governor of the Madras Presidency.

Mountstuart Elphinstone is to replace Evan Nepean as Governor of Bombay.

Saturday 3rd April 1819

The Poway Estate on Salsette is for sale. It contains the villages of Poway, Trinidad, Compree and Sankey – about 800 persons. The land is suitable for sugar cane and rice farming.

The owner Dr Helenus Scott holds title in perpetuity from the Company on a quit rent of 3,094 Rupees per annum.

There is a dwelling house, a distillery and a sugar-refining building. Apart from hill-land there is about 1,000 Beegahs of cultivatable land.[198]

Saturday 3rd April 1819

M/s Mackintosh Fulton & McClintock traded at Calcutta until 30th April 1809 when Lachlan Mackintosh retired. It continued to trade under the same style until Robert McClintock retired when the partnership was dissolved.

John Williamson, Fulton Eneas Mackintosh and James Calder have now taken over this Agency business and renamed it as Mackintosh & Co on 1st March 1819.

Robert McClintock will recommence in Agency business at Calcutta separately as a sole proprietor. He has been trading in India for 23 years. He will make loans, discount bills and issue cheque books. He does not intend to issue bank notes.

Saturday 3rd April 1819

The Dutch have closed Surabaya and Semarang to trade except by special licence. All the international maritime trade is now done at Batavia for economy and control. A Dutch fleet of 4 capital ships and 6 frigates is based there. The import duties work out at nearly 20%.

All European manufactures and piece goods are selling at half-price.

Saturday 3rd April 1819

The Nabob of Bednore, Sahib Ghulam Muideen, arrived at Marseilles on 6th November 1818 en route to Paris and London.

He sailed from Madras to the Red Sea and took the overland route to Alexandria.

This is the first Indian Prince to visit France since Tippoo’s son in 1788 and he is in fact a near relation of Tippoo. The purpose of his visit to France is not published but in London he will interview some Company’s Directors and the Board of Control to discuss a matter on behalf of some native princes.

Saturday 10th April 1819

On 4th February 1819 Sir Stamford Raffles, as Agent of the Governor-General, made a treaty with the Sultan of Johore and the Tomongong of Singapore whereby the British flag was planted on the ruins of this ancient Hindu City of the Lions on 31st January this year. It is located at latitude 1° 16′ North.

Major Farquhar, our Resident at Malacca, will transfer to command the new possession once he has taken a holiday in England (Madras Presidency Regulations permit holidays between postings and Farquhar is on the Madras staff).

The trade route to China via Malacca Straits is only 5 miles off the port of Singapore and Capt Ross of the Company’s Marine Service has just done a survey of the sea approaches and declared them excellent. The anchorage has 4 – 7 Fathoms of draught over a soft muddy bottom and is protected from the wind from the north and south west – it’s a port for all seasons, day and night.

Between the town and the bay to its west is a creek that the native boats use – it looks suitable for ship-repairing. East of the town is a sandy beach that extends 2½ miles to the point – it will make a good defensive place for a battery. Fresh water, fish and turtle are abundant.

The native population is small and mainly Chinese. They are excellent farmers.

Raffles’ timing for this new settlement is good. He has acted most expeditiously in confronting the exclusive policies of the returning Dutch. It will attract business in watering and provisioning the passing maritime traffic and on that income we can build a low-tariff entrepot. We needed some such place to attract the trade in spices etc., back to us. It will also tend to prevent Dutch attempts from Malacca to monopolise the Straits and, finally, its one more safe port on the route to China.

Saturday 10th April 1819

Government Gazette, 18th March – Six Sepoys from the Bengal Army who deserted our service and joined the Marathas in the late war under Appa Sahib have been tried by court-martial, convicted and sentenced to be blown apart at the mouth of a cannon.

Saturday 17th April 1819

The defences of Singapore are being built and Malays are flocking in for work. The town is sited on the east side of a newly discovered river suitable for boats of up to 10 feet draught. We have declared all trade free of duty for the time being.

The Dutch Resident at Malacca had two small ships watching our proceedings and, as soon as we landed troops, one of them sailed away reportedly to call the Admiral from Batavia to deal with us. We expect the Dutch will seek to disrupt our proceedings if they get a chance.

With our own nominee ruling Aceh and our strong hold on Bencoolen, our interests in this area are improving. Raffles actually surveyed Carimon first but Singapore is better. It will be easier from there to issue passes to the Bongesses for the voyage up the Straits. The Bongesses have long tried to get up the Straits to Aceh and Penang but the Dutch always stop them and force them to trade at Malacca due, they say, to the absence of passes on their boats.[199]

Saturday 24th April 1819

Notice, 16th April – The Parsee merchant Pestonjee Ponchajee had two sons by his first wife – Nourojee and Ruttonjee – and two sons by the second – Jamsetjee and Sorabjee. The two pairs of sons have been in dispute over the apportionment of their father’s Estate. It has now been settled by arbitration.

Saturday 24th April 1819

The main clause in the treaty that Raffles made with Sultan Mohamed Shaw provides for an annual payment of $5,000 to the Sultan as the legitimate ruler of Singapore in return for which he permits the Company to build a town and a fort for its protection. It seems we hold Singapore by a lease not a cession.

This will disappoint the politicians but the merchants will not mind – its halfway to Shangri-la (China).

Saturday 1st May 1819

The Hibernia (Atkinson) has just completed a coasting voyage from Madras and all intermediate ports. It arrived Bombay 24th April and will sail for Penang in mid-May. For freight or passage contact Nasserwanjee Cowasjee Pitty of Meadow Street.

Saturday 1st May 1819

The blacks on the frontiers of our Cape Province keep taking our cattle and the Governor has enlisted every third man in the Colony into an armed militia.

The Royal Africa Corps, which protects the frontier, has experienced several deaths from these attacks – it sends off a force in pursuit and, at no great distance from our settlement, they find themselves unexpectedly surrounded by thousands of spear-shaking natives. Few of our men survive.

Saturday 8th May 1819

The Fatteh Alvadood (Richardson) has arrived from Bangkok with a cargo of sugar which sold here for $7 per picul. Richardson reports the Thais are still hostile to us. The King lives entirely secluded in town but is the sole merchant for the entire country. All commercial matters are delegated to a Chulia merchant who has the King’s confidence and speaks a little foreign language, something the King declines to learn.[200]

The seat of government has been moved from Yuthia to Bangkok, which is a small island where the King has erected a new palace and a huge temple.[201] There is a complete lack of elevated land and most of the houses thereabouts are built on stilts along the river bank. Some people live on boats. The population is mainly Chinese with minorities of Thais and Malays, both Muslims and Christians.

Official policy towards foreigners seems to duplicate the Burmese at Rangoon – Richardson was required to land his guns from the ship at Pakenham, a village 5 miles below the river bar, and warp up the river. Bangkok is 30 miles from Pakenham and the King’s palace is half a mile from the anchorage. Ships seldom go further up the river. Although the policy towards us is the same as towards the Burmese, the Thais do not get along tranquilly with their neighbours. Tavoy, Mergui and Phuket have a long history of changing ownership depending on the fortunes of the two respective Kings.

The killing of cows is forbidden in Thailand, even chickens are protected. They are quite troublesome people and none will trade with us until he gets a licence from the King. The Thais make their own gunpowder but they are always interested in our guns and that is a staple of our trade. They also buy Indian satin and silks but they are dabblers in trade and prefer enjoying themselves. One has to wait 3-4 months to conclude business. Some ships from Bombay and Madras have visited this year and several Americans too. Christians are tolerated but not protected.

The area around Bangkok was ceded to the French in Louis XIV’s reign but he was too busy with European problems to attend to it. It remained neglected until the Thai King resumed ownership and made it his capital. Since 1788 there has been little trade done by us except an annual ship from Surat that took kincobs (woven cotton cloth with interwoven gold or silver threads) and returned agala wood, sapan wood, beeswax and precious stones.

The whole river valley floods annually and this is the source of Thailand’s great fertility – rice and sugar are produced in immense quantities.

Saturday 8th May 1819

The Dutch have complained to London about Singapore. They say they have a prior treaty between their former Batavian government and the Sultan of Johore that prevents him ceding territory to other Europeans. They dispute the validity of our treaty ceding Singapore. The matter is being discussed in London.

Saturday 22nd May 1819

The Commercial Bank has been established at Calcutta by Joseph Barretto Sr and Jr, L Barretto, J Calder, J da Cruz, J W Fulton, E Mackintosh, J Melville and Soorjee Kumar Takoor. The bank manager is Mackintosh & Co.

Saturday 29th May 1819

Notice Calcutta, 1st May – Mackintosh & Co have admitted James Baillie Fraser to the partnership. The continuing partners are John Williamson, James Calder and Fulton Eneas Mackintosh.

Saturday 22nd May 1819

The Redwing sailed from Portsmouth in early December 1818 carrying Arbuthnot to St Helena. The purpose of his visit is unknown. The Redwing is one of the Company’s twelve new mail packets that are to provide a mail service for the Post Office. They sail from Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth. Seven ply between England and St Helena and the Cape and the other five ply between St Helena and the Indian Presidencies.

Saturday 22nd May 1819

The Company has set a limit of six on the number of barristers it licences to come to Madras to act at the Supreme Court. Two of them will always be the Company’s prosecutor and its Master in Equity.

Saturday 29th May 1819

Notice, Calcutta, 1st May – William Fairlie resigned his partnership in Fairlie Fergusson & Co on 5th February. The continuing partners are John Hutchison Fergusson, David Clark, Peter Peterson, John Melville and John Smith who will henceforth trade as Fergusson Clark & Co.

Saturday 29th May 1819

Calcutta Journal, 4th May – the Postmaster General here is being criticised. The Caledonia brought London mails to him on Tuesday. He delivered a few to his friends on Wednesday and some others on Friday and Saturday. He is still holding the rest. These letters contain news of Prices Current, they contain Bills and orders of the merchants. Their prompt delivery to all addressees would ensure that no one business gets an advantage over the others.

Notes sent to the Calcutta PMG enquiring after expected letters were returned with the advice that he was resting.

It has long been known that the postmen are permitted to take letters home in the evening supposedly for delivery the next day. Letters that cannot be delivered are legally required to be held in the Post Office at night. This misbehaviour has been going on for years. We protested to Sir Francis Freiling in London but he declined to act on private complaints. Now the Journal has published the Calcutta PMG’s scam, he should take notice.[202]

Saturday 5th June 1819

John Stewart retired from the partnership of Forbes & Co on 31st July 1818.

Saturday 5th June 1819

London, 1st January 1819 – Robert Rickards retired from the partnership Smith Rickards & Co on 31st December 1818 and David Deas Inglis (formerly of Forbes & Co) was admitted.

The continuing partners are James Smith, William Hay Leith, John Forbes Mitchell and William Bridgman Sr and Jr. The company continues trade commencing today under the style Smith Inglis & Co.

Saturday 5th June 1819

Calcutta, 10th May – the 3rd Tontine is being established 1st July 1819 for a five year term. The managers are George Cruttenden, Robert McClintock, Walter Davidson, George Mackillop and John Small.

The 1st Tontine was established on 1st July 1815 for 7 years. It was restricted to investments in government paper and the fund has now accumulated 530,000 Rupees and is increasing at about 30,000 Rupees per quarter but this low rate of interest (if 30,000 Rupees represents profit it is c. 22% a year) is unattractive.

The managers of the 2nd and 3rd Tontines were accordingly permitted to invest in either public or private securities as they saw fit. This flexibility is expected to make them more profitable. Profits are distributed to surviving investors at the end of the period.

A book has been opened at Calcutta for intending subscribers to the 3rd Tontine. One share is 2,000 Rupees. Late payments attract pro rata interest at 12% per year. Payments may be in cash or by acceptable drafts. Madras and Bombay residents are welcome to participate.

On closure of the Tontine on 30th June 1824, each subscriber must prove by sworn affidavit the continuing existence of the life assured. Failure to satisfactorily prove existence entails forfeiture. The fund will be distributed to qualifying subscribers on 1st January 1826.

Contact the 3rd Tontine Secretary John Bethune Inglis in Calcutta or Arbuthnot de Monte & Co in Madras or Shotton Malcolm & Co at Bombay.[203]

Saturday 5th June 1819

Ghulam Mindon Sahib, the vackeel of the Nabob of Bednore, has arrived in England for discussions with the Regent.[204] He travelled by the Red Sea / Egypt route. He dresses in the Persian fashion, is about 36 years old and is accompanied by Dr Ramsey as interpreter.

Saturday 5th June 1819

T Hooke, the Accomptant-General of Mauritius, has arrived under arrest in England. He was sent back by General Hall the CiC of the island on that soldier’s allegation of faulty accounting but was released on arrival by an order of the Secretary of State.

Saturday 5th June 1819

The Regent in his Address to parliament has assured the Lords and Commons that the war in India with the Marathas was forced upon the Company by aggression. The Company says it was a war on the Pindaris who destabilised settled provinces and prevented the Company’s receipt of its usual revenue. The Indian peoples would probably say it was another joint Muslim / Hindu attempt to throw off the British yoke.

The Americans, Dutch, French and Danes all accuse us of holding India for our own benefit – they think we should share access better. The Regent says it was not an expansionary move by the Governor-General – our accession to new territory and revenue was merely incidental. Indian manufacturing, commerce and trade since the war are flourishing.

The Indian Army CiC Hislop is criticised for executing the Killedar (Governor) of a fort in the rebellious provinces. The Talnair fort (commanding the Tapti River giving access to southern Malwa) was one of several that were agreed to be surrendered to us in our Treaty with Holkar. When we arrived at Talnair the Killedar declined to surrender although Holkar’s commissioners demanded he do so. We had no artillery with us and Hislop was unwilling to wait for a battering train so we took the place by assault. We lost some good men and summarily executed the Killedar in revenge.

Saturday 19th June 1819

Haarlem Gazette, 14th January 1819 – The English, who now have good information on Java as a result of their provisional government of the island, say the Javanese will throw off our (Dutch) yoke. Their opinion derives from a belief that British colonial administration is better than Dutch and will be missed by the Javans now we are reasserting our colonial system.

Raffles spoke eloquently about freeing the people but he employed 100 unpaid gardeners on his Estate. In fact he abandoned the Javanese to the rapacity of their chiefs. All his measures were provincial and none had effects throughout the island. When we recovered the island we discovered the great disparity between British reports of Java and the actuality on the ground.

The rule of law had been repeatedly proclaimed but Javan prisons were full of people who had neither been charged nor convicted. Freedom of commerce was repeatedly asserted but the actual economy was encumbered by an immense monopoly embracing all those import and export commodities whose supply was under the British India Company’s control.[205] The Company used its financial power to depress the prices of agricultural production and provide a market for speculators. The prices farmers now receive for their produce under Dutch administration are double what was paid under the Company’s provisional government.

The Moluccas represented an area where we Dutch had acted heavy-handedly but the British twice had the administration of these islands and never sought to alleviate the lot of the inhabitants. Unlike Java, Dutch laws were left untouched for the duration of British management of the islands. The people of Amboinya did not rebel to obtain admission to the British empire – they have always resented Europeans in their islands and rebelled successively against the Portuguese, Dutch and British as each in turn administered the place.

The English Company’s government is all form and no substance.

Saturday 19th June 1819

In 1811 Minto sent an expedition to Java to occupy that island for Britain. We conquered Batavia, Semarang and Surabaya and took over the place. Raffles set-up a government that has since been a great source of wealth to Britain. It was found that a few of the Sultans near the coast had submitted to the Dutch but some 5 million people in the interior (Jog Jakarta) were independent. Raffles made treaties with many of the Chiefs of these independent peoples.

The tin mines on Banca and Billiton Islands were inevitably desirable to the Company and Raffles sent an expedition to Palembang, the Sultan of which province owned the islands, to negotiate their transfer to British rule. We occupied his capital and, in return for the tin, we gave back his possessions, recognised his sovereignty and protected him.

The post-war agreement for the return of Dutch possessions that the Dutch had held in 1803 did not affect Banca because the Dutch had never held it (they had factories at Palembang and on Banca but had not formally annexed either territory). Castlereagh however gave Banca to the Dutch in exchange for Cochin. Raffles protested on behalf of the Sultan to whom he had guaranteed protection. There is already distrust of Europeans in Asia due to treaty breaches and Raffles wished to avoid Britain being further stigmatised in that way.

Bathurst declined to present the correspondence between Britain and the Netherlands in the Commons saying the restitution of colonies was still incomplete. He was of the view that Raffles should have extracted a pledge from the Dutch commissioners, who were recently sent to recover their possessions, that they would honour the agreement Britain made with the Sultan. It was the duty of the man-on-the-spot, nothing to do with us, Bathurst said.

Raffles contrarily thought he could hardly modify the over-riding agreement that had been made at Aix-la-Chapelle between the British ministry and the Dutch government. It seems the ministry overlooked the two types of native ruler they were dealing with in Java – those that had submitted to the Dutch prior to our occupation and those, like the Sultan of Palembang, who were independent of the Dutch and merely tolerated a Dutch presence for trading purposes.

The development is bad news for Raffles. In any dispute as to whether he or the minister erred, there can be no doubt as to the result.[206]

Bathurst’s second argument was that the ministry appointed Raffles as Lieutenant Governor of Bencoolen but this high rank was merely to publicly affirm ministerial support. He was in fact the Commercial Resident of Bencoolen, nothing more. He no longer had political authority. Raffles’ Protest should therefore be considered as the Protest of a Commercial Resident and of no political significance. Effectively, Raffles had no authority to Protest.

Lord Holland said the British government should try to maintain good faith. It should respect its treaties. We had exchanged protection of Palembang for the possession of Banca. Now we were withdrawing our protection, what of Banca? Raffles had one idea, whilst the ministry had another and has actually traded the island to the Dutch for Cochin. There appears to be an underlying carve-up of Asia upon which these local treaties appear like icebergs floating on the surface. It will be apparent to Asian Kings that agreements made between European countries to which they are not privy will always outweigh their bilateral agreements with any single European country. They will discover that our agreements with them lack certainty and are consequently unreliable.

Bathurst said Holland’s construction was wrong – we had acknowledged the Sultan’s sovereignty over Palembang in return for Banca. It went no further. Now the Dutch were succeeding us on Java, it was up to them to assume the responsibilities we had assumed towards the Sultan.

Liverpool said the Treaty of Paris, which dealt with the return of colonies, was unconditional. Britain could not request the Dutch to receive back their colonies on conditions. It has long been established in International Law (the law agreed amongst European Kings) that conquest gives sovereignty. In occupying Palembang and Banca we had conquered them and might reasonably hold them in perpetuity. Liverpool said this is the correct approach to be adopted by the ministry. As regards the Dutch factory on Banca prior to 1803, that was a trading post and fell short of the requirements for a colony. The Treaty of Paris contained a specific clause on Banca. It was because the island was not considered as a Dutch Colony before 1814. We swapped it for the perpetual sovereignty of Cochin. There remains only our duty to the Sultan to discharge.

Saturday 26th June 1819

In view of the Company’s accession to territory in Maratha lands pursuant on the Pindari War, the Directors require Marathi to be taught at the Fort William College. It wishes to appoint linguistically-qualified subalterns to regiments garrisoning those lands.

Saturday 26th June 1819

The treaty that the Dutch made with the Sultan of Johore long ago, and upon which they rely to dispossess Britain of Singapore, has been sent from Batavia to Holland. A copy has been sent to the Company’s Resident at Penang.

Saturday 3rd July 1819

The Calcutta Times, 8th June – The Nabob of Lucknow, the richest of the Indian rulers that are tributary to us, has declared his independence of the Grand Mughal at Delhi. He does not acknowledge Viceroy status and has assumed a royal title himself.

He mints coins in the name Shah Zemaun (King of the Earth). This is a blow to the Mughal although his authority has long been nominal.[207]

Saturday 10th July 1819

Raffles is leaving Bencoolen for Singapore with a small fleet of warships and three companies of native infantry. He will relieve the existing garrison.

Saturday 10th July 1819

Constantinople, 26th December – The Pasha of Egypt has brought Abdullah bin Saud to the Porte.

Saud’s mufti and treasurer are also on the brig together with a heap of treasure ‘plundered by the Wahhabis’ from Mecca. The prisoners were loaded with chains and drawn through the streets to the divan. They were asked a few questions and then incarcerated in Bostangi Pasha’s gaol.

Some days later the Porte held a celebration at the old Seraglio to mark his victory in Arabia. The prisoners were beheaded at that time. Abdullah’s daughter has assumed the command of the Wahhabi insurgents.

Saturday 21st August 1819

A return of the Indian army has been made, distinguishing the King’s regiments from the Company’s and distinguishing Europeans from natives:

Kings Cavalry 

Kings Infantry

Co’s Artillery

Co’s Infantry

Co’s Native Cavalry

Co’s Native Infantry

Irreg Native Artillery

Irreg Native Cavalry

Irreg Native Inf

Invalids, etc



17,858 =


3,120 =



8,759 =


17,082 =



22,550 Europeans


7,703 Europeans



152,585 Indians


24,741 Indians

5,875 Indians


Saturday 28th August 1819

Calcutta Journal, 28th July – One of the Dutch factories that Castlereagh agreed to return to the House of Orange is Padang (on the SW coast of Sumatra) but Raffles has delayed doing so. He is using whatever comes to hand to induce the Dutch to be more co-operative.

He told them he will retain Padang until a satisfactory arrangement for Palembang is reached. Raffles was first told to restore Padang in 1817 and it still has not happened. At first it was the Dutch who delayed saying they had insufficient troops to garrison the place.

Raffles public objection is the protectionist policy of the Dutch. We like our version of free trade whereas they are publishing high tariffs that discriminate against cargoes in British ships.

He needs to restore his reputation with the London ministry.

Saturday 4th September 1819

Last year Du Puy, the Dutch officer sent to assume the government of Padang, failed to receive the place from Raffles due to some unusual conditions. He returned to Batavia and a complaint was sent to Amsterdam and thence to London from where it has made its way back to Calcutta.

Raffles is ordered to surrender Padang to the Dutch. This is a victory for Raffles’ many enemies. Amongst whom he can now number Castlereagh. Since Minto’s departure Raffles is unprotected in India.

Saturday 18th September 1819

Letter to the Editor of Oriental Star – The situation at Palembang has changed. On the return of the Dutch they arrested the British merchants in the town and sent them to Batavia.

A few days later the population rioted, apparently at the direction of the Sultan Mahomed Badureddin, and forced the Dutch into a defensive position from whence they escaped in the night to the boats and sailed down-river to the ships. They then left for Batavia and Banca where they await a response to their request for a Dutch military expedition against the Sultan.

For the interim Palembang is independent of any European influence.

Saturday 25th September 1819

The newspaper Editors in Calcutta are discussing freedom of the press. The Calcutta Journal Editor (the lawyer Buckingham) says, since the office of Censor of the Press was abolished at Calcutta, Indian Editors enjoy the same freedom as in London. He singles out the Editor of the India Gazette (the formal government paper) and criticises him, and by implication others, for self-censorship.

All the other Editors deny this.

The discussion started in August when the Governor-General revised the Company’s rules for newspapers. The changes were circulated to Editors for ‘their education and guidance’. Editors are now personally accountable for everything they publish that is found to be in contravention of the Company’s Rules.

The Calcutta Journal’s editorial on the Governor-General’s initiative, based on the abolition of the Censorate, seems to assume that all censorship is thus ended, in contradiction to the precise terms of the circular.

The Bombay Courier Editor published an article commending the Calcutta Journal’s Editor to atone for his confrontational stance by meekness. The Bombay Courier was then accused by the Calcutta Journal, on the basis of some previous articles, of supporting freedom of the press. Its totally unfounded. We applaud freedom and are completely satisfied with the permissions in our licence. We defer to and co-operate with the Company, says the Bombay Courier Editor.

Saturday 25th September 1819

Syed Hussein, our nominee for King of Aceh, has been ordered back to Penang but our merchants say the Aceh people still prefer British rule.

Saturday 25th September 1819

Calcutta Journal, 27th August – There is a report from Burma dated 1st August saying the King died on 5th June at Ava after a reign of 38 years. His grandson has been made King. The new King has a brother – the Prince of Tonghoo – who was expected to seize power. He with his entire family were arrested, sealed into red sacks and thrown in the river. This form of execution is an honour reserved for royalty only. Tonghoo’s Estate is estimated to be worth 1.8 million Rupees.

Another leading figure in the Burmese Royal Family is the Prince of Prome, uncle of the new King, who was also suspected of treason. He was imprisoned, tortured and ultimately strangled. His Estate is reportedly larger than Tonghoo’s and is being distributed amongst the army officers to preserve their loyalty as well as may be.

Prome had a small fleet of armed river boats, the crews of five of which were implicated in treason, but they have been pardoned and banished.

The Prince of Prome’s son-in-law Mah Au Woodi was also arrested and imprisoned but avoided further inconvenience by voluntarily divorcing his wife and resuming his former position of commoner. He will now have to receive and perform the commands of his younger brother Kau Ra Woodi Mah who is still married into the Royal Family. Another Prince and one of the ministers have also been executed.

Altogether about 1,400 members of the nobility have been killed and it is rumoured some 10,000-odd disaffected troops have also left.

Once the King’s approaching death was foreseeable, the contents of the army’s armouries were transferred to the Royal Palace arsenal.

Saturday 25th September 1819

Calcutta Journal, 28th August – The rains were late this year and the landowners at Allahabad and Cawnpore were hoarding rice in expectation of increasing prices but the recent heavy rainfall across the country have assured us of a good harvest. The stored rice at Allahabad and Cawnpore is coming onto the market at very little more than the usual prices.

Saturday 9th October 1819

The Governor of Bombay Evan Nepean has extraordinarily booked passage to London on the free trade ship Albinia (Lynn) and not on a Company ship.

He will leave on about 1st November. His replacement is our ex-Resident to the Peshwa, Elphinstone. He is expected to arrive a few days earlier.[208]

Saturday 9th October 1819

The Company has chartered 13 ships, totalling 6,518 tons, to carry an army to the Persian Gulf under Major General Keir. It is paying the Indian ship owners an average 15 Rupees per ton per month. Mohamed Ali Khan, our old friend from Shiraz, will accompany the expedition as the guest of the CiC. The force will act against the pirate bases. Pirates have been predating on commercial shipping.[209]

Saturday 9th October 1819

Paul Thisselle sailed the brig Hope from Penang to Rangoon with a crew of Lascars. On arrival on 6th January 1819 three crewmen applied to the Rangoon Governor for sanctuary saying Thisselle had killed a crewman on the previous voyage and was incompetent to command men. The Governor sent them back to the ship with an official to obtain their arrears of wages. Thisselle declined to pay until they completed the voyage.

The British Resident at Rangoon is Gibson and he advised Thisselle to make a gift of a two-barrelled shotgun to the Governor and also agree to pay the three men their outstanding wages to adjust the matter.

Thisselle visited the Governor and handed over the shotgun. He confirmed he had been tried and acquitted for the murder of a crewman at Penang. The Governor then had the crewmen’s spokesman chained and tortured but he refused to amend his evidence. The Governor was persuaded he was truthful and proceeded to Stage Two of his enquiry. He arrested Thisselle and chained and tortured him but without obtaining a change in his evidence either.

Eventually all parties were released and returned to the brig on Thisselle’s agreement to pay the Governor 580 Ticals being the costs of his intervention.

Thisselle entered a formal protest against the Governor which was signed by five other ship captains then at Rangoon.[210]

Saturday 16th October 1819

Buckingham, the Editor of the Calcutta Journal, who is in dispute with the Governor-General over the freedom of the press, is advertising in Bombay Courier for subscribers.

It is unprecedented (at least since 1793 when the Bombay Courier started) for newspapers in one Presidency to advertise for subscriptions in another.

Saturday 30th October 1819

The Dutch are charging ½ Rupee per registered ton on shipping coming into Batavia for trade. Its unique. Dutch expenses in re-establishing themselves are high. There is a bloody insurrection at Macassar in the Spice Islands and a force of 1,500 troops has been sent to Palembang on Sumatra to suppress the Sultan.

Saturday 30th October 1819

The recent shortage of wheat at Bombay is attributed to large shipments sold to Mauritius in recent months. The Bombay bakers are paying 120 Rupees per candy. There is supposed to be a large stock in the north but the state of the roads after the rains make it difficult to transport here.

Saturday 6th November 1819

We declared a victory in the war with the Marathas months ago but large groups of Pindari cavalry were seen in Gujerat in September.

Saturday 13th November 1819

Notice, 3rd November – Effective 1st November, the districts of Candeish, Ahmednaggur and Poona are annexed permanently to the Company’s Presidency of Bombay. The district called the Southern Maratha Country is likewise annexed until further notice.

Chaplin is appointed Commissioner of the ceded territories. The military arrangements for these districts will remain unchanged.

Saturday 13th November 1819

Sumatra, 12th August – The Company is moving to take advantage of the Dutch high tax regime on Java. All Customs duties at Fort Marlborough on Sumatra have been abolished and the Governor of Bencoolen has applied to Calcutta for permission to abolish the import duties as well.

The Company’s pepper monopoly at Bencoolen has been cancelled and Sumatran pepper is now freely bought and sold. The currency used in our Sumatran factories has been improved so the face value approximates the intrinsic silver value.

The intention is to divert the coasting trade from Batavia and Semarang to British Sumatran ports.

Saturday 13th November 1819

India Gazette, 25th October – Singapore is off to a flying start. It seems to have captured most of the business of Rhio (Riau) and the ruler of that port, Rajah Mordah, has left for Singapore followed by most of his merchants. Rhio is full of empty houses whilst Singapore cannot build enough.

Saturday 27th November 1819

Notice, 25th November – The 9th article of the Treaty of Bassein released merchants from paying either Customs dues or transit fees on goods passing through the Maratha provinces to the Company’s army at Poona.

We have since conquered the Deccan and British merchants will be placed on the same footing as others. All goods passing through the old Maratha states will pay the same duties whether they are being sent to our army or to other buyers.

Saturday 11th December 1819

The Regent has issued a Warrant on 31st May establishing an Order of Precedence for the Company’s servants in India. Its in this year’s Bengal Almanac. Everyone from the Governor-General to the newest cadet is listed. This establishes their relative importance at all official functions and will doubtless influence their private lives as well. Merchants come between Advocates General and Masters & Commanders. Wives take rank in accordance with their husbands’ position unless they have precedence in England which overrules their husband’s job. Its a flexible caste system that allows promotions.

Saturday 11th December 1819

The merchants of Benares monopolise the trade of the Ganges. That city is the centre of both religion and the monied interest. Every shipment up or down the stream is consigned to Benares. There is no way passed them.

Saturday 18th December 1819

Lord Jocelyn has steered Chase’s Relief Bill through both Houses but the House of Lords amended it and he is now back in the Commons to get the amendment approved. He says he explained the bill previously and every clause is substantially true.

Canning said there is an Act of Parliament that makes loans to Indian princes illegal without the consent of the Presidency’s Governor-in-Council and Chase should have known it.

Jocelyn says the payments to the Nabob of the Carnatic were for the ultimate benefit of the Company and that was why the House of Commons passed the Bill last time.

Since then the House of Lords had removed the clause saying the loan was for the benefit of the Company and, without it, it was plainly contrary to law.

Warren supported the bill. The money was loaned with the knowledge of the Madras government and the Company had obtained an advantage from it.

J P Grant thought it was an injustice to the creditors, who had loaned £150,000 to the Nabob only to see it ultimately transferred to the Company’s benefit.

Jocelyn lost his motion 45/16.

Saturday 25th December 1819

One of the first acts of the new Bombay Governor Elphinstone has been to revise the Company’s censorship rules for newspapers in Bombay.

The Company no longer requires Editors to submit a copy of their newspaper to the government for approval before publication.

Saturday 25th December 1819

Political Dept, 26th November – James Marjoribanks is appointed Agent to the Governor-General in Bundelkund, Saugur and the Nerbudda Territories.

Saturday 1st January 1820

London, Notice 1st July – Robert Rickards, Eneas Mackintosh, James Law and Robert Dent have established at Agency at 15 Bishopsgate styled M/s Rickards Mackintosh Law & Co.

We will handle your exports to England and your investments with care. Contact our Bombay Agent Wm Millburn for details.

Saturday 1st January 1820

On 5th July 1819 the King of Ava died aged 79 years and his son and heir discovered a plot to usurp the throne by his uncles, the Princes of Prome and Tonghoo. They had laid explosives under the palace at Amarapura but the heavy rains dampened the powder.

Tonghoo and his family were placed in individual sacks and drowned in the river in accordance with Burmese law. Prome was fettered and imprisoned and has since died. Some 700 co-conspirators at Amarapura, and about 400 more in various principal towns have been extinguished and this appears to have been sufficient to avert a civil war.

The merchants of Rangoon generally supported the status quo and only three are known to have been executed. This limited fall-out from a change in sovereignty is attributed to Meda, the ex-Governor of Rangoon, who was brought to Ava and commended to the new King by the old shortly before his death.

Once tranquillity had been secured, the new King suspended the civil law and remitted the land tax and taxes on trade for three years. The present Governor of Rangoon, the greedy Mongshuizar, with whom we have to deal, went to Ava with 50,000 Rupees he had taxed off the merchants at Rangoon. He was not permitted to see the King, was stripped of his rank and titles notwithstanding his royal blood, and the money was sent back to the ‘donors’. The port charges at Rangoon have been reduced to 25% of Mongshuizar’s rate, which was the rate when the old King assumed the government. The foreign merchants have accordingly assessed the new King as humane and benevolent.

Saturday 8th January 1820

A long list of coins that are current in various parts of the Company’s territories together with the appropriate exchange rates is published in this edition.

Saturday 15th January 1820

Calcutta Journal, mid-October – The Dutch port at Macassar in the Celebes, from whence the original trade in spices was conducted, has been invaded by the Bugis. The Dutch Governor has lost a leg and many others are injured.

The Bugis people are formidable traders who range throughout South East Asia and have never submitted to any of the European powers. They object to having the price of their spice supply enhanced by Dutch taxes.

It appears their invasion resulted from a Dutch attempt to influence Abu Bakr, the Sultan of Pontianak (Kalimantan). On their return after the Napoleonic War, the Dutch sought to re-establish themselves at Pontianak and drafted a Treaty for the Sultan to sign. He was able to prevaricate for many months but, ultimately, he was induced to admit them to his territory, stipulating only that on his death his son should succeed him.

The Dutch say Abu Bakr was corrupt and violent. He was loathed by the people of Macassar but had such a comprehensive grip on the strings of power that the only means of replacing him was by violence. Their opportunity arose when the Sultan went on tour of his realm. He travelled to the village of Beha, some 3 hours journey from Macassar, where a Dutch military contingent was able to surround him in late August and cut his communications with his supporters. That’s not all they cut – some 150 people of the King’s escort were killed including Abu Bakr.

With the Sultan dead, the Dutch placed his brother on the throne contrary to their former guarantee. This was the cause of Bugis displeasure and their recent insurrection.

Saturday 15th January 1820

At the recent AGM of the Bank of Bengal, George Tyler and J W Fulton retired by rotation from the Direction and are replaced by J Barretto and McLintock.

Saturday 22nd January 1820

Bombay, 19th January – The ship Sarah (Norton) requires 20,000 Rupees to buy a cargo and will pay in 6-month Bills on Rickards Mackintosh Law & Co of London. She will sail about 1st February. Minimum subscription £200. Good chance to remit funds to London, etc. Her Bombay agent Wm Millburn will also accept private letters for London.

Thursday 24th February 1820 Extraordinary

Notice – Governor Elphinstone is going to Gujerat for inspection.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. The Bugis people originated in the S W peninsula of the Celebes but these traders were from the Riau archipelago south of Singapore. Bugis first controlled the tin markets in what is now Malaysia but this was stripped from them by the Dutch and they removed to Linggi, maintaining only some slight influence in Selangor. They traded throughout the S E Asian islands and small communities could be found at every port. They are Muslims.
  2. This puts an end to newspaper advertisements in London for jobs in India and largely restricts appointments to Company insiders
  3. The weights are actually given in seers which I have converted at 2 lbs per seer to highlight the huge quantities.
  4. This is the inflationary effect of the withdrawal of value from domestic currency due to war and its substitution by credit notes – see the Economy chapter.
  5. i.e. the costs of cadetships etc., vary according to which Presidency one applies.
  6. Coromandel was formerly known as Cholamundul and its capital was Tanjore. This is where the Cholia people came from.
  7. The Nerbudda is the river providing access to / egress from Malwa.
  8. Tobacco and hemp flourish ubiquitously in India – they are both weeds – and duty can only be collected within the British towns.
  9. As a general rule, when the Company discovers defalcations in its accounts, it publishes the name of the native employee and proscribes his employment in any Company unit or capacity. No formal judicial trial is indicated. The advertisements appear regularly but infrequently.
  10. Since the defeat of the Marathas, the mails are carried overland by dawk and run every 2/3 days. The service is managed by the army. When the rebel soldiers interrupted the mail, the Company ceased forwarding it, causing widespread complaint.
  11. Debates on Indian affairs generally attract less than one hundred MPs of whom some 60-odd seats represent the Company’s own supporters. It might be said that the Company thus legislates for itself except, as indicated in the article, when the ministry has a contrary agenda.
  12. This may be a letter from Madras. Army officers usually buy the Company’s India loans through the intermediary of the Agency Houses as they pay good interest and can be exchanged for Bills on London at tolerable exchange rates but the Madras Army is disenchanted for the time being over changed service conditions.
  13. See the China chapter for Admiral Drury’s attempted occupation of Macau, done in pursuit of the British belief that Portuguese colonies should submit to Britain as the occupiers and managers of Portugal during the King’s stay in Brazil.
  14. Muslim astronomy led the World until mid-sixteenth century when it was ruled incompatible with the Koran and the observatories dismantled. This gave the Jesuits a chance to assume the provision of time-keeping services at Beijing. The gift of a reliable calendar fixing the dates for planting and festivals was one of the great benefits of Chinese friendship to tributaries.
  15. These are many of the commodities the Company still monopolises.
  16. For a comprehensive and fascinating review of this subject see ‘Who are the Jews of India’ by Nathan Katz, 2000. Mr Katz’s research does not entirely support the missionary opinion in this article.
  17. See the Political Management chapter in 1805 for Melville’s difficulties.
  18. One of the young men supposedly dismissed from the Company’s service for buying his job.
  19. Later Joint Plenipotentiary in Part One of the First Opium War
  20. No prosecution ensues – Kempe is later ordered to rejoin his Corps.
  21. Mackintosh’s observations herald a changed judicial policy concerning capital punishment but not the one this humane man expected.
    Starting with his departure there are several hangings approved by Sir John Newbolt, the new Recorder of Bombay, and the use of awards of hanging, intended as a deterrent to crime in Bombay, increases substantially over the next few years.
  22. This new Commission appears intended to fix the political power of the military under civil rule and reduce the chance of any repetition of the recent Hyderabad / Seringapatam rebellion of the Madras Coast army.
  23. The complaints relate to their involvement in the preparation or signing of the Protest to Minto. Most of them will in due course be told that the Directors think them guilty but they are let-off with a warning.
  24. And to place the Company’s regulation somewhat beyond parliamentary purview.
  25. The rationale is unexplained but very likely they were obliged to take the Oath of Allegiance to King George III which allowed the invaders to characterise residents as traitors if they subsequently took-up arms against the British. There are precedents in the British occupation of French West Indian colonies.
  26. This may be in emulation of the Americans who are all marksmen and have disconcerted our Canadian Governor-General, our frigates and privateers and shortly our army at New Orleans. Their employment was a new development in war. Snipers are also employed in the Peninsular War and by the Royal Navy, as part of the marines. Admiral Lord Nelson was a notable victim.
  27. Shipped to Macau. There is also a trade in Timorese slaves to Macau. As noted above, the Oath of Allegiance to George III is to deter subsequent rebellion. Natives who take the Oath and later rebel become guilty of treason, a capital offence.
  28. It is clear during Napoleon’s residence that agriculture on St Helena is not developed to make the island dependent on passing vessels.
  29. A Viceroy of the Porte who commands Mesopotamia. Another Viceroy commands Egypt and Arabia and another administers Syria and Kurdistan. The Company had Residents at all these Courts as well as Constantinople.
  30. The Chinese Emperor was not concerned to protect Chinese who had emigrated illegally (and all emigration was illegal) and ‘deserted the tombs of their ancestors’
  31. See an article of 6th June 1812 in the Economy chapter for this disastrous loss in the Baltic.
  32. The Wahhabi sect promote a reformed Sunni Muslim religion. The group is named for its 18th century founder Mohammed Bin Abdul-Wahhab of Arabia.
  33. A red dye is obtained from the roots of the plant Rubia tinctorum.
  34. The Bank pays dividends every six months but this refers to the annualised rate.
  35. The Romanisation of the ship’s and Master’s name suggest this junk is from Fukien Province. It was the Fukienese who engrossed Chinese foreign trade to Taiwan and all places south and west as far as India. They turned marginal land to production by assiduous diligence with the hoe and thus slowly assumed their present importance.
  36. Presumably the qualification is based on the issue price of a share – £100.
  37. The India Company’s navy has assisted in the recovery of debts from Chinese Hong merchants on the basis those merchants are licensed by the Provincial government which must therefore be responsible for them. The Company wishes to avoid having the same argument used against the Agencies it licenses itself in India.
  38. I have placed this article here solely for the contents of the final paragraph, which is reminiscent of the wartime practice of some ‘crimps’ in the Thames.
  39. Called the Grand Army in emulation of l’Empereur. This Pindari War is an aspect of continuing Maratha attempts to throw-off the British yoke.
  40. The previous Pasha was Mohammed Ali. Ibrahim seems to be his replacement.
  41. The Peshwa said the Company captured five elephants loaded with 10 million Rupees of treasure but this is not mentioned in General Smith’s report
  42. The received wisdom is that the King’s minister is the one indispensable man and the Asian King himself is relevant as a power centre only to the people. These merchants seem to expect to direct the King as a minister might or as British Residents in native states of India do.
  43. I have had this experience too. As a young businessman in Hong Kong, I made my annual budget because that’s what businessmen do. I very soon discovered that the budget was irrelevant – turnover slowly but steadily increased to a satisfactory plateau whilst the sources of business were in good part unpredictable.
  44. This may have been the precedent for the commercialisation of the diplomatic service although I believe it was the Germans who took a leading role in that during the later 19th century as an aspect of their rise to power.
  45. Somerset was a cavalry officer who distinguished himself in the Peninsular War for which frequent and conspicuous bravery he received the thanks of parliament.
  46. Hume made some money in India sufficient for him to subsist on. He spent much of his later life in the Commons querying successive ministries on their actions. This regular publicity was more effective than the supposed opposition party. A biography was only published in 1985 – The People’s MP by Huch and Ziegler.
  47. See the dedicated chapter – Nepal / Tibet – for details of the Gurkhas prolonged defensive strategy.
  48. c.f. Napoleon’s territorial policy for Europe.
  49. Quite true – suttee is an occasional exception; slavery in Muslim states is permitted; the juggernaut still trundles along each year; the forms of Indian judicial procedure – trial by endurance for example – are still permitted.
    Moira’s elucidation of Company territorial policy reveals constant attempts by the Mughal Raj from Hyder Ali’s time to the Indian Mutiny to expel the Company, a continuous war of independence. On the other hand, without the Company’s influence, India would unlikely be one country today.
  50. See the Economy chapter for the inflationary effects of paper money in Britain.
  51. A Beegah was about 3,000 square yards, rather more than half an acre.
  52. ‘Bongesses’ refers to the Bugis people
  53. Chulias come from the Muslim Chola Kingdom of Tamil Nadu.
  54. The old capital was sacked by the Burmese in mid-18th century. It is more commonly called Ayutthaya or Ayuthia today. The name Siam appears to be of Fukienese derivation and may reflect the presence of the predominantly Chinese population of Bangkok when early Western traders visited.
  55. This is an early salvo in the brief but incandescent career of Barrister Buckingham as Editor of the Calcutta Journal in British India. Interference with the mails was a constant feature of Asian trade throughout the period covered by this book.
  56. Tontines are real life assurance. Its a mutual. The great profitability derives from the shorter expectation of life of subscribers (mainly army officers) due to fighting and disease. Investors surviving at the end of the period share the fund plus interest but less administrative costs.
  57. His name was previously reported as Sahib Ghulam Muideen.
  58. This one fluent sentence describes the Company’s economic ideal – a free trade in everything that has paid British tax.
  59. Its also the case that he has enemies. People in the Company’s army are promoted by seniority and civil servants do not rise quickly either but Raffles was accelerated by Minto.
  60. And a blow to the Company which bases its right to rule, other than by conquest, as the representative of the Grand Mughal.
  61. Nepean’s appointment always looked anomalous. He came shortly before Charter renewal and seems to have made few friends in India. There is much more on him in the Europe and Political Management chapters
  62. The expedition returns in March 1820 having dismantled numerous coastal forts and destroyed all boats large enough to be used for piracy. A garrison has been left at Ras al Khyma until they exhaust the fresh water supply.
  63. A secondary protest of the Captains related to the compulsory deposit of guns at the government warehouse on entering port. Thisselle deposited 16 muskets but says he only got back four. He received cash for the remainder at the Governor’s own valuation (which Thisselle says was less than half-price).

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