The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III: The East India Company and the Crisis and Transformation of Britain's Imperial State 9780300240542

An important revisionist history that casts eighteenth-century British politics and imperial expansion in a new light.

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Table of contents :
Contents
Acknowledgments
Author’s Note
Introduction
Part One. THE FIRST BRITISH EMPIRE AND ITS CRISIS
1. The First British Empire, the Whig Supremacy, and the East India Company
2. Bourgeois Radicalism and the “Empire of Liberty” in the Age of Pitt
3. The Plassey Revolution in Bengal and the Company’s Civil War in Britain
Part Two. THE MAKING OF THE SECOND BRITISH EMPIRE
4. Clive’s Conquest of East India House and the Company’s Conquest of Bengal
5. The New Toryism and the Imperial Reaction at the Accession of George III
6. The Triumph of the New Toryism and the Spirit of the Second British Empire
Epilogue
Notes
Index
Recommend Papers

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he Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III

 H E L E W I S WA L P O L E S E R I E S IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY C U LT U R E A N D H I S T O R Y

The Lewis Walpole Series, published by Yale University Press with the aid of the Annie Burr Lewis Fund, is dedicated to the culture and history of the long eighteenth century (from the Glorious Revolution to the accession of Queen Victoria). It welcomes work in a variety of fields, including literature and history, the visual arts, political philosophy, music, legal history, and the history of science. In addition to original scholarly work, the series publishes new editions and translations of writing from the period, as well as reprints of major books that are currently unavailable. Though the majority of books in the series will probably concentrate on Great Britain and the Continent, the range of our geographical interests is as wide as Horace Walpole’s.

The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III t h e e a s t i n d i a co m pa n y a n d t h e c r i s i s a n d t r a n s f o r m at i o n o f b r i t a i n ’ s i m p e r i a l s t at e

James M. Vaughn

New Haven & London

Published with assistance from the Annie Burr Lewis Fund. Copyright © 2019 by Yale University. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Yale University Press books may be purchased in quantity for educational, business, or promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected] (U.S. office) or [email protected] (U.K. office). Set in Adobe Garramond type by IDS Infotech Limited, Chandigarh, India. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Control Number: 2018948868 ISBN 978-0-300-20826-9 (hardcover : alk. paper) A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. This paper meets the requirements of ansi/niso Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To the memory of Gregory Carpenter-Vaughn

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Contents

Acknowledgments, ix Author’s Note, xii Introduction, 1

Part One THE FIRST BRITISH EMPIRE AND ITS CRISIS 1 The First British Empire, the Whig Supremacy, and the East India Company, 19 2 Bourgeois Radicalism and the “Empire of Liberty” in the Age of Pitt, 50 3 The Plassey Revolution in Bengal and the Company’s Civil War in Britain, 88

Part Two THE MAKING OF THE SECOND BRITISH EMPIRE 4 Clive’s Conquest of East India House and the Company’s Conquest of Bengal, 131 5 The New Toryism and the Imperial Reaction at the Accession of George III, 165

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6 The Triumph of the New Toryism and the Spirit of the Second British Empire, 201 Epilogue, 232 Notes, 249 Index, 295

Acknowledgments

This book owes most of its ideas and inspiration to innumerable discussions and debates with advisors, colleagues, friends, and students over the past decade. Any interesting conclusions and stimulating arguments it contains are likely the result of the good company I’ve kept over the years; the rest is no one’s fault but my own. I would like to take this opportunity to thank many of the people who have discussed this book’s ideas and chapter drafts with me. This work began life as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago, where brilliant advisors and fellow students taught me most of what I know about British and imperial history. I owe an intellectual debt too large to ever repay to my supervisor, Steve Pincus, who taught me to ask big questions and to answer them as boldly and clearly as possible. Having spent the past few years teaching and advising graduate students, I look back in awe at the amount of time Steve devoted to discussing my ideas and arguments, however silly and half-baked they were. In addition to serving on my dissertation committee and providing invaluable commentary on every chapter, Ralph Austen pressed me to think beyond “little England” and to place my historical work in a global context. I’m grateful that Ralph remains a mentor to this day. I was fortunate to take a seminar on Jacobitism with a visiting professor, Alan MacInnes. Alan provided crucial advice and suggestions at every stage of this project, suffering my Whiggish inclinations with good ix

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humor along the way. Bob Brenner kindly agreed to serve as an external reviewer for my dissertation. He rose above our sectarian disagreements to provide invaluable advice for sharpening my arguments. The wider community of faculty and graduate students at Chicago helped shape this book’s ideas in seminars, workshops, and less formal settings. Foremost among them were Brent Sirota, Pablo Ben, Adrian Johns, Abigail Swingen, Chris Dudley, Heather Welland, Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, David Lyons, Lyman Stebbins, Spencer Leonard, Chris Cutrone, Sunit Singh, Atiya Khan, and Andrew Sartori. I especially wish to thank Brent Sirota and Pablo Ben. I have spent an inordinate amount of time with Brent discussing and debating British history. All of my thinking about the field bears the stamp of his ideas. Since my first day of graduate school, Pablo has pressed me to be a more intellectually capacious and conceptually rigorous historian. I was never able to adequately answer many of the questions he posed about my book manuscript, but I believe my attempts to do so have much improved the work. I spent a year in residence at the University of London’s Institute for Historical Research while working on my dissertation. In addition to providing research assistance and weekly seminars, the Institute introduced me to Peter Marshall, who spent many hours discussing ideas and guiding me through the vast holdings of the Oriental and India Office Collections at the British Library. Although Peter will disagree with some of this book’s conclusions, they would never have been reached without his patient support and helpful suggestions over the years. I could not have asked for a better beginning to my career than teaching and working in the history department at the University of Texas at Austin. My countless discussions with undergraduate and graduate students prompted me to rethink my assumptions about British, European, and imperial history. My colleagues Brian Levack and Mark Metzler read several different versions of this manuscript and provided expert criticisms and suggestions for improving it. I benefited time and again from the vital feedback and support provided by Al Martinez, Judy Coffin, Erika Bsumek, Bob Olwell, Tracie Matysik, George Forgie, Philippa Levine, Roger Louis, and Jorge CañizaresEsguerra. During my first years in Austin, I was fortunate to have Tony Hopkins as a colleague. Tony let me bounce my ideas around his office; many of those ideas originated in his own work on the history of British imperialism. This book owes much to his good cheer and great advice, as well as his putting a bit of stick about when the situation called for it.

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The book manuscript was made possible by financial support from the Institute for Historical Studies and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. It never would have been completed without a research fellowship at Yale University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies during the 2011–2012 academic year. While I was at Yale, Steve Pincus introduced me to a remarkable community of faculty, graduate students, and local residents who discussed issues and ideas with me and read chapter drafts. I would like to thank Keith Wrightson, Megan Lindsay Cherry, James Caudle, Steve Alderman, Haydon Cherry, and Mara Caden for providing me with an intellectual home away from home during my time in New Haven. I received helpful comments and criticisms after presenting sections of this book at conferences, workshops, and invited lectures over the years. These include the North American Conference on British Studies, the Southern Conference on British Studies, the Mellon Consortium Conference on British History, the Faculty Seminar in British Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, the Economies of Empire Conference at the Huntington Library, the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University, Nuffield College at the University of Oxford, the British Historical Studies Colloquium at Yale University, the Triangle Global British History Seminar at the National Humanities Center, the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Early Modern Empires Workshop at Yale University. At Yale University Press, I would like to thank Jaya Chatterjee for her expert assistance and kindly support. She has patiently guided me through every step of the process of completing and submitting my manuscript, despite my constant delays and dithering. I’m grateful for her time and consideration. Last but not least, I would like to thank my family. My parents, Joyce and Ted Vaughn, have unfailingly supported me throughout every stage of putting this book together. I hope they know how much their support has meant. My sister and brother-in-law, Nicole and Matt Manasse, have encouraged me at every step. My little niece Adeline kept me in good spirits as I completed this book, allowing me to work on my laptop for brief interludes between playing games. Finally, my dog Max provided a sounding board for my (mostly bad) ideas on our long walks over the past three years—of course, the fact that he can’t speak probably helped.

Author’s Note

Wherever possible, quotations from primary sources follow the original spellings and punctuation. For the sake of clarity, light editing has occasionally been necessary. For further information on sources, please consult the endnotes.

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Introduction

It can be said with little exaggeration that the Second British Empire was born in Allahabad, India on the twelfth of August, 1765. For it was on that day, and within the confines of that city, that the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II granted the diwani—the right to collect revenue—for the provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to the British East India Company (EIC). Robert Clive, Baron of Plassey, accepted the Emperor’s grant on the Company’s behalf and, in doing so, definitively established the commercial corporation as a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent. As the Mughal’s Diwan, or financial administrator, the EIC commanded the land revenues of Bengal and consolidated the political and military gains British forces had made in the province since Clive’s famed victory over its ruler, the Nawab Siraj-ud-daula, in 1757. This grant and subsequent treaties gave the Company control over Bengal’s military and foreign affairs as well as all government appointments. Although technically the new Nawab, Mir Jafar, remained responsible for the province’s internal policing and external defense, in reality he controlled little more from his court at Murshidabad than a token stipend and a ceremonial guard. The diwani effectively transformed the EIC into a subcontinental state devoted to the extraction of revenue from an indigenous peasantry and to the maintenance of a large bureaucratic and military apparatus. The acquisition of this grant was, as Edmund Burke averred, “the great act of the constitutional entry of the Company into the body politic of India.”1 Years later, on 1

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the floor of the British House of Commons, Clive proclaimed this act to be the heroic deed by which the Company became “sovereigns of a rich, populous, fruitful country in extent beyond France and Spain united.” Under his initiative, the EIC took “possession of the labour, industry, and manufactures of twenty million subjects.”2 In a single stroke, the “heaven-born general” sealed the Company’s transformation from a commercial corporation into a South Asian state and laid the basis for a British imperium that eventually spanned the entire subcontinent.3 The acquisition of the diwani and the consolidation of the EIC’s territorial rule were the key constitutive acts in the origins of the Second British Empire. Whereas Britain’s overseas expansion in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries primarily consisted of Atlantic trade and plantation settlements in North America and the West Indies, its imperial development from the later eighteenth century entailed territorial conquest and direct political rule over large populations in Africa and Asia. The First British Empire, centered on commerce and the Atlantic, was replaced by the Second, more territorial and Eastern in focus. The new imperialism was characterized by autocratic government, territorial conquest, and revenue extraction. The profoundly illiberal features of British expansion during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were not merely detours on an otherwise evolutionary path of Whiggish progress; a path where the early modern “empire of the seas” led directly to nineteenth-century liberal, free-trade imperialism. “The British Empire from 1780 to 1830 (and in some areas beyond) represented not simply a hiatus between the irresistible waves of liberal reform,” C. A. Bayly persuasively argues, “but a series of attempts to establish overseas despotisms which mirrored in many ways the politics of neo-absolutism and the Holy Alliance of contemporary Europe.”4 Thus, the new imperialism marked a profound rupture with earlier forms of overseas expansion. What caused this rupture? Two overarching processes—the loss of the thirteen North American colonies and the acquisition of an Indian empire—underpinned the transition to a new imperial formation. The former reconfigured the British Atlantic and dealt a severe blow to the long-standing maritime empire of trade and colonial settlement, and the latter heralded a new form of European imperialism. While commerce with the New World continued unabated after the War of American Independence, and colonial settlement was extended to new regions of the globe such as the Antipodes, the rise and consolidation of the British Indian Empire marked a truly epoch-making transformation of the European presence in Africa and Asia. The Second British Empire—which

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was raised very much as an extension of, and in order to secure, the Raj—was a refutation of the long-standing British ideal of a maritime imperium of free association and exchange. Under Britain’s avowedly despotic and military dominion, the socioeconomic and political landscape of India was dramatically transformed. What caused the crisis and fall of the First British Empire? How and why did the Second British Empire come to replace it? Why did Britain’s Whig regime—a regime that was the direct heir of the anti-absolutist and libertarian political upheavals of the mid- to late seventeenth century—attempt to strengthen the powers of the imperial executive in its Atlantic colonies and to build an American standing army? Why did the most politically liberal and commercially dynamic early modern European power establish an autocratic and tributary garrison state in South Asia? Why did the EIC transform from a commercial corporation into an imperial power? Scholarship on the origins and early formation of the British Indian Empire remains wedded to a framework that both downplays the metropolitan context out of which British imperialism emerged and focuses too narrowly on the dynamics generated by sub-imperialist forces on the ground in South Asia. Due largely to the failure of earlier attempts to link British socioeconomic development to the emergence and consolidation of the Company State on the subcontinent, British imperial historiography tends to concentrate exclusively on sub-imperialist dynamics at the expense of the wider panimperial and metropolitan sociopolitical contexts that in part generated those dynamics. Before addressing the sub-imperialist interpretation of the origins and early formation of the EIC’s territorial empire, I will briefly analyze its primary and largely vanquished historiographic antagonists: social-structural interpretations that attempt to link the transformation of British overseas expansion with the early phase of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Several scholarly interpretations view the origins of British imperialism in Asia, and the origins of the Second British Empire more broadly, as a consequence of metropolitan industrialization. Whether these accounts are of the liberal variety offered by Vincent T. Harlow or based on the world-systems theory explicated by Immanuel Wallerstein and his colleagues, they interpret eighteenth-century imperialism as an aggressive search for markets—in which to sell finished goods and to purchase raw materials—fueled by the expansion of Britain’s manufacturing sector.5 From the vantage point of these interpretations, the origins of the EIC’s imperial dominion in South Asia lay in the

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necessity for a political apparatus capable of securing markets both for Britain’s domestic production and for acquiring raw cotton and additional resources vital to the growth of its textile industries.6 Such accounts are fundamentally inadequate as they fail to specify the relationship between British industrialization and the Company’s territorial empire, and, as P. J. Marshall has repeatedly and persuasively demonstrated, there exists little evidence to support the notion that an economically advanced Britain conquered India in order to secure a market for the purchase of raw materials and for the sale of its manufactures.7 Not only did the EIC lack a direct connection to British industry, making it difficult to determine how it could have played the role of an imperial transmission belt for the forces associated with the Industrial Revolution, but the corporation was also routinely challenged by domestic manufacturing interests that were threatened by the import into Europe of finished cotton and silk piece-goods.8 The Company came under attack from commercial lobbies and economic theorists who viewed its monopoly as an obstacle to the full expansion of Britain’s eastern trade. It was not until the early nineteenth century—over sixty years after the EIC’s takeover of Bengal—that the province’s exports to Britain began to shift significantly from manufactured textiles to indigo, silk, and other raw materials.9 British textile industries only began flooding the subcontinent’s markets in the 1820s; from the 1750s until the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Company did not export significant amounts of British finished products to South Asia.10 In fact, the EIC’s most important commercial concerns during the second half of the eighteenth century were the same as those that dominated its operations in the later seventeenth century, long before the corporation’s territorial conquests: the purchase and re-export of Indian textiles throughout Europe and Asia. When raw materials were exported from Bengal, they did not go to supply British industry, but rather to purchase commodities from Asian markets for the purposes of global reexport. Long reviled by Britain’s weaving communities and manufacturers, the EIC was not a vehicle for rising industrial forces but rather a “conservative” commercial organization that monopolized long-established trading networks. These networks delivered highly prized commodities into world markets and large profits into the corporation’s coffers. Due to the inadequacies of this type of social-structural analysis, scholarship on the transition to British imperial rule in South Asia remains wedded to an interpretation of the EIC’s territorial transformation that views it solely as the result of crises on the colonial periphery and the sub-imperialist pressures they

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engendered. According to this sub-imperialist interpretation, metropolitan political and social forces played no important role in the Company’s conquest of Bengal. In his 1998 survey of the historiography on the origins of British India, Marshall summarizes the consensus on the subject as follows: EIC imperialism was neither “planned nor directed from Britain . . . Ignorance about Indian conditions and slowness of communication meant that no effective control could be exercised from home.”11 Neither the corporation’s management, who directed its affairs from Leadenhall Street in London, nor the national government was capable of shaping commercial and military activities taking place far away in the midst of a South Asian world they poorly understood. From the standpoint of the sub-imperialist interpretation, the emergence and consolidation of the Company’s territorial empire were the result of crises on the subcontinent and the responses of British “men on the spot” to them. During the 1750s and 1760s, the dissolution of the Mughal Empire, the emergence of post-Mughal successor kingdoms, and Anglo-French global warfare created a volatile context in which British and EIC forces in South Asia became entangled in indigenous political and military affairs. Within this context, and in pursuit of their own private interests, or what they perceived as the Company’s interest, a congeries of British actors on the subcontinent— including private traders, EIC employees, and military adventurers—took the initiative and founded a colonial state under the corporation’s auspices.12 “The role of the British in India was determined by men actually in India,” Marshall notes with regard to the EIC’s imperial transformation, which was “a classic case of what has been called ‘sub-imperialism,’ that is, of the dominance of local interests over metropolitan ones.”13 The responses of “men on the spot” to crises generated on the colonial periphery ineluctably and irreversibly drew the Company into military conquests and territorial annexations in South Asia. Throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scholars assumed that the EIC’s territorial imperialism was an inevitable by-product of the decline and fall of the Mughal Empire in the eighteenth century.14 The crisis of Mughal imperial power supposedly subjected the subcontinent to growing political fragmentation and socioeconomic turmoil. In the midst of this generalized anarchy, the Company transformed into a military and political power in order to preserve its trade and property.15 However, recent historiography makes the assumption of a wholly disruptive and destabilizing Mughal decline untenable. Scholars of eighteenth-century India now emphasize the emergence and consolidation of stable post-Mughal successor kingdoms that

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filled the vacuum left by the imperial center during the eighteenth century.16 Even in the midst of warfare and imperial decline, successor kingdoms provided a durable political framework for social and economic life on the subcontinent.17 Rather than undermining the sub-imperialist account, this reinterpretation of later Mughal India largely confirms it. Although the EIC’s agents did not acquire power in the midst of anarchy and confusion, they did become ensnared in the geopolitical rivalry of the successor kingdoms. The necessity of forging alliances with the emerging post-Mughal powers against the French East India Company, and the lucrative military and commercial opportunities involved in doing so, drew the British EIC’s servants—and, by extension, the corporation itself—into the tangled web of South Asian diplomacy and warfare. The British Company emerged on the other end of this process as a sovereign power on the subcontinent. Some scholars, combining this reinterpretation of eighteenth-century India with the sub-imperialist account of the EIC’s transformation, go so far as to argue that the emerging Company State in Bengal was simply one of the post-Mughal successor kingdoms vying for power on the subcontinent, albeit the most successful one.18 Since the EIC’s territorial dominion in Bengal was built on the fiscal-military and bureaucratic foundations laid by the nawabi regimes of the early to mideighteenth century, the advent of British imperial rule did not mark an abrupt departure in South Asian political development. Bayly argues that such views constitute a wider “oriental approach” to the origins and early formation of British India. The exponents of this approach are “keen to avoid the view that British conquest marked an abrupt break between tradition and modernity or between feudalism and capitalism in India” and “have implied that up to 1830 or beyond, the East India Company operated essentially as an Indian state writ large.”19 On the basis of this approach, students of British imperial and South Asian history argue that the EIC’s early empire was a product of later Mughal statecraft and of practical adaptations to conditions on the ground in northeastern India.20 This “oriental approach” to the formation of the early Company State provides support for the central conclusion of the sub-imperialist interpretation. Namely, that metropolitan political and social forces played no role in the origins and early formation of British India. Viewing the EIC’s territorial dominion as more or less “a white Mughal Empire,” this account denies that any metropolitan political-economic objectives or ideological impulses shaped the content and operations of the Company State in Bengal.21 As such, it is easily reconcilable with the strongest versions of the sub-imperialist

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interpretation. Since no metropolitan forces shaped the origins and early formation of the British Indian Empire, one need only examine the eighteenthcentury South Asian landscape in order to understand the political forms, economic policies, and ideological trappings of the early colonial state. The sub-imperialist interpretation, as well as the closely associated “oriental approach” to the history of the early Company State, contains a great deal of explanatory power with regard to the origins and early formation of British India. The combination of geopolitical rivalry between post-Mughal successor kingdoms and Anglo-French global warfare on an unprecedented scale generated the conditions in which the transformation of the British presence in Bengal became imaginable and even desirable. As Marshall remarks, “the question of why British territorial expansion in eighteenth-century India became possible can hardly be answered except in terms of Anglo-French rivalry and Mughal decline.”22 The risks posed to the EIC’s lucrative trade by French and South Asian rivals forced it to prepare for war, and the British arms that flooded Bengal and other regions of India during the 1750s and early 1760s were sent to preserve the corporation’s commerce. The Company and Crown forces that fought to defend the EIC’s position on the subcontinent were not the advance guard of imperial conquest, but rather the best hope for maintaining Britain’s commercial connections with South Asia. The steps taken by the EIC’s servants and soldiers toward political and military supremacy in India stemmed from the unintended consequences of their victories, not from any foreordained plan.23 In the events leading up to the Plassey Revolution of 1757, British forces aimed to preserve trade, not to extend the flag. When the initial moves toward political dominion on the subcontinent were made, the Company servants and soldiers who took them were acting under the pressure of circumstances, not in order to achieve long-established imperial ambitions. While the sub-imperialist interpretation is perfectly capable of explaining the initial impetus toward territorial imperialism on the Indian subcontinent, it moves too quickly from the possibility of empire to its full realization, often assuming precisely what needs to be explained. There is little doubt that the Plassey Revolution was a mostly sub-imperialist affair in which not even the principal British “men on the spot” were motivated by larger designs for political dominion in India. However, Plassey and its consequences did not dictate the imperial resolution ultimately achieved with Clive’s acquisition of the diwani in 1765. Furthermore, Clive was only able to take control of East India House (the Company’s London headquarters), to return to Bengal with extraordinary civilian and military powers, and to consolidate a territorial empire

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because metropolitan ministers intervened decisively in the corporation’s affairs. Any attempt to account for the EIC’s consolidation of a territorial empire in Bengal, as well as the fundamental character of that empire, must reckon with the years immediately preceding the acquisition of the diwani. What is necessary is a historical interpretation capable of distinguishing between the initial moves toward political and military aggrandizement in India undertaken during the 1750s and the decisive consolidation of a territorial empire in Bengal in the 1760s. In other words, an adequate approach to the question of the origins and early formation of the British Indian Empire must differentiate between the rise of British power on the subcontinent and the consolidation of a British dominion in northeastern India. It is all too often the case that historical interpretations move immediately from the year 1757 to 1765 and, in doing so, assume that the problems generated by Plassey inevitably led to the acquisition of the diwani and to the consolidation of the Company’s tributary imperial state.24 Such interpretations lose sight not only of important developments between the years 1757 and 1765, but also of the wider metropolitan and panimperial contexts that shaped those developments. When news of the EIC’s difficulties and victories flooded the metropole in the late 1750s and early 1760s, the Company immediately became the subject of discussion and debate in the vibrant public sphere of mid-Hanoverian Britain. The coffeehouses and pubs of London and the provincial cities became the sites of a rich debate concerning the purposes and character of the British presence in India. The spread of news and discussion about the Company’s travails throughout Britain should not surprise us. The EIC played a vital role not only in the business world of the City of London, but also in the fiscal-military state, in the system of public credit, and in the political establishment. The corporation was deeply entangled in the government’s fiscal affairs; it was crucial for the stability and prosperity of the post-1688 British state. Therefore, the Company’s potential economic downfall or imperial aggrandizement deeply concerned political and business circles in London and beyond. Countless politicians, merchants, investors, and opinion-makers attempted to reckon with the events engulfing the EIC and its servants abroad. It was in their debates and discussions that the possibility of empire—a possibility created by “men on the spot” in South Asia—was explored and its eventual achievement was shaped. The sub-imperialist interpretation of the EIC’s territorial transformation does not address these metropolitan discussions, debates, and conflicts surrounding the Company’s purposes in South Asia. It is able to ignore such

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matters only because the most significant historical accounts of the domestic context surrounding the EIC’s conquest of Bengal conclude that sociopolitical conflict and principled ideological debate played no role in this transformation. In her magisterial The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, Lucy Sutherland contends that the Company’s imperial metamorphosis raised no major ideological or political issues in the metropole and that British ministers only reluctantly intervened in the internal affairs of East India House when disaster loomed.25 When disagreements were expressed with reference to fundamental principles, those principles served either as cover for or as ex post facto justifications of actions motivated solely by immediate material and power-political interests. Such interpretive positions are upheld both implicitly and explicitly in more recent writings on metropolitan politics and the East India Company during the later 1750s and 1760s.26 This account of the domestic context surrounding the EIC’s transformation—and, by extension, the sub-imperialist thesis itself—is deeply bound up with a Namierite British and imperial historiography that downplays ideological conflict and reduces eighteenth-century politics to a matter of struggles for patronage and place waged between factions of an insular governing elite.27 The Namierite school of historical interpretation views the period stemming from 1688 to 1789 as a largely placid era free of major political and social conflict.28 Having felled royal absolutism with the help of a Dutch army in 1688, aristocratic grandees assumed their place as the “natural rulers” of the country. Ruling a mostly deferential population, the great Whig magnates steadily managed Britain’s ascent to world hegemony—an ascent complicated but not fundamentally undermined by the French Revolution and its associated radicalism. British politics in this relatively stable period entailed the jockeying of various elite factions—interest-based coalitions of aristocratic magnates, country gentlemen, and social climbers—for governmental place and financial advantage against a background of ideological consensus. Westminster and Whitehall were arenas for enhancing wealth and social status, not for political debate. “Men went [into Parliament] ‘to make a figure,’ and no more dreamt of a seat in the House in order to benefit humanity than a child dreams of a birthday cake that others may eat it,” Lewis Namier famously averred. “The seat in the House was not their ultimate goal but a means to ulterior aims.”29 While Tory and Whig party conflict may have raged in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, by the accession of King George III national politics was an ideologically consensual and routine affair.30

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According to Namierite historiography, the mid-Hanoverian transformation of British overseas expansion and the emergence of the Second British Empire were not shaped by metropolitan political and ideological conflict. As there was no serious and sustained British politico-ideological debate over domestic issues, there was little chance that imperial problems and challenges provoked any principled disagreement or discussion. “To look for any significant intellectual or ideological contribution to the ordering of empire in the first two decades of George III’s reign would seem at first sight to be a barren task,” Marshall observes with regard to major historical works on British overseas expansion in the 1760s and 1770s. “This is the period for which Namier’s skepticism about the role of ideas in politics remains largely unchallenged, at least for those sections of society which were likely to have shaped attitudes to empire.”31 Indeed, for a range of historians including (but not limited to) Namier, H. V. Bowen, John Brooke, Philip Lawson, Bruce Lenman, Martyn Powell, and Peter D. G. Thomas, the transformation of British overseas expansion in this period, in terms of both the imperial reorganization of the North American colonies and the EIC’s conquests in northeastern India, was the result of unexpected fiscal-military burdens and territorial responsibilities accumulated with victory over Bourbon France in the Seven Years’ War.32 An insular ruling class divided into factions based on material and power-political interests attempted to manage these unforeseen outcomes as best they could. As such, differences of political principle and contesting ideologies played no role in the emergence of a new form of British imperial expansion. Since “in the end statesmen hardly ever act except under pressure of ‘circumstances,’ ” Namier concluded that “the basic elements of the Imperial Problem . . . must be sought not so much in conscious opinions and professed views bearing directly on it, as in the very structure and life of the Empire”; an empire whose structure underwent transformations and adjustments similar to those found “in the revolutions of planets, in the migrations of birds, and in the plunging of hordes of lemmings into the sea.”33 The ideals of actors mattered little in the face of large-scale processes beyond their control. Given the sway held by Namierism over eighteenth-century British historiography, especially with regard to the mid-Hanoverian transformation of overseas expansion, the explanatory power of the sub-imperialist interpretation of the origins of the EIC’s empire is indeed great. If Britain’s long-term socioeconomic development—especially, the growth of those forces associated with the Industrial Revolution—did not dictate the shift to a new form of imperial expansion in South Asia, and if no metropolitan ideological or

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political impulses informed the transformation of British activity beyond the Cape of Good Hope, then its causes must be sought exclusively in the conflict between post-Mughal successor kingdoms and the rivalry between British and French trading companies. The sub-imperialists operating on the periphery drove the process of imperial expansion; Britain’s political elite, ignorant of Indian conditions and uncontaminated by political ideas, responded to the initiatives of “men on the spot” pragmatically, self-interestedly, and often foolishly. Britain’s statesmen and officials adapted to circumstances beyond their control and even, one might say, their concern. Taken together, the sub-imperialist and Namierite interpretations reaffirm a historical consensus established in the late Victorian era: namely, that the acquisition of an Indian empire and the foundation of the Second British Empire took place behind the backs of the actors involved. Indeed, Bowen asserts that the “transformation of the [Company’s] position and status was unplanned, unforeseen, and extremely complex,” and that, by 1765, “the British had become, rather to their surprise, the dominant military and political agents in Bengal and the surrounding areas.”34 The imperial acquisitions confirmed and extended by the diwani and other Mughal grants were received in the metropole as a “fait accompli”; East India House, Westminster, and Whitehall could only “apply a seal of approval to a political and administrative order” they exercised little control over.35 In other words, the EIC’s directors and Britain’s rulers walked half-consciously into political dominion on the Indian subcontinent. Historical scholarship thus remains in the shadow of the late-nineteenthcentury scholar J. R. Seeley, who famously asserted that “the acquisition of India was made blindly . . . nothing great that has ever been done by Englishmen was done so unintentionally, so accidentally, as the conquest of India.”36 While Seeley’s claims on behalf of the grandeur and nobility of the Second British Empire are not echoed in contemporary historiography, his account of its origins and early formation certainly is. It is still possible to claim that British India and the largest empire of the modern world were founded in “a fit of absence of mind” (to use Seeley’s famous phrase).37 Both the sub-imperialist interpretation of the Company’s transformation and the Namierite account of eighteenth-century British politics and the mid-Hanoverian crisis of overseas expansion fundamentally contend that there was no “politics of empire.” That is, they both view the period of the origins and early formation of the Company State in Bengal as lacking serious and sustained metropolitan debate over the nature and purposes of British expansion in Asia. According to these accounts, the India Question in British

12

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politics from the 1750s to the 1770s amounted to little more than a discussion of the manner in which government ministers and EIC directors should manage the formation of a territorial empire in South Asia over which they exercised little control. As such, metropolitan conflict and debate played no role in the origins and consolidation of the British Indian Empire and left little mark on its early development. This study provides an alternative interpretation of the origins and early development of British India and the Second British Empire—an interpretation that does not seek to refute the sub-imperialist account so much as to transcend it. By filling in the missing dimension in this account—that is, the metropolitan “politics of empire” downplayed and dismissed by Namierite historiography—this book fundamentally reconceives the process by which British actors on the ground in South Asia laid the basis for a territorial empire that eventually spanned the subcontinent. The argument of this book is that the Company’s imperial metamorphosis, and the origins of British India and the Second Empire, were rooted in the political defeat of radical liberalism. The transition to the Second Empire was a result of the victory won by metropolitan conservative-reactionary forces over their radical political opponents. The defeat of British radical forces during the third quarter of the eighteenth century—forces that attempted to reform the post-1688 political settlement— conditioned the shift from an empire centered around free association and exchange to one largely based on conquest and dominion. The consolidation of an autocratic and tributary territorial empire in South Asia was a direct expression of the victory won by a conservative-reactionary political project over a robust and radical Whiggery that sought to liberalize and democratize the polity, to open up trade to the free play of private interests, and to extend the kingdom’s maritime “empire of liberty” to every corner of the globe. Part and parcel of this conservative-reactionary project was a new form of coercive imperialism that emphasized revenue extraction on the colonial periphery and the due subordination owed by subject peoples to metropolitan sovereign authority. The new imperialism sought both to lock the Atlantic colonies into a relationship of mercantilist dependency, which ultimately provoked the American Revolution, and to consolidate a tributary empire in India. This imperial impulse subjected the political and economic development of the periphery to the metropolitan objectives of paying down the national debt, reducing taxation, and maintaining a large-scale military establishment overseas. These objectives were in turn designed both to preserve the aristocratic-oligarchic

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character of the British state and to combat the perceived entropy of an advanced commercial society. Thus, contra the sub-imperialist and Namierite interpretations, the origins and early formation of British India and the Second Empire were fundamentally shaped by metropolitan dynamics. This book paints a very different picture of the metropolitan political context for the EIC’s imperial transformation from the one dominant in contemporary scholarship. It contends that the origins of the Company’s territorial empire were deeply bound up with the politics surrounding the mideighteenth-century crisis and transformation of Britain’s imperial state. This state emerged during the revolutionary upheavals in seventeenth-century England and paved the way for Britain’s global ascent, but by the 1750s and 1760s, it faced a profound crisis. This crisis, and the political conflicts and forces that shaped it, led to the transformation of the nature and purposes of the imperial state, and is as important for understanding the origins and early formation of British India as are the actions of “men on the spot.” The remainder of this chapter provides an overview of this interpretation, tracing the evolution of Britain’s imperial state and the EIC from the seventeenth century through the origins of British India and the transition to the Second Empire during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. By the seventeenth century, England was not simply one of several European powers and empire-builders. The kingdom was home to one of the world’s first full-fledged bourgeois societies and, along with the Dutch Republic, it was at the epicenter of global networks of commodity production and exchange. In the midst of this modernizing society, Parliament and the Crown were engaged in a struggle for mastery of the centralized state. During the revolutionary upheaval of the Commonwealth and Protectorate period, England’s expansion in Asia was radically transformed and the Company was fundamentally reorganized. With the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, the EIC came to play an important role in King Charles II’s and King James II’s efforts to create an autocratic and tributary empire that would free them from financial dependence on Parliament. The Company was one instrument with which the Stuart monarchy sought to consolidate an absolutist political economy that allowed it to rule above civil society instead of through it. When the Whig revolutionaries of 1688 unraveled Stuart absolutism and secured the supremacy of Parliament, they launched a direct assault on the Company and its chartered privileges. The radicals among the revolutionary alliance wanted to abolish the EIC, to open up the eastern trade to the free play of private interests, and to fundamentally transform the character of

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England’s commercial expansion in Asia. From the Glorious Revolution to the early eighteenth century, these radicals sought to integrate the East India trade into England’s maritime “empire of liberty.” The fundamental condition for this project was the Revolution of 1688–1689 and the politicaleconomic reforms that took place following the downfall of James II. The broad anti-absolutist alliance that lay behind the Revolution ushered in a series of measures that wedded the English state to the supremacy of Parliament and to continuing capitalist transformation. These reforms allowed the (mostly landed) parliamentary political system to draw upon the tremendous economic resources generated by England’s dynamic commercial and manufacturing society. These resources were used to create a fiscal-military state that staved off the return of Stuart absolutism and confronted the threat posed by Bourbon France. Crucial to these reforms was the abolition of chartered monopolies and exclusive privileges so as to allow for maximum capital investment and private entrepreneurship in every line of English trade. It was in this context that the efforts of the anti-Company radicals to expropriate the EIC met with initial success. The anti-Company forces were able to undertake the first steps in their project to open up England’s eastern trade to private enterprise and colonial plantation settlement. The Glorious Revolution and the large-scale warfare against Bourbon absolutism that issued in its wake generated political and social instability as well as heavy taxes on the land. From 1710 to 1714, the landed gentry that dominated the House of Commons supported a Tory government that threatened to unravel the Revolution Settlement. This social and political instability, as well as the discontent among the gentry, ultimately led to the emergence and consolidation of the Whig Supremacy. The aristocratic magnates and London’s elite merchants consolidated a patronage apparatus and a system of public credit that cemented parliamentary rule and that empowered the state to protect and expand a global commercial and colonial empire without provoking the discontent of the gentry. The Whig establishment implemented fiscal measures that allowed it to avoid taxing the gentry by culling resources from Britain’s expanding commercial and manufacturing sectors. It was in the context of the emergence of the Whig oligarchic order—with London’s elite merchants and bankers playing a leading role—that the antiEIC alliance’s efforts were ultimately undone. By the 1720s, the Company was transformed from a bulwark of the absolutist monarchy into a pillar of the Whig oligarchic order; its monopoly charter and exclusive privileges were once again secure.

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The capitalist political economy consolidated by Britain’s landed magnates and London’s elite merchants drove a process of ongoing economic transformation that generated immense revenues for the state, transforming the kingdom’s social landscape. While Britain’s ruling class was harvesting fiscal resources from capitalist development, new commercial and manufacturing centers were emerging throughout the country. Capitalist transformation was generating a vibrant bourgeois public sphere and extra-parliamentary political culture, and politics was taking on an increasingly mass character. With the recurrence of geopolitical conflict in the 1740s, the Whig establishment faced increasing fiscal strains as the national debt expanded and the tax burden grew. The system of public credit and the greater fiscal-military state were stretched to breaking point. These difficulties were compounded by the growth of domestic radicalism in the 1750s and 1760s. Radical Whiggery flourished among the middling sort and in Britain’s urban centers. The radical Whigs sought to transform Britain’s domestic and imperial institutions so as to make them more adequate for the kingdom’s dynamic commercial and manufacturing society. They wanted to extend Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty” to the furthest reaches of the globe and to reform the parliamentary political system. Radical Whiggery was not opposed to the bourgeois society and capitalist political economy consolidated in 1688 but rather was committed to deepening and strengthening them. From the perspective of the radicals, the post1688 political order was no longer adequate to the society it gave rise to. The capitalist social transformation secured and advanced by Britain’s ruling class in 1688 gave rise to a form of politics critical of that very class. The bourgeois society that the ruling class fostered and protected gave rise to a form of politics that sought to liberalize and democratize the established order. Contra Whig historiography, the central political conflict of the late 1750s and 1760s was not a contest between the influence of the Crown and the liberties of Parliament but rather a struggle over the character of the parliamentary settlement achieved in 1688. Was 1688 the end of Britain’s political evolution or was it a revolutionary prelude to the kingdom’s ever-increasing liberalization and democratization? Did “British liberty” simply entail the preservation of the unreformed parliamentary political order achieved in 1688 or did it mean something more expansive? Was the Revolution Settlement the beginning or the end of the processes of liberalization and democratization in Britain? The conservative-reactionary political project that emerged in the 1760s did not seek to restore royal absolutism but rather to preserve the post-1688

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political order in the face of more democratic challenges and demands. However, given the crisis of the fiscal-military state, the growth of social discontent, and the emergence of radical Whiggery, the conservative-reactionary forces could not simply maintain the political status quo. They were forced to reconsolidate the oligarchic order on the basis of new measures and policies designed to deal with the crisis of the mid-eighteenth century. Part and parcel of this effort to defend the oligarchic order was the systematic transformation of the British Empire. The conservative-reactionary forces sought to autocratically centralize and militarize Britain’s Atlantic empire and to consolidate the East India Company’s political dominion in Bengal in order to resolve the crisis of postwar finance and to fend off the challenge posed by political radicalism. In doing so, they brought an end to the maritime “empire of liberty” and erected overseas despotisms that served their social-imperialist interests. Although these measures failed to meet with the success hoped for by advocates of the conservative-reactionary project, they nevertheless transformed the character of the British Empire. The consolidation of the EIC’s territorial dominion in northeastern India was fundamentally bound up with the emergence and development of the conservative-reactionary political project and its support for an autocratic and extractive imperialism. The Company State in Bengal was not born in “a fit of absence of mind” but rather in the midst of wide-ranging metropolitan crises and conflicts. The formation of the British Indian Empire was not an accident but a symptom. It was the expression of fundamental reorientations in British political life and in the relations between the kingdom and the wider world. Throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Britain’s political classes were at the forefront of the struggle against royal absolutism and the spread of “arbitrary power.” During the 1760s and 1770s, this was no longer the case. British politics was entering a profoundly conservative phase and the country’s ruling class was in the vanguard of the European-wide effort to suppress radicalism and republicanism. This political transformation found its most powerful and lasting expressions in the origins and early development of British India and in the transition from the First to the Second British Empire.

part one

he First British Empire and Its Crisis

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chapter 1 ·~·

he First British Empire, the Whig Supremacy, and the East India Company

By the seventeenth century, England’s long-term agrarian capitalist development had separated the direct producers from their means of production and subsistence, thus shifting a significant portion of the population away from primary employment in agriculture.1 As the century drew to a close, England’s level of regional economic specialization and the size of its commercial, manufacturing, and overseas trading sectors were unequaled anywhere else in Europe with the exception of the Netherlands.2 Bourgeois society was rapidly developing in Stuart England, with the production and exchange of commodities playing fundamental roles in daily life. While the mid-century civil wars and English Revolution were ignited by traditional constitutional and religious disputes, during the Commonwealth (1649–1653) there was a self-conscious effort by ascendant merchant forces and republican leaders to transform the political economy of England’s imperial expansion. Although Thomas Scot and other republicans played an important role in these developments, the architects of the Commonwealth’s new imperial political economy were, as Robert Brenner argues, principally drawn from the worlds of unregulated Atlantic trading and East Indian interloping.3 In alliance with elements of the landed elite and middling social strata in London, these new merchant groupings helped to shift England’s centralized territorial state away from an essentially extractive relationship with overseas commercial and colonial expansion—whereby the state attempted to 19

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“arbitrarily” raise revenues from such expansion—toward a new relationship in which the state was fully committed to providing the public infrastructure and military protection necessary for the unlimited flow of English trade, shipping, and investment across the globe. This revolutionary shift in imperial political economy represented a dramatic departure from previous state policy. From the sixteenth-century beginnings of English overseas expansion to the reign of King Charles I, long-distance trade and colonial plantation settlement received limited backing from the Crown.4 England’s colonies and trade beyond Europe were not the products of coherent and concerted state policy but rather of the exploits of merchants and adventurers. When the royal state did intervene in the overseas commercial and colonial arena, it did so largely through fiscal impositions and by granting monopoly charters to Court-connected merchants as well as other key allies and backers. As the Crown’s differences with the majority of the landed elite over religious, fiscal, and foreign policy grew during the 1610s and 1620s, its relations with Parliament worsened. Consequently, the Stuart monarchy sought to improve its finances through taxes that did not require parliamentary consent.5 Indeed, King James I significantly increased the monarchy’s extra-parliamentary revenue stream by wielding his prerogative powers to lay customs taxes on overseas trade.6 As matters worsened over the course of the 1620s, especially with the onset of Charles I’s Personal Rule in 1629, the Crown systematically raised revenue from extraparliamentary sources, which included ship money, forced loans, and the grants provided by projectors and merchants who were the beneficiaries of monopoly and corporate privileges.7 Thus, the evolution of state policy concerning overseas commercial and colonial expansion between the accession of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558 and the outbreak of the civil wars in 1642 largely entailed a shift from the occasional extraction of revenue via the royal prerogative toward the systematic extraction of revenue. As late as Charles I’s reign, the English state deployed its power not to further the kingdom’s imperial expansion, but rather to extract revenue from overseas colonial and commercial endeavors in order to serve the Crown’s short-term interests. The relationship between the coercive capacities of the state and overseas expansion underwent a dramatic transformation in the late 1640s and early 1650s.8 During the first four decades of the seventeenth century, conflicts between the parliamentary landed classes and the Stuart monarchy over foreign policy, taxation, the religious settlement, and war finance increased in frequency and ferocity. These conflicts ultimately led to a shift in the political landscape

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away from a King-in-Parliament ideological consensus toward opposing theories of royal absolutism and parliamentary monarchy (with the latter eventually being supplanted by notions of parliamentary and popular sovereignty).9 When swords were drawn during the civil wars of the 1640s, the anti-absolutist forces backing Parliament were required to raise resources and manpower from beyond the confines of the traditional political nation and the country’s established institutions. New forms of ideological, financial, and military mobilization brought new social groups and economic interests to the fore of political decision-making, armed struggle, and state-building, particularly in London where overseas merchants, religious Independents, shopkeepers, artisans, and craftsmen developed powerful political movements and revolutionized municipal, religious, and military institutions.10 By the time Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army achieved victory in the civil wars in 1648, the politics of anti-absolutism had shifted away from the ideal of a balanced polity toward the assertion of Parliament’s supremacy over the Crown. After the Army’s purging of moderate and conservative parliamentary forces in December 1648, the trial and execution of Charles I in January 1649, the Rump Parliament’s legislation abolishing the monarchy and the House of Lords, and the declaration of the Commonwealth, England was a republic for a brief but dramatic period. It was during the Commonwealth that England’s imperial political economy underwent a remarkable transformation. The republican regime consisting of the Rump Parliament, the Council of State, and the New Model Army was still dominated by the landed classes, but it was nevertheless a radical political experiment that departed from traditional royal and aristocratic— and, more broadly, agrarian—forms of governance. Nowhere was this more manifest than in the reorientation of the English state toward overseas commercial and colonial development.11 With the establishment of the Commonwealth regime in 1649, as Brenner demonstrates, the links that had been built between the increasingly radical parliamentary forces, the Army, and popular political forces in London during the 1640s brought the city’s republican leaders—above all, the religious Independents and the new overseas merchant groupings, largely based on the Atlantic—into positions of direct and indirect political power.12 After the Army dealt the deathblow not only to royal absolutism but also to the democratic radicalism of the Levellers and assorted movements from below, the new merchant leaders were given an opportunity to transform their commercial and imperial aspirations, forged in the largely competitive and entrepreneurial world of England’s Atlantic trade and colonization, into state policy.13

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The Commonwealth regime, under the guidance and organization of leading Atlantic and East India–interloping merchants such as Maurice Thomson, fundamentally transformed England’s imperial expansion. With the decisions to support Robert Blake’s naval expeditions, to foster a naval-industrial complex, and to pass the Convoy Act, the new regime signaled its commitment to building and financing a standing navy capable of projecting maritime power and protecting every line of English trade and colonial development.14 Navaldriven imperial expansion “rose to a position of primacy in England in the wake of the English Civil War,” Daniel Baugh contends, “signaled by the Rump Parliament’s enactment of the Navigation Ordinances of 1650 and 1651 and the outbreak of the First Dutch War in 1652. Its motto may be found in the Preamble to Articles of War issued in that year: ‘It is upon the navy under the Province of God that the safety, honour, and welfare of this realm do chiefly attend.’ ”15 The Act of Trade of 1650, the military expeditions to the Caribbean and Virginia, the Navigation Act of 1651, and the launch of the First Anglo-Dutch War combined to effect a radical transformation of the state’s role in English overseas expansion.16 The Navigation Act, designed to challenge Dutch dominance in the Atlantic carrying trade and to foster England’s shipbuilding and naval industries, established an imperial system that provided a national monopoly for English merchants over the kingdom’s New World trade and plantations, while subjecting those very same merchants to free-trade conditions (within the national monopoly) that encouraged competition, entrepreneurship, and innovation.17 Rather than following Charles I’s model of deploying the coercive capacities of the state to extract revenue from ongoing commercial and colonial development, the Commonwealth regime wielded state power to provide a national protective framework for all English merchants and to force open the markets and sea lanes of the world. Indeed, as Brenner observes, “perhaps for the first time, English government fiscal policies were being consciously and systematically shaped to fit the needs of commercial development rather than vice versa.”18 The Council of Trade founded in 1650—and dominated, as Brenner demonstrates, by the new merchant leadership drawn from the Atlantic and East India-interloping trades as well as by Thomas Chaloner and other “republican radicals who helped to impart to Rump commercial policy its particularly aggressive character”—eliminated corporate trading privileges and monopolies in several lines of English commercial expansion and replaced them with a national-naval protective framework that secured England’s shipping and access to markets while maintaining free-trade conditions among

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English merchants and enterprises.19 The new regime thereby powerfully reinforced the development of England’s emerging commercial and manufacturing society and committed the state to a policy of raising long-term revenue on the basis of an ever-greater volume of economic activity. “The Navigation Acts marked a transition from an organization based on monopoly companies to a total integration of the country’s trade based on national monopoly, with the state playing a leading role,” Christopher Hill observes. “The Navigation Act of 1651 represented the victory of a national trading interest over the separate interests and privileges of the companies . . . [it] realized a Baconian vision towards which men had long been groping: that state control and direction could stimulate material progress.”20 With the Navigation Act and similar policies, the Commonwealth regime brought England’s burgeoning commercial and colonial empire under its direct supervision and regulation. This new imperial-institutional framework abolished private corporate monopolies and established the public infrastructure and military capacities necessary for maximal English commercial expansion, investment, and entrepreneurship. That expansion in turn provided the state with fiscal resources far greater than those raised by Tudor and early Stuart royal exactions and impositions, however extensive. Simply put, the foundations of the First British Empire, based on Atlantic trade and colonies, were laid between 1649 and 1653. “The immense, rationalizing ‘charge’ of the [English] Revolution was detonated overseas,” Perry Anderson pithily observes; “the decisive economic legacy of the Commonwealth was imperialism.”21 Indeed, the Commonwealth gave birth to England’s imperial state in the year 1651.22 The far-reaching transformation of England’s imperial political economy was not undone when the Army leadership brought the Commonwealth to an end and established the Protectorate in 1653. Cromwell’s regime continued the republic’s concerted program of state-led colonial and commercial expansion, and it even extended that program to new frontiers with the Western Design against Spain, the capture of Jamaica, and the establishment of a longterm commitment to prying open the markets and settlements of Spain’s New World empire.23 And, even more importantly, the new foundations of English imperial expansion were largely preserved upon the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660.24 Beginning with the passage of the Navigation Acts of 1660 and 1663, and continuing with James Duke of York’s appointment as Lord High Admiral and his expansion of the country’s naval-industrial complex, the later Stuart kings not only accepted the Commonwealth regime’s fundamental transformation of England’s imperial political economy as a fait

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accompli, but also used the new-modeled empire as a vital instrument in their endeavors to establish an absolutist state. Although King Charles II and King James II renewed their father’s efforts to consolidate an absolute monarchy capable of ruling without dependence on Parliament, they did not seek to unravel the new imperial-institutional framework established by the Commonwealth regime but, rather, to shift it in an autocratic direction. Unlike the governments of James I and Charles I, under the later Stuart kings imperial expansion was central to state policy. Between 1660 and 1688, Charles II and James II aimed to transform the monarchy into the sole manager and maintainer of England’s expanding empire, and thus to employ the revenues and resources that empire generated in order to rule without dependence on Parliament and without effective limits on royal authority.25 After the Commonwealth, England was not just a European power but also a commercial and colonial empire stretching from the plantation settlements of the New World to the coastal ports of South and Southeast Asia. The imperial state was here to stay. What was the relationship between this dramatic imperial-institutional transformation and England’s eastward expansion? The East India Company (EIC), which managed and maintained the kingdom’s trade to Asia throughout the first half of the seventeenth century, was not simply a commercial corporation but also an important ally of the Stuart monarchy, particularly during the politically turbulent 1620s and 1630s, as well as a key pillar of London’s conservative merchant oligarchy. During the mid-century revolutionary upheaval, the EIC and the eastern trade were for the first time, like so many other English institutions, subjected to far-reaching politicization and recurrent public-sphere debates. During the civil wars of the 1640s, the Company faced the growth of both English interloping rivals in Asian waters and domestic parliamentary assaults on its monopoly charter and corporate privileges. With the establishment of the Commonwealth at the end of the decade, and in the wider context of the fundamental transformation of England’s imperial political economy, the eastern trade became a matter of widespread debate in London. Competing politico-ideological groupings and mercantile interests struggled over the organization of English commercial expansion in Asia and the role of the state in it. In 1649, the EIC was fundamentally reorganized along new lines that transformed its mercantile practices and operations. From 1653 to 1657, the Protectorate regime abandoned corporate organization altogether and the eastern trade was laid open. This free and open trade to Asia ended when

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Cromwell renewed the joint-stock monopoly organization, effectively reestablishing the East India Company in 1657. The corporate organization of the eastern trade was confirmed by Charles II and maintained throughout the Restoration era. The EIC emerged on the other side of the English Revolution intact but fundamentally transformed. When the Stuart monarchy was restored in 1660, England was well on its way to becoming a bustling commercial society at the epicenter of global networks of commodity production and exchange. In the midst of this post-revolutionary and increasingly commercial society, Crown and Parliament were engaged in a struggle for mastery of the state. In their effort to consolidate an absolute monarchy, the later Stuarts sought to create an autocratic and tributary empire with royally appointed colonial governors in North America and the royally chartered East India Company at its heart. Such an empire would help to free the monarchy from financial dependence on the legislature. By supporting and empowering monopoly joint-stock overseas trading corporations such as the EIC, the Crown was intervening in the burgeoning commercial sphere in order to privilege sectors of the merchant community, thus protecting them from the competitive and entrepreneurial pressures of that sphere. In return for their privileged and protected status, these rentier businessmen were more than happy to support the monarchy in its confrontation with a recalcitrant Parliament. The Company’s pursuit of Dutch-style aggrandizement along the coasts of India, culminating in the First AngloMughal War (1686-1690), extended this metropolitan logic beyond the Cape of Good Hope.26 The Crown intervened politically in England’s commercial sphere, providing politico-juridical and military privileges to the Company. In return, the EIC intervened politically and militarily in the marketplaces of South Asia in order to raise its commercial profits and shareholder dividends, thus allowing it to provide increased financial support for the monarchy.27 The deepening and strengthening of the Crown-Company alliance was one element in the Stuart monarchy’s efforts to consolidate an autocratic and extractive empire throughout the worldwide zones of English trade and plantation settlement.28 Across England’s overseas empire, from the garrisons of Ireland to the plantation settlements of North America and the West Indies, the Crown pursued an imperial program ultimately designed to increase the rate of revenue extracted from the periphery.29 In several of the Atlantic colonies, Charles II and James II abandoned earlier imperial practices by diminishing the authority of local assemblies and ruling directly through governors

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and their councils.30 The kings hoped that these royal appointees would use their increased power to raise local tax revenues without recourse to colonial elites.31 These developments reached their height between 1685 and 1688 during the reign of James II, whose autocratic imperial program in North America sought to realize, as J. H. Parry aptly remarked, the Spanishstyle “administrative ideal, of great centralized viceroyalties governed from Whitehall.”32 Charles II’s and James II’s American and East Indian endeavors aimed at consolidating an absolutist political economy in England and its overseas possessions. In both imperial theaters, the monarchy amplified the powers and privileges of actors completely dependent on it—royally appointed governors in the New World and a royally chartered joint-stock company in the East Indies—in order to increase the flow of extra-parliamentary revenue into its coffers.33 The subordination of the peripheries was to pave the way for the subordination of the metropole. While the Atlantic and Indian maritime worlds were undoubtedly subject to local dynamics, it is nevertheless vital to realize that Whitehall viewed them through the same lens. With the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Crown’s efforts to erect an autocratic and tributary empire came to an inglorious end. When the revolutionaries of 1688 unraveled Stuart absolutism and secured the supremacy of Parliament, they launched a direct assault on the pillars of this autocratic empire in colonial North America and the trading world of Asia.34 The broad anti-absolutist alliance that lay behind the Revolution ushered in a series of measures that wedded the English state to ruling through Parliament and that wedded its imperial administrations to ruling through colonial assemblies.35 Parliament secured control of the purse strings in England, and local assemblies took control of them in the colonies. With the massive expansion of warfare and its associated costs in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and with the need for ever-increasing taxes and government debt to meet those costs, Parliament was able to use its financial leverage to bring the royal executive to heel and to influence the formation of policy.36 The very same process played out in the colonies, allowing the assemblies to gain power over the imperial executive. “Recurrent colonial warfare since the late seventeenth century had pushed provincial taxing, borrowing, and spending to levels unimaginable,” John Shy remarks; “the financial demands of colonial wars from 1689 to 1748 had, in general, enhanced the power of elected provincial Assemblies, who had used their power to raise and borrow money and to oversee its expenditure as so many levers to bend

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British authority to their collective will.”37 The radically increased power and influence of Parliament and the colonial assemblies meant that the English state was now forced to rule through civil society instead of above it both at home and overseas. These reforms allowed the constitutional monarchy to draw upon the tremendous economic resources generated both by England’s dynamic commercial and manufacturing society and by its colonial and trading empire. These resources were used to create a fiscal-military state that staved off the forces of Jacobite counter-revolution and confronted the geopolitical threat posed by King Louis XIV’s France.38 Crucial to these reforms was the abolition of chartered monopolies and exclusive privileges so as to allow for maximum capital investment and private entrepreneurship in every line of British trade. The Glorious Revolution, the long wars against Bourbon absolutism that issued in its wake, and the institutional innovations that accompanied them generated wide-ranging political and social change as well as heavy taxes on the land, and, during the first decade of the eighteenth century, led to the “rage of party” that dominated English political life. From 1710 to 1714, the landed gentry—largely in reaction to social change, European warfare, and heavy land taxes—empowered a Tory government that threatened to unravel the Revolution Settlement and the new state institutions that were designed to secure it, including the Bank of England, the national debt, the Act of Settlement, and the Duke of Marlborough’s thoroughly rationalized and Europe-centered military command.39 When the Whigs returned to power following the Hanoverian Succession in 1714, they were committed to preserving post-1688 institutional innovations, which they viewed as the only sure protection against the twin threats of Jacobitism and Bourbon absolutism, but they nevertheless recognized the need to win support from the landed gentry and moderate Tories for these innovations. Thus, social instability and political discontent among the gentry ultimately led to the emergence and consolidation of the oligarchic order known as the Whig Supremacy. During the Sunderland-Stanhope ministry and the long premiership of Robert Walpole, Whig aristocratic magnates and leading City financiers consolidated a patronage apparatus and a system of public credit that cemented parliamentary rule and enabled the state to protect and expand Britain’s worldwide commercial and colonial empire without provoking the discontent of the gentry.40 What might be called the Pax Walpoliana solved the fundamental political dilemma of post-1688 Whiggery: namely, how to secure the parliamentary supremacy necessary to prevent the

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return of royal absolutism without at the same time fully empowering the Tory-leaning and largely agrarian parliamentary electorate. The great Whig families and their allies among London’s business elite institutionalized a series of fiscal and political measures that allowed them to avoid taxing the gentry and to cull resources from Britain’s commercial society and maritime empire via excise and customs taxation. They were thus able to secure the hegemony of the unreformed and unrepresentative parliamentary political system and to engage in empire-building without provoking the discontent of the gentry. Under the auspices of the imperial state maintained by the Whig establishment, the Royal Navy provided the coercive capacity necessary for merchants to pursue their private interests throughout the world. The military and administrative expenses accrued by the state in protecting foreign trade and plantation settlements were partially paid for by the revenue generated from customs taxes on overseas commerce. Furthermore, these expenses were well worth the empire’s contribution to social stability through expanding employment and economic prosperity. By protecting and encouraging commercial expansion, the British state could call on considerable long-term loans from the mercantile community in order to finance geopolitical rivalry and warfare. The state’s short-term and long-term fiscal interests were well served by protecting British merchants and their markets overseas.41 From the 1720s to the 1750s, the British East India Company stood at the height of the domestic and imperial system overseen by the Whig establishment.42 As one of the three great monied companies underwriting the fiscalmilitary state and the national debt, the EIC played an important role in the Whig oligarchic order successively managed and maintained by Walpole, Henry Pelham, and the Duke of Newcastle. The campaign against the Company’s commercial monopoly and exclusive privileges launched by City radicals in 1730—the last serious challenge to its metropolitan position until the 1760s—was easily defeated, and the corporation was left to manage the East India trade as its leadership saw fit. By the 1720s, the EIC’s management was no longer an exclusive arch-Tory clique; it was composed of powerful London commercial and financial interests drawn from both the Tory-dominated Old East India Company and the Whig-dominated New East India Company.43 The corporation’s leaders were exemplary exponents of the political and ideological moderation gaining ground in the City and the state. With the waning of the party-political strife that overshadowed the early decades of the eighteenth century, London’s

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leading Tory and Whig merchants and bankers united into a single City elite that was largely conservative Whig in political disposition.44 The urban patricians that governed the chartered corporations, the banks, and the insurance companies tended, as J. H. Plumb remarks, “to support Walpole and call themselves Whigs; but of course to them Whiggery was not a radical creed. It meant, quite simply, the Hanoverian dynasty, with toleration to dissenters and the preservation of things as they were.”45 As a domestic institution, the Company was a near-perfect embodiment of the establishment Whiggery that had successfully diffused and contained political conflict, marginalizing both Tories and more radical Whigs in the process. The EIC’s impenetrable position at home was matched by its steady commercial expansion in Asia. The corporation’s fortified settlements at Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta had grown into urban entrepôts, serving as important links between the internal markets of India and the vibrant seaborne trade of Asia.46 The Company’s long-standing trade in cotton and silk piece-goods was stable and lucrative, and by mid-century its commercial relations with China were rapidly growing. The total value of the EIC’s shipments to the East rose from £552,154 in 1709 to £1,105,845 in 1748.47 During the first half of the eighteenth century, the British Company surpassed the Dutch East India Company to become the most economically successful European enterprise operating in Asian waters. Politically secure and commercially ascendant, the EIC was in a remarkably solid position at home and abroad by the early 1740s. The fundamental context for the Company’s evolution from 1688 to the mid-eighteenth century was the successful consolidation both of the Whig Supremacy in Britain and of the wider First British Empire, largely centered on Atlantic colonial and commercial expansion. As we have seen, the broad contours of England’s imperial state and the First Empire emerged during the Commonwealth and were consolidated by the Cromwellian regime thereafter.48 While many of the domestic achievements of the Commonwealth and Protectorate period were rolled back upon the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, the new imperial state and the political drive for continuing colonial and commercial expansion were not. Charles II was, as Nuala Zahedieh observes, “attracted . . . to the imperial project,” and he and his younger brother were “enthusiastic support[ers] of expansion” that “helped to extend England’s frontier (Jamaica was retained and Carolina was chartered in the first years of the Restoration), acquired colonial land, invested in privateering, the slave trade, and colonial joint-stock companies and, in all cases, hoped to use the political levers of power to extract a profit.”49 The fundamental question of

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overseas expansion during the Restoration era was not whether England would maintain an empire but whether or not that empire would be brought under autocratically centralized control, with viceroy-style imperial executives responsible to Whitehall in colonial America and a militarized EIC managing the eastern trade in the interests of the Crown and a small clique of Tory directors and shareholders.50 With the Glorious Revolution, the Stuart monarchy’s aspirations to transform England’s burgeoning colonial and commercial empire in an authoritarian direction were dashed. The Whig-led transformations of England’s domestic and overseas political economy undertaken in the 1690s and the first decades of the eighteenth century both consolidated the English imperial state born during the Commonwealth and, crucially, brought it under the control of Parliament, thus preventing the Crown from using the wealth and resources of the empire to pursue absolutism. As part and parcel of the process of subjecting England’s empire to parliamentary oversight and management, the Whig “revolution in political economy” built upon and expanded the colonial and commercial achievements of the Interregnum.51 Atlantic colonial assemblies were preserved or restored and the EIC was brought to heel and reformed, while the commercial and financial revolutions furthered England’s overseas expansion. The wealth and resources generated by this empire were in turn used to defend the revolutionary settlement of 1689 and the Whig oligarchic regime that was consolidated by the 1720s against the three greatest threats posed to them: Jacobite counter-revolution and restoration, Bourbon absolutism and France’s imperial ambitions, and the conservative recalcitrance of the Tories and a significant section of the landed gentry. Thus the Whig Supremacy and the parliamentary state’s “empire of liberty” were ushered into the world. Simply and perhaps crudely put: the Commonwealth and the Protectorate laid down the broad contours of the First British Empire, the Stuart monarchy and Parliament struggled for mastery over the new imperial state throughout the Restoration era, and the period from 1689 through Walpole’s reign witnessed the flourishing of the First Empire as the “empire of liberty.” The evolution of the EIC during the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was fundamentally conditioned by these domestic-political and overseas-imperial developments.52 Between the Restoration and Walpole’s reign, the Company changed from an instrument of Stuart absolutism into a pillar of the Whig Supremacy. Although the highest aspirations of the most zealous Whigs of the 1690s for reforming the East India trade—namely, to reorganize it along the lines of a loosely regulated or free trade under the

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protection of the parliamentary state—were not realized, by the early decades of the eighteenth century the direct ties between the EIC and the Crown were severed, the corporation was brought under the control of Parliament, its joint-stock was significantly expanded so as to allow for increased participation in the trade, and its aggressive military exploits in the East were curbed. The Company was made safe for the world of Whiggery, and the world of Whiggery was profitable for the corporation’s directors and shareholders. After 1714, with the return of the Whigs to power and the consolidation of a political order that successfully governed Britain for almost another half century, the EIC’s position was unassailable.53 Not only did the SunderlandStanhope and Walpole ministries actively intervene to eliminate the Company’s interloping rivals throughout Europe, they also backed the corporation against its enemies at home. When the City radical John Barnard launched a parliamentary and public-sphere assault on the EIC’s exclusive privileges and commercial monopoly in 1730, his campaign brought together the most important elements of the earlier anti-Company alliance: outport merchants, middling traders, and radical Whigs.54 Invoking the struggles of the 1680s against the then Tory-dominated monopoly company allied to Stuart absolutism, the anti-EIC forces of 1730 claimed “that however any Corporation may have the Sanction of Parliament for the carrying on a Trade, exclusive of all other their fellow Subjects, yet that notwithstanding, they are to all Intents and Purposes a Monopoly; and the very same Arguments which were good against any exclusive Trades being carried on by Virtue of the Prerogative Royal, are equally now as strong against the allowing any Trade’s continuing to be carried on by a Company, with a Joint-Stock, exclusive of the rest of the Subjects of this Kingdom.”55 This threat was easily parried by the Walpole ministry, which extended the Company’s charter until 1766 in return for a £200,000 grant to the government.56 The EIC was, along with the Bank of England and the South Sea Company, one of the largest subscribers to the public debt. Furthermore, its directors and leading shareholders were among the principal participants in the closed subscriptions to government loans.57 The relationship between the Whig establishment and the monied companies was, as George Rudé observes, one of “give-and-take and, in return for the government’s protection, the great companies were always ready in times of emergency, to place their considerable holdings at the government’s disposal.”58 In the face of the financial arrangements that underpinned the Whig Supremacy, the campaigns of anti-Company radicals stood little chance of success.

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The close association of the Whig establishment with the EIC and other monied companies eroded the party’s popular base. There’s little surprise that, as one observer put it, Walpole “is hated by the city of London because he never did anything for the trading part of it, nor aimed at any interest of theirs but a corrupt influence over the directors and governors of the great monied companies.”59 During the 1720s and 1730s, as the relationship between the Company and the Whig establishment deepened and strengthened, Bolingbroke and other Tory advocates of the anti-establishment Country program sought to bring politicized elements of the urban-based commercial and manufacturing classes into an alliance with independent country gentlemen by virulently criticizing the EIC and its fellow monopoly corporations. Bolingbroke called for the restoration of a golden age of landed rule, when the gentry, free from the corrupting influence of wealthy magnates and monied men, ran the country in the interests of the middling and lower orders: It was therefore the Wisdom and Care of our Ancestors to preserve and encourage Trade in all its Branches, by making it free to all the Subjects of England; and we find that when some of our Princes had granted Charters to select Bodies of Men to carry on an exclusive Trade to any particular Place or Country, Acts of Parliament were made for restraining Monopolies, and giving the Subjects of England an equal Freedom of Trade to all Countries, and declaring, that Charters of Incorporation disabled all other Subjects of the Realm, and debarred them from enlarging the Traffick of it, to the manifest impoverishing of all Owners of Ships, Masters, Mariners, Fishermen, Clothiers, Tuckers, Spinsters, and many Thousands of Handicraft Men, besides the Decrease of the Subsidies, Customs, and other Impositions, and the Decay of Navigation.60 Contra Bolingbroke’s claim, the country gentlemen had by and large not been at the forefront of efforts to break up the monopoly companies in the seventeenth century. However, this historical imaginary served as an ideological weapon in the present, not as a record of the past. If Bolingbroke’s political project was to have any chance of success, the commercial and manufacturing classes would have to abandon their attachment to Whig rule in favor of the Country program. The talented propagandist sought to mobilize these classes under the leadership of the Tory gentry in order to wage war against their common Whig oligarchic enemies in the City and the state.

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From the broadest possible vantage point, the consolidation of an alliance between the Whig establishment and the EIC should be viewed as a symptom of the wider changes in post-1688 political economy. The defeat of the royal absolutist project and its effort to erect an autocratic and tributary empire ultimately ushered in wide-ranging changes in political economy designed to maximize Britain’s commercial and industrial expansion and to consolidate an “empire of the seas” organized around free trade within the framework of a national monopoly. Parliament’s declaration of a free trade to the East Indies in 1694 and the establishment of a regulated and open commercial organization for this purpose in 1698 (the General Society for trading to the East Indies) were important aspects of this transformation. However, recurrent warfare with Bourbon France led to the creation of a system of public credit that heavily relied on the City’s elite Whig merchants and financiers, many of whom sought to restore the monopoly joint-stock organization of the eastern trade. Having overthrown the Crown-Company alliance and created a new joint-stock corporation with a vastly expanded capital subscription, elite Whig merchants and financiers no longer supported the project of the General Society and the more radical program of the anti-EIC alliance. As the influence of these elite merchants and financiers grew in the halls of power, so too did the pressure on ministers to end the radical free-trade experiment.61 By the end of the first decade of the eighteenth century, the East India trade was again controlled by a monopoly joint-stock company, now with a charter from Parliament. The same developments transformed the EIC into a key ally of the Whig establishment. The Company’s fate was now inseparably bound up with the evolution of the Whig oligarchic order in state and society. From the 1720s to the 1750s, the EIC’s commercial success was tied to the greater stability of the Whig Supremacy and of the First British Empire. The remainder of this chapter outlines the contours and dynamics of both the fully developed First Empire, highlighting its fundamental differences from the Second Empire, and the Whig Supremacy that managed and maintained it. For the central argument of the subsequent chapters is that the transformation of the Company from a commercial corporation into a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent, and thus the origins and early development of the Second Empire, were deeply linked with the interrelated crises of the Whig Supremacy and the First Empire. These crises, and the conflicts and resolutions they entailed, ultimately led to the abandonment of the practices and ideals of the commercial and maritime “empire of liberty”

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and to the consolidation of an autocratic, militaristic, and extractive empire in South Asia and beyond. The First British Empire was a maritime vehicle for commercial and industrial expansion concerned more with constituting and maintaining global networks of commodity exchange than with the conquest and subjugation of foreign territories and dominions.62 It was understood by contemporaries to be both “an empire over the seas as distinct from the territorial empires of conquest established by imperial Rome or by Spain,” and an institutional framework under which “commerce would bring the peoples of the world together for their mutual benefit.”63 Centered on the Atlantic, this maritime empire consisted of colonial plantation settlements in the New World and vast commercial networks stretching from northwestern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East to western Africa and the Asian maritime world. Colonial plantations were established in areas thought to be relatively free of pre-existing, well-settled populations. These settlements enjoyed an important degree of de facto political autonomy from the metropole. Although the exploitation of African slave labor and the expropriation of lands from indigenous peoples in the New World were crucial aspects of the First Empire, the coercion involved in such activities was of a different nature from that entailed in territorial conquest and political dominion over large populations.64 For its supporters, the First Empire was a maritime realm of political liberty and commodity exchange, not a military dominion governing vast populations and territories. British trade extended far beyond the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean and the Arabian and South China Seas. Although there were important links between the New World and trade to Asia, the latter was managed and monopolized by the EIC, and thus contemporaries considered it a realm apart.65 The Company maintained sizeable settlements and factories throughout the East, but they served largely commercial purposes.66 Although the EIC’s leadership made a decisive effort during the Restoration era to militarize and territorialize its settlements, these actions were bound up with late Stuart absolutism and must be seen as part of the Crown’s endeavors to autocratically centralize England’s empire. Throughout most of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, English activity beyond the Cape of Good Hope was by and large commercial in character and confined to coastal enclaves such as Bombay and Madras. By the later eighteenth century, British overseas expansion had departed significantly from the long-standing ideals and practices of the maritime and

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commercial “empire of liberty.” While the metropolitan government was attempting to centralize and militarize its Atlantic empire, a new form of territorial imperialism was emerging in South Asia. The EIC’s military struggle to maintain its lucrative trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope resulted in full-blown political dominion over northeastern India. The corporation’s imperial metamorphosis was the most important development in the transition to the Second British Empire; it provided the basis not only for a territorial empire that eventually spanned the entire subcontinent, but also for the “swing to the East” of British overseas expansion. The political interventions and military conquests carried out by British forces in Asia throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were largely undertaken in order to serve the fiscal, commercial, and geopolitical interests of the Raj.67 The Company’s state in Bengal was in many respects the cornerstone of the Second Empire, giving Britain’s overseas expansion a different character from the Atlantic empire of an earlier epoch. While commerce and colonial settlement continued unabated, post-diwani British imperialism now encompassed direct political rule over vast territories and well-settled populations.68 The EIC’s conquest of Bengal witnessed the rise of a new imperialism that was far more overtly coercive in character. The new elements in British imperialism—or rather, the elements that were distinct to the Second Empire as opposed to the elements characteristic of the First—included authoritarian government, territorial conquest, and extractive revenue policies. The ideologies and practices entailed in the early formation of British India (especially in Robert Clive’s second governorship of Bengal from 1765 to 1767) continued to shape British imperialism on the Indian subcontinent and throughout Asia during and after the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.69 The illiberal imperialism that originated with the conquest of Bengal and the attempt to coerce the North American colonies grew in strength over the course of the later eighteenth century. The maritime “empire of liberty” now included conquered territories and political dominions.70 The truly vital element in this transformation—that is, the most important feature of the new imperialism—cannot be captured by categories such as “the market” or “territorial rule.” Trade remained an important element of the empire from its dawn until its twilight. Furthermore, even though the First Empire was primarily maritime and commercial in focus, the colonial settlements of the New World invariably raised questions of territory and rule. However, the fact that such questions arose in the seventeenth as well as the nineteenth century does not mean that there was no significant change of

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course in the evolution of British imperialism. “Direct coercion” and “overt domination” are perhaps better categories for comprehending the imperial rupture marked by the consolidation of the Company’s territorial dominion in Bengal.71 The 1760s witnessed the birth of an imperial policy in both South Asia and the New World designed to allow the British state to master events and processes that ministers and officials thought were spiraling out of control. Before exploring this argument and its implications in subsequent chapters, it is necessary to examine the contours and dynamics of the First British Empire in greater detail. From the reign of Elizabeth I until the mid-eighteenth century, the island kingdom’s offshoots overseas consisted largely of export-driven settler colonies in the New World and mercantile factories in the key ports of Europe, Africa, and Asia. While these outposts were initially founded by private enterprises with limited backing from the Crown, in the mid- to late seventeenth century they were integrated into an overarching order often referred to as the Old Colonial System. From the Commonwealth’s transformation of imperial political economy, embodied in the naval buildup and in the laws of trade and navigation, to the Whig-led imperial reforms that followed the Glorious Revolution, a worldwide zone of English trade and plantation settlement was consolidated and regulated by Whitehall and Westminster in order to achieve three interrelated objectives: commercial expansion, industrial production, and national security. In addition to the importation of raw materials, staple products, and luxury goods otherwise unavailable in the metropole, this imperial system provided crucial outlets for the sale of English manufactured goods. By the late seventeenth century, these overseas outlets were vital for the expansion of England’s commercial and manufacturing society as foreign trade allowed for continuing production in the face of the slow and often halting growth of domestic demand.72 The export of manufactures to foreign and colonial markets grew more rapidly than the domestic economy as a whole, and, as Patrick K. O’Brien argues, “the growth of British industry from the Restoration onwards was promoted by increasing involvement with the international economy in general and with an ‘Imperial’ system in particular.”73 Steady and increasing production in turn allowed for ever-higher levels of industrial employment, which was conducive to both social stability and the expansion of state revenue via excise and customs taxation. This overseas system formed a worldwide network of commodity exchange and social labor that connected London, Birmingham, and Liverpool with Philadelphia, Kingston, and Madras.74

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Within this imperial formation, security and prosperity were deeply linked.75 The Royal Navy provided the coercive capacity necessary for merchants to pursue their private interests throughout the world. In turn, customs taxation on overseas trade provided the revenue necessary for maintaining the Royal Navy. Furthermore, private commercial enterprise generated the skilled seamen and shipbuilding industry vital for maritime warfare.76 “As trade enriched the citizens in England, so it contributed to their freedom, and this freedom on the other side extended their commerce, whence arose the grandeur of the state,” remarked Voltaire in his reflections on Walpole’s Britain. By drawing the connection between Britain’s commercial expansion and naval power, the Anglophile philosophe explained to the European reading public how it was possible for a relatively resource-poor country off the coast of northwestern Europe to emerge in the early eighteenth century as the leading geopolitical rival to Bourbon France. “Trade raised by insensible degrees the naval power, which gives the English a superiority over the Seas, and they are now masters of very near two hundred ships of war,” Voltaire observed; “[p]osterity will very possibly be surprised to hear that an island whose only produce is a little lead, tin, fuller’s earth, and coarse wool, should become so powerful by its commerce as to be able to send, in 1723, three fleets at the same time to three different and far distanced parts of the globe: one before Gibraltar, conquered and still possessed by the English; a second to Porto Bello, to dispossess the King of Spain of the treasures of the West Indies; and a third into the Baltic, to prevent the Northern Powers from coming to an engagement.”77 This naval war machine was designed to protect and extend commercial activity, to secure raw materials, and to open new markets for British manufactures. “Hence it is, and ever must be, the true policy of the British Government,” averred the editors of the Whiggish Monthly Review in 1764, “to support and extend its commerce, in order to acquire superior strength in making war; and to make war, in order to protect and still farther extend its commerce.”78 Government ministers used the fiscal and military resources generated by overseas trade and naval might to subsidize armies and allies in continental Europe. “Imperial advantage—whether in terms of trade or colonial expansion—was not an end in itself,” Marie Peters reminds us. Indeed, eighteenthcentury British statesmen “saw colonial rivalry as an extension, even an intrinsic part, of the European struggle.”79 The emergence of a single European hegemon—especially of a Bourbon “universal monarchy”—threatened Britain’s security in terms of its territorial integrity and access to continental

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markets. The wealth generated by the Atlantic empire made available the money and men necessary for maintaining the balance of power on the continent, thus allowing Britain to preserve the “liberties of Europe” without generating any of the administrative and military costs of political rule and territorial conquest.80 Furthermore, the British naval war machine honed by Atlantic expansion was able to curtail an enemy power’s trade and shipping, thus reducing the fiscal resources at its disposal. The “empire of the seas” was a bulwark against the territorial empires of Europe, combining coercion and commerce to preserve the European balance of power as well as Britain’s access to global markets. The exercise of coercion in the First British Empire (and it was exercised often) was not intended to subjugate foreign territories and peoples but rather to maintain the conditions for the expansion of British trade. Britain founded colonies as a means of developing its trade and manufacturing, not in order to expand its reach over vast territories.81 In terms of post-1688 British policy, imperial expansion was designed both to open up new markets and to establish additional settler colonies in areas relatively free of pre-existing populations. Within this imperial-institutional framework, large acquisitions of land and direct rule over foreign subjects were viewed with extreme skepticism. As Baugh contends, the value of this empire was “seen to derive from maritime commerce rather than territory and dominion.” Plantations settled by British migrant laborers and African slave laborers benefited the mother country insofar as “they stimulated commerce by producing commodities for export and markets for English goods; they protected and sustained overseas naval bases; and they served to enlarge the pool of English-controlled shipping and seamen.”82 British ministers supported military actions in Europe in order to maintain the balance of power. They did not aim to establish a continental-style territorial empire, which was anathema in British political culture. The conquest of European lands usually yielded little more than “Inconsiderable Scraps of beggarly Territories,” mused an essayist in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1737, which “Infallibly involve us in Quarrels they are not worth, and in Expences which the Fee-Simple of them, if sold, would not defray.” Dismissing the Hundred Years’ War and medieval dynastic conflict as so much nonsense, the writer confidently proclaimed, “we may assert, that we are wiser than our Ancestors, in avoiding the Mischiefs of Conquests they so eagerly pursued—We have all of France that I hope we ever shall have, the Title and the Arms; the one sounds very well in the Style of our Kings, and the other

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looks very well in their Escutcheons, but the Reality would ruin us.”83 Direct rule over populated territories was deemed unnecessary and unwise as the administrative costs of governance and the military costs of policing and protecting such acquisitions outran any benefits that might arise from them. Voltaire remarked that “the greatest defect in the government of the Romans raised them to be conquerors . . . by being unhappy at home, they triumphed over and possessed themselves of the world, till at last their divisions sank them to slavery.” He was certain the island kingdom would not suffer a similar fate since “the government of England will never rise to so exalted a pitch of glory, nor will its end be so fatal [for] the English are not fired with the splendid folly of making conquests, but would only prevent their neighbours from conquering.”84 It was a commonplace maxim of British political culture that greater economic resources were harnessed from commercial exchange than from military conquest. “Trade, without enlarging the British Territories,” the Whig opinion-maker Joseph Addison remarked in 1711, “has given us a kind of additional Empire: It has multiply’d the Number of the Rich, made our Landed Estates infinitely more Valuable than they were formerly, and added to them an Accession of other Estates as valuable as the Lands themselves.”85 The very possibility of an “empire of the seas” led the influential Marquis of Halifax to celebrate the fact that Englishmen and women were “in an Island, confined to it by God Almighty, not as a Penalty, but a Grace, and one of the greatest that can be given to Mankind.”86 According to the respected Trimmer, this “Happy Confinement” necessitated a foreign policy based on commercial expansion and sea power rather than on territorial conquests and the political subjugation of foreign peoples. In so doing, it made for a “Free, Rich, and Quiet” England. “Our Situation hath made Greatness abroad by Land Conquests unnatural things to us,” Halifax rejoiced. “It is true, we have made Excursions, and Glorious ones too, which make Names great in History, but they did not last.” Writing in the imperial policy debates that followed the Revolution of 1688–1689, Halifax asserted that “the first Article of an English-man’s Political Creed, must be, That he believeth in the Sea.”87 While the maritime empire was underpinned by the Royal Navy and the greater fiscal-military state, it was seen as essentially non-coercive. This was because the exercise of imperial power aimed not to establish dominion over populations and territories, but rather to secure Britain’s participation in global commerce amid intense geopolitical rivalry. According to the empire’s ideological defenders and propagandists, British subjects could trade and

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compete freely on the world market only to the extent that the British state made such transactions possible. The state made global commercial activity possible by playing the role of a neutral arbiter in disputes between British merchants and by protecting all British trade from the depredations of other states—that is, by providing the public infrastructure necessary for the free play of private economic interests. Countless pamphleteers and polemicists claimed that this maritime and commercial empire generated far more resources for the British government than territorial conquests ever could. The political theorist and sometime Board of Trade councilor John Locke contended that “securing our Navigation and Trade [is] more the Interest of the Kingdom than Wars of Conquest.”88 From the late seventeenth century until the Seven Years’ War, this view represented more or less a consensus in both British policy and economic theory. Thus, when John Campbell asserted in his 1750 survey of the Great Powers that Britain’s strength lay in commercial expansion and not in acquiring “a great Extent of Territory, Multitudes of Subjects, or rich and fruitful Countries,” he was merely expressing a widely-held view regarding the aims and purposes of the kingdom’s overseas activity.89 “The rise and prosperity of the republics of Pisa, Genoa, and Venice, and, in later times, of the Dutch republic, who all attained to their grandeur and prosperity, not by extent of territory, but by Commerce alone,” insisted the Monthly Review editors, “has, in a great measure, opened the eyes of almost all the Courts in Europe, and convinced them, that the largest extent of fertile territory, the wisest counsels, and the best military discipline, may not produce so much national strength as may be produced by manufactures and commerce within the compass of a very small or barren territory.”90 Continental observers had little doubt that Britain was at the forefront of this new commercial imperialism. “It is not only war that determines supremacy among nations, as has been thought until the present day,” declared the Abbé Raynal; “for the past half century, trade has played a far more important role.” The French radical decried “the powers of the continent [for] measuring Europe and dividing it up into unequal portions, which [are] continually kept in balance by political leagues, treaties, and negotiations,” while calling attention to the fact that “a maritime nation was forming a new system, so to speak, by its efforts making the land subject to the sea, just as nature herself has done by her laws.” Raynal was certain that Britain was on the path to global hegemony as “it was creating or developing a vast commercial network, based on excellent agriculture, thriving manufacturing, and the richest possessions of the four quarters of the earth.”91 The public and

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private resources generated by Britain’s maritime empire were the envy of continental monarchs and merchants alike. The “empire of the seas” involved the elaboration on a world scale of the distinction between state and civil society—between public regulation and the sphere of commodity exchange and social labor—that was emerging in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. The Royal Navy protected a kind of maritime polity that stretched from Europe, North America, and the West Indies to Africa and Asia. Within this transnational space, British men and women freely gathered and disposed of their property as they saw fit. This was the basis on which early modern Britons understood their empire as fundamentally different from the world powers of old; an empire that was conceived of as, David Armitage reminds us, “Protestant, commercial, maritime, and free.”92 This was an imperial formation rooted in the ideals and practices of generalized commodity production and exchange.93 The “empire of the seas” was designed to foster those ideals and practices across the globe. The consolidation of the First British Empire was the achievement of the Whig oligarchic regime that developed from the 1690s to the accession of King George II in 1727. The Whig Supremacy emerged out of the long period of social and political instability that began with the Exclusion Crisis of the later 1670s and ended during Walpole’s early premiership in the 1720s.94 From 1721 until 1756, three leading ministers—Walpole, Pelham, and Newcastle— successively managed and maintained a state apparatus that stabilized the country after nearly a half century of political conflict so severe that many feared the return of civil war.95 The social basis of the Whig establishment during this period lay in the aristocracy and the greater gentry, most of whom were commercial landlords with large estates, living off significant rental incomes as well as the earnings from financial and commercial investments.96 These wealthy landed magnates were not opposed to the capitalist transformation of British society; rather, they were its principal beneficiaries.97 Their rental incomes swelled from the growth of mass consumption, the expansion of commercial imperialism, and the development of manufacturing industry, which generated increasing demand for the products grown and the resources available on their estates.98 They were full participants in the world of trade and finance, and were deeply concerned with the overall health of Britain’s economy. The landed magnates at the apex of Hanoverian Britain’s social order “did not have to stop being feudal,” Eric Hobsbawm remarks, “for they had long ceased to be so.”99

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The parliamentary supremacy and fiscal-military state created in the wake of the Glorious Revolution and maintained by the Whig establishment during the eighteenth century were in part expressions of the interests of wealthy capitalist landlords and their elite merchant and banker allies in London.100 Seeking to maintain and extend the domestic and imperial conditions necessary for their own reproduction, the landed magnates and their allies consolidated a capitalist political economy.101 “Out of pure self-interest,” Harold Perkin remarks, the post-1688 aristocracy and greater gentry “created the political conditions—personal liberty, absolute security of property, the minimum of internal intervention, and adequate protection from foreign competition—best suited for generating [much later] a spontaneous industrial revolution.”102 The British state that emerged after 1688, and that was consolidated by the Whig establishment in the 1720s, provided the public infrastructure necessary for the free play of private interests in civil society and the military might necessary for geopolitical security and economic expansion overseas.103 The Whig regime created and maintained by capitalist aristocrats and the City elite was rooted in, and ultimately dependent upon, the consolidation and expansion of bourgeois society in Britain. Although political power was monopolized by the landed classes, the establishment of Parliament’s supremacy and a capitalist political economy following 1688 fostered a remarkably dynamic society and economy, a vibrant intellectual life, and an open and raucous political culture. This is why, as Linda Colley argues, Whig grandees avidly sought out Canaletto’s paintings portraying an idealized Venice “as if it were still in its fifteenth-century prime, the perfect maritime republic . . . the Queen of the Adriatic, a trading empire, proud of its freedom, yet securely controlled by an oligarchy.” These grandees were deeply invested in “the legend of Venetian power and prosperity . . . because it suggested that commercial energy, imperial dominion, a taste for liberty, and stable rule by an exclusive élite could all be painlessly combined.”104 While traditional ranks and hierarchies pervaded eighteenth-century Britain, there was nevertheless a good degree of social mobility in comparison to continental Europe.105 Furthermore, throughout the first half of the century Britain’s economy was expanding and diversifying, with the manufacturing and commercial sectors generating between one-third and one-half of national income by the 1750s.106 The island kingdom was fully integrated into global networks of commodity production and exchange, and by 1760 shipping tonnage had grown by 30 percent while the total value of imports and exports had grown by 40

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and 80 percent respectively.107 The landed magnates and London’s merchant and banking elite were made fabulously wealthy by these economic developments, but the middling sort and the plebeian classes also benefited from increasing material prosperity, employment opportunities, and consumption levels. Surveying the national economy in 1728, Daniel Defoe informed his readers that if the wealth and employment generated by British trade, manufacturing, and navigation “were cast up together, the Poor, that is to say, such as were formerly counted among the Poor, I mean the Tradesmen, the Shopkeeping, trading and labouring Part of the People” would be found to “have more real movable Wealth among them, than all the Gentry and Nobility in the whole Kingdom, not reckoning the real Estates in Lands, Tenements, &c. of which they possess a surprising Share also.”108 The Whig regime fostered economic expansion across the board, aiming to increase the public revenue available for maintaining internal stability and for projecting external strength by increasing the economic activity of the population as a whole. As Frank O’Gorman observes, “the Hanoverian regime was supremely well disposed towards finance, commerce and industry, recognizing their vital importance to the nation, to its security and to its ability to finance the wars in which Britain was from time to time forced to engage.”109 Social transformation and economic expansion gave rise to a vibrant public sphere, an enlightened intellectual life, and a robust extra-parliamentary political culture. Important issues of the day were discussed and debated in coffeehouses, taverns, clubs, and associations throughout London and the provincial urban centers.110 The lapsing of the Licensing Act in 1695, the civil and religious liberties secured in the Glorious Revolution, and the growth of the popular press and pamphlet literature allowed for relatively free and open discussion of scientific, political, economic, and religious issues.111 While Enlightenment culture often developed behind closed doors in the continental monarchies, it openly flourished in Britain during the high noon of the Whig Supremacy. The most pressing issue for the Whig establishment was managing the political life of this boisterous, commercial, and rapidly changing society. While the Whig grandees embraced economic growth and its accompanying social change, they feared that eventually the combative and divisive politics that attended an open and free society—and that created a period of intense party strife and instability in the early eighteenth century—would undermine the constitutional liberties and parliamentary supremacy achieved in 1688.112 Above all else, the Whig grandees feared a recrudescence of Stuart absolutism,

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a threat they believed was posed both by a recidivist Tory and Jacobite Right and by a zealous and potentially republican Whig Left. The Whig establishment carefully managed Parliament and the electorate by deftly using government patronage and by moderating its party’s political positions. With the resources of the Crown and an expanding fiscal-military state at its disposal, the Whig establishment was able, in its view, to make Parliament and elections safe for the Revolution Settlement and the Hanoverian regime.113 Walpole, Pelham, Newcastle, and the grandees who supported them were committed to a Court Whiggery that embraced the power of the centralized state and abandoned any pretense to popular radicalism. While this ideology contained authoritarian political strands, the Court Whigs were nevertheless committed to upholding the civil liberties and parliamentary supremacy won in 1688 and confirmed in 1714.114 “These parties were far from being friends to arbitrary power, or in any sort averse to parliaments; they loved the constitution,” the editors of the Annual Register observed about Newcastle and his allies—and, by extension, about the Whig establishment from the 1720s—in their 1758 review of the British political landscape, “but they were for preserving the authority of government entire, and in its utmost lawful force. To make government more easy, knowing that many would disturb it, from disaffection, or disgust, or mistaken notions of liberty, they thought it just to rule men by their interests, if they could not by their virtues, and they had long been in the practice of procuring a majority in parliament, by the distribution of numerous lucrative places and employments which our constitution leaves in the disposal of the crown. Several believed that no other method was practicable, considering the nature of mankind, and our particular form of government.”115 The Whig oligarchs used this machinery of patronage and place to manage the landed classes and, through them, the country. Thus, while the enterprise and industry of the middling sort and the plebeian classes were vital to the British state, power and policy remained firmly in the hands of the aristocracy and greater gentry.116 Central to this entire political order was a system of public finance that allowed the Whig establishment to raise public loans and to earmark future taxation revenue for the interest payments. After 1714, ministers increasingly imposed customs and excise duties, shifting the burden of taxation off the land and on to commerce and industry.117 This shift and the general system of public finance allowed the Hanoverian regime to pursue imperial expansion and, when necessary, to project power without financially burdening the gentry class that dominated the House of Commons.118

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London’s haute bourgeoisie played a crucial role in the Whig oligarchic order.119 The City’s elite merchants and financiers invested heavily in government debt, and the extensive positions they had to fill in their companies and businesses were an additional source of patronage placed at the ministry’s disposal.120 Whig ministers rewarded the loyalty of London’s plutocrats with government contracts and closed subscriptions to public loans.121 The interest payments on these loans were raised not by taxes on wealth or real estate but rather by excise and customs duties that disproportionately burdened the middling sort and the plebeian classes.122 However much these systems of patronage and public finance served the long-term geopolitical and economic interests of Britain, the growth of taxes in order to meet the needs of an oligarchic government and to pay the interest on the public debt eroded popular support for the Whig establishment over time. The editors of the Annual Register thus noted that, although Newcastle and his allies “had undoubtedly the greatest parliamentary interest” and “another interest hardly less considerable, that of the monied people,” their rule faced serious obstacles as “they were not at all popular; a matter of great consideration in a government like ours.”123 The Walpole, Pelham, and Newcastle ministries consolidated and continued the imperial system put in place in the aftermath of 1688. The Whig establishment defended the imperial status quo, rejecting radical efforts to abolish the East India Company and to create a free trade to the East as well as authoritarian measures that sought to extract greater revenue from the American colonies (such as in 1722, when Walpole’s administration explicitly rejected Atlantic imperial reforms similar to some of those later introduced by the Grenville ministry in the 1760s).124 While Walpole, Pelham, and Newcastle were well aware of the smuggling networks that flourished on the Atlantic and among the American colonists in direct violation of the laws of trade and navigation, they nevertheless remained committed to the system now known as “Salutary Neglect.” The tight regulation and even restriction of colonial trade, though legal and within Parliament’s power, were best avoided. The growing profits from legal and illegal colonial trade ultimately generated more demand for British manufactures, since the merchants and farmers of North America used their expanding income to buy finished products from the metropole. Hence, the Whig establishment was hesitant to extensively interfere with colonial trade for fear of undermining domestic industrial expansion and the political and social benefits that accrued from it. Walpole crisply conveyed this imperial wisdom to his cabinet colleagues:

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I will leave that [Atlantic colonial regulation] for some of my successors, who have more courage than I have, and are less a friend to commerce than I am. It has been a maxim with me during this administration, to encourage the trade of the American colonies in the utmost latitude, (nay, it has been necessary to pass over some irregularities in their trade with Europe); for, by encouraging them to an extensive growing foreign commerce, if they gain £500,000, I am convinced that, in two years afterwards full £250,000 of their gains will be in his majesty’s exchequer, by the labour and produce of this kingdom; as immense quantities of every kind of our manufactures go thither, and as they increase in their foreign American trade, more of our produce will be wanted. This is taxing them more agreeably to their own constitution and ours.125 From the 1720s to the 1750s, the Whig regime maintained the imperial status quo, which helped keep Britain prosperous and stable. The preservation of this imperial political-economic order was by no means an easy feat. While a potent fiscal-military state was available to maintain the European balance of power, to protect the Electorate of Hanover, and to defend Britain’s commercial and colonial interests, the Whig establishment was reluctant to go to war. Armed conflict led to significant increases in the national debt and in domestic taxation. Anxieties regarding the debt and tax burden, and the political discontent they might provoke, informed Walpole’s central geopolitical objective between the later 1720s and the outbreak of war with Spain in 1739: the maintenance of a stable system of alliances and peace in Europe.126 Furthermore, recurrent warfare disrupted commerce, particularly the most lucrative and stable patterns of trade dominated by London’s merchant elite. Against this backdrop, Whig ministers calculated that they had more to lose than to gain from war. By the mid-1750s, the Whig establishment found it increasingly difficult to monopolize the political stage. In the later 1720s, an unstable coalition emerged to challenge the oligarchic order. This anti-establishment coalition encompassed extremely diverse social interests and political views. Consequently, its critique of the status quo contained both conservative and radical implications. The main two political groups in this fragile coalition were independent Whigs and Tories. The former embraced popular politics and thought that the revolutionary settlement of 1688 had not gone far enough; the latter had been out of power since the Hanoverian Succession in

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1714 and were extremely critical of the oligarchic order consolidated under Walpole.127 This alliance drew on the Country critique of growing executive power and an expanding centralized state.128 Taking aim at three of the principal pillars of the Whig Supremacy—the Financial Revolution, the patronage system and electoral management, and placemen in the House of Commons—Country propagandists contended that British liberties were drowning in a sea of executive power and financial corruption. They advocated for purging placemen from the Commons, curbing Crown patronage, and holding triennial parliamentary elections (as opposed to every seven years). Although the Country program was in many respects conservative in character, several of its positions informed the political radicalism that emerged later in the eighteenth century.129 Over the course of the later 1720s and 1730s, the opposition alliance of Tories and independent Whigs molded Country ideology into a coherent political project known as Patriotism, which called for the regeneration of Britain through the elimination of oligarchic corruption and the restoration of parliamentary and popular liberties.130 The Patriot coalition cobbled together by the likes of Viscount Bolingbroke and William Pulteney was fragile and difficult to manage. Contradictory commitments—such as radical Whig support for the Dissenters and the Tory loyalty to the Church of England and its prerogatives—constantly undermined the unity of the Patriot opposition. Nevertheless, the coalition’s diverse constituencies came together to advocate for a mutually agreed-upon political and electoral program.131 While the Patriot opposition suffered numerous defeats at the hands of the government, which was often successful in its efforts to label them as a cabal of republicans and Jacobites, it nevertheless gained in strength during the 1730s and 1740s.132 The popular appeal of the Patriot program grew as the Whig establishment was increasingly seen to be more invested in defending the interests of aristocratic magnates and London’s haute bourgeoisie than in preserving the Revolution Settlement and pursuing Britain’s imperial expansion. Although the anti-establishment coalition was fragile and shifting, never fully coalescing as a party, it was nevertheless able to attract a significant number of Tory country gentlemen and independent Whig lords, such as Viscount Cobham, to its cause. Over the course of the 1730s and 1740s, the Patriot opposition gained a popular base of middling merchants, shopkeepers, artisans, and craftsmen in London and the provincial urban centers.133 Frustrated with Spanish and French imperial aggression and commercial competition in the New World,

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and outraged at the multiplication of taxes on consumer goods, significant sections of the population—particularly among the urban-based middling sort—rallied around the Patriot opposition, putting pressure on Walpole to declare war against Spain in 1739.134 Although Walpole’s government had done much to foster the expansion of trade and industry, its laissez-faire attitude toward increasing commercial and imperial competition left it open to the charge of disregarding the national interest.135 Walpole’s ministry denounced the popular support for the Patriot opposition as “an insignificant body of Tradesmen and Mechanics” who understood nothing of foreign policy and affairs of state.136 The combination of renewed geopolitical rivalry and growing popular opposition eventually forced Walpole’s hand, leading to war with Spain and, ultimately, his resignation from office in 1742.137 The continuing growth of Patriotism in the extra-parliamentary political arena in the 1740s and early 1750s was due to popular dissatisfaction with the Whig regime’s corrupt and plutocratic character as well as with its failure to aggressively defend and extend Britain’s empire.138 While the Patriots were not able to conquer the commanding heights of the state, the pressure they exerted forced Pelham and the Whig establishment to piece together coalition governments, which brought several Patriot leaders into office during the 1740s.139 Pelham successfully put together a government of establishment Whigs that lasted from 1746 until well after his death in 1754. However, when his brother the Duke of Newcastle took over the reins of government, Patriotism was thriving in the popular arena. In fact, during the late 1740s and 1750s Patriot tropes and themes were more prevalent in Britain’s extra-parliamentary political culture than ever before.140 There was a widespread sense that the nation was losing its vigor as oligarchic corruption undermined parliamentary liberties and the global power of Bourbon France grew.141 King Louis XV’s imperial ambitions had been checked but not thwarted during the War of the Austrian Succession and, according to many observers on both sides of the Channel following the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, a grand war for empire lay on the horizon. Many in Britain feared that the country’s rulers were not prepared for such a struggle and believed that a French victory would imperil the empire and the foundations of the post-revolutionary state. The Patriot MP and popular naval hero Admiral Edward Vernon expressed the fears held by many in 1749: “I look on the fate of this country to be drawing to a speedy period whenever France should attain to a superior maritime power to Britain . . . I may say without the spirit of prophecy that whenever they think themselves so, the first blow they will strike, will be to strip us, of

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every one of our sugar colonies, which I know to be easily attainable by them, whenever they have a superior force by sea; and that the natural consequence of that will be, that you will by the same blow, lose all your American colonies as to their dependence on Britain. And then what must become of a nation . . . with eighty millions of debt, and deprived of those branches of commerce that principally produced the revenues, to pay the interest of those debts, is a melancholy consideration.”142 Following the French military victories in North America and South Asia in 1754 and 1755, and with the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War in Europe in 1756, such fears were on the verge of being realized. The dynamics of empire, war, and debt eluded the control of Newcastle and the Whig establishment. By the time the great imperial war concluded in 1763, the First British Empire was in upheaval and the Whig Supremacy was no more. It is to the politics of empire in the years leading up to and including the Seven Years’ War that we must now turn.

chapter 2

ourgeois Radicalism and the “Empire of Liberty” in the Age of Pitt

The Seven Years’ War and its aftermath were key turning points in the transition from the First British Empire to the Second. This fact is a wellrehearsed theme of imperial historiography. The outbreak of Anglo-French global warfare in the mid-1750s set in train a process that transformed British imperial relations from the Ohio Valley to the port enclaves of the Coromandel Coast. These developments eventually led to a wide-ranging imperial crisis, the most important results of which were the sundering of the British Atlantic in the American Revolution and the East India Company’s metamorphosis into an imperial power on the Indian subcontinent. While these transformations were certainly not what British ministers and officials set out to achieve at the beginning of the war, this does not mean that metropolitan politics and ideology failed to shape and inform them. The fact that the imperial crisis engendered by the Seven Years’ War was not “intended” does not confirm the Namierite view that politico-ideological forces and conflicts played no role in the crisis and transformation of the British Empire. Such a conclusion ultimately rests on a narrow definition of ideology as little more than individual will or, worse yet, all-knowing intrigue and conspiracy.1 Ideology is not a matter of individual agency and intention but rather of the weltanschauung, or framework of understanding, within which individuals and groups interpret their social world. This more capacious definition eschews questions of individual planning and intentionality, allowing 50

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the historian to grasp the means by which sociohistorical processes both constitute and are constituted by forms of subjectivity.2 When considering largescale historical changes, such as the transition from the First to the Second British Empire and the origins and early formation of British India, we should not focus on conscious plots or designs but rather on the interpretations of and the responses to unfolding crises and events by the actors experiencing them. It is important to examine the categories and conceptual frameworks with which individuals and groups interpreted and responded to crises and events, seeking to shape and transform them in a given direction. The focus, then, should not be on the intentions of British ministers, merchants, and opinion-makers at the beginning of the Seven Years’ War, but rather on the ideological nature of their response to developments during the war and immediately following it. The great war with Bourbon France— more global in scope than even the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1792 to 1815—generated imperial dynamics and difficulties that British ministers and officials had never faced before. However, these dynamics and difficulties did not dictate the responses of the British state and its ruling class. The resolution of the crisis of the First British Empire did not require the consolidation of a tributary territorial dominion in South Asia or the restrictive regulation and coercion of the American colonies, and the fact that British politicians and administrators ultimately chose to pursue these measures cannot be explained merely with reference to the crisis itself. Hence, an adequate interpretation of the origins and early formation of British India and of the eighteenth-century transformation of the British Empire must take into account the ideological and political nature of metropolitan responses to new imperial dynamics and difficulties. Such an account must begin with the years 1756 to 1760, for it was during this period that national political unity briefly held sway, only to be quickly shattered beyond all repair. In the late 1750s, the country’s opposing political forces united in support of the war effort against France. Then, in the aftermath of resounding victory, this wartime alliance crumbled. Opposing forces reemerged between 1760 and 1763, vociferously debating how to conclude the conflict and to secure Britain’s interests overseas. During the annus mirabilis of 1759, British and allied forces were victorious against Bourbon France in every major theater of combat across the globe. The island kingdom’s chief continental ally, Prussia, maintained the balance of power in Europe, while British forces were victorious over France on the

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Atlantic and in North America, the West Indies, and South Asia. While the Seven Years’ War continued until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the broad contours of the peace were settled in this fateful year. A remarkable geopolitical achievement, Britain’s military success in 1759 confirmed the effectiveness and vitality of the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary supremacy established following the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689. In the annus mirabilis, the fiscal-military state that emerged during the reign of William and Mary successfully subsidized and supplied extensive forces on the continent while simultaneously defending and extending British commercial and colonial interests from the Caribbean Sea to the Bay of Bengal. “Never was there such a series of happy and glorious events!” exclaimed the Patriot poet and politician Sir George Lyttelton to his brother in December 1759. “Guadeloupe conquered, just before a reinforcement arrived; our East Indies saved when the Company themselves had despaired of their safety; the battle of Minden won . . . the King of Prussia on the point of repelling all his enemies . . . the French and Canadian army beat, and Quebec taken by Wolfe.”3 The King’s Speech on the opening of Parliament in November 1759 declared that “his Majesty sees, and devoutly adores the hand of Providence, in the many signal successes, both by sea and land, with which his arms have been blessed . . . from the taking of Goree, on the coast of Africa, to the conquest of so many important places in America, with the defeat of the French army in Canada, and the reduction of their capital city of Quebec, effected with so much honour to the courage and conduct of his majesty’s officers both at sea and land . . . and the Divine blessing has favoured us in the East-Indies, where the dangerous designs of his majesty’s enemies have miscarried; and that valuable branch of our trade has received great benefit and protection.”4 Congratulating a leading minister in early 1760 on the “glorious and unbounded success of his Majesty’s arms, in every part of the globe,” Britain’s ambassador to Prussia, Sir Andrew Mitchell, contended that “the events of last year are the most glorious and the most important in English history, and cannot fail to transmit to posterity the King and his ministers in the fairest and most amiable lights.”5 Across the Channel, the events of 1759 and their confirmation in the peace of 1763 left the French state’s imperial designs in ruins and its public finances in shambles. The Bourbon monarchy—the most powerful expression of royal absolutism in Europe—suffered total defeat at the hands of a parliamentary regime capable of calling on unprecedented fiscal resources to wage what Winston Churchill famously described as “the first world war.”

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The immense military gains of 1759 were made possible by political unity as much as by strategic acumen and sound administration. The NewcastlePitt ministry that oversaw the war effort and the victories of 1759 represented a coalition forged between the leaders of the Whig establishment and some of its leading Patriot opponents. Political strife between the Whig governments and the Patriot opposition had steadily intensified from Robert Walpole’s premiership to the 1750s.6 Despite this, the military setbacks Britain experienced during the early years of the Seven Years’ War eventually led to an alliance between the Duke of Newcastle’s establishment Whigs and the parliamentary opposition and popular forces led by the Patriot Whig William Pitt the Elder. The early losses suffered by Britain and its allies in Europe, North America, and South Asia, both before and after the formal declaration of war in May 1756, deeply troubled the parliamentary classes and the populace at large. In the dark days of 1756 and 1757, many in the political nation viewed French victories as “great scenes of misfortunes with which Europe was oppressed [and] its liberties destroyed.”7 British men and women believed that the French monarchy would use its commercial and colonial gains overseas to establish its hegemony on the continent. It was feared that King Louis XV’s France was on the cusp of achieving a universal monarchy that would extinguish civil and political liberties throughout Europe and beyond. It was in this gloomy and foreboding context that Pitt the Elder rose to power—unsuccessfully at first in the Devonshire-Pitt ministry formed in October 1756 and then successfully in the Newcastle-Pitt ministry formed in June 1757—and forged an alliance with the Whig establishment. Newcastle and King George II were extremely hesitant to admit Pitt into the halls of power since the Patriot leader had often been an implacable critic of the Whig establishment and its policies in the 1740s and early 1750s. When fighting first broke out between British and French forces in North America in the mid1750s, Newcastle saw no need to bring Pitt or other leaders of the Patriot opposition into government since the political nation was busily rallying around George II and his ministers. “It is with the utmost Satisfaction I can assure You, That the Unanimous Voice of the Nation, is in support of the vigorous Measures The King is pursuing,” the Earl of Holdernesse, a Secretary of State, remarked to a correspondent, “in Opposition to the Oppressive, and unjust Proceedings of The Court of France.”8 However, as the losses of 1756 and 1757 piled up—especially following Admiral John Byng’s failure to prevent Minorca from falling to French forces in June 1756—the Patriot opposition successfully

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mobilized popular sentiment against the government.9 The same combination of events that caused Walpole’s downfall in 1742—the renewal of geopolitical conflict and the growth of parliamentary and popular opposition—led to Pitt’s political ascent in 1756.10 The Great Commoner’s rise to power was fueled by French victories and the resulting loss of confidence in the government. Despite the severe reservations of Newcastle and George II, Pitt formed a ministry with the Duke of Devonshire in 1756. He was subsequently toppled from office in April 1757, but then returned to power in a coalition with Newcastle the following June. Facing parliamentary and popular discontent with the war’s conduct, George II allowed the formation of a coalition ministry in June 1757 which left Newcastle in control of the government machinery and gave Pitt command of the military effort. One of the most eloquent Patriot Whig voices in the House of Commons, Pitt returned to office in 1757 on a wave of popular support and at the behest of a combative press.11 Numerous Tories and independent Whigs in Parliament backed him. Pitt’s support among the urban centers of mid-Hanoverian Britain was particularly strong; he received the freedom of eighteen cities.12 As E. P. Thompson remarks, “it was exactly the appeal of his image as an uncorrupted patriot which carried William Pitt the elder on the flood of popular acclaim to power, despite the hostility of politicians and of Court.”13 Pitt promised to rise above the “corruption” of the Whig establishment and to conduct vigorous military campaigns against French power across the globe.14 In response to the threat posed by early French victories, Newcastle and Pitt did their best to establish a coalition government that included opposing political forces and ideologies. The unity they managed to forge in the government and in Parliament—in particular, between the old corps Whigs led by Newcastle and the Patriot opposition that supported Pitt—was widely remarked upon in the annus mirabilis of 1759 and in 1760, the last year of George II’s reign.15 “For the present it may suffice that I assure you of the union, cordiality, and good-will which reign at present among the King’s servants,” Lord Barrington observed to a correspondent in January 1760; “[i]t, fortunately for them, our master, and the public, is such, that there never was more at any period of our time.” Despite Barrington’s penchant for cynicism, he found this hard-won political harmony remarkable: “I verily believe that the Duke of Newcastle and his brother [Henry Pelham, the prime minister from 1743 to 1754] did not more cordially wish each other to continue in their respective stations, than the Duke of Newcastle and Mr. Pitt do now; and there are less disputes and coldness by a great deal, than there used to be between the two

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brothers. This union, great and extraordinary as it may seem, is nothing in comparison with that of the parliament and the nation; which seem to have one mind and one object.”16 Although it did not last long beyond the accession of King George III in late 1760, the unity forged in the heat of the “great war for empire” was sincere. In waging war against France in every theater of British overseas activity, Pitt was fulfilling a key plank of the Patriot platform. The defense and expansion of Britain’s maritime empire was as important for the Patriots as the antioligarchic measures they routinely advocated in Parliament and in the press.17 In contrast with the Whig establishment, whose foreign policy was less aggressive and more focused on Europe, the Patriots sought to radically expand Britain’s commercial and colonial “empire of liberty.” While the Hanoverian Whig regime oversaw considerable commercial and industrial expansion between 1714 and 1760, the Patriot opposition believed that the country’s superior naval power could be used to expand Britain’s “empire of the seas,” allowing for greater volumes of trade and manufactured exports.18 Although aggressively expansionist, the Patriots were adamantly opposed to conquering territories and to establishing political dominions. “The object of the ‘empire of the seas’ was not further territorial expansion,” Bob Harris reminds us, “but the accumulation of ever greater wealth, and, through this and the maritime strength which would accompany it, international security.”19 The Patriots believed that the wealth and naval resources generated by greater commercial and colonial expansion would allow the British state to cut off French trade and shipping, thus preventing Bourbon hegemony without the continental military commitments that increased domestic taxation and the national debt. The editors of the Annual Register observed that the Patriot opposition was vehemently opposed to French aggrandizement but felt that Britain’s position in the world dictated a narrower, but a more natural, a safer, and a less expensive plan of politics, than that which had been adopted by the other party. We ought never to forget, said they, that we are an island: and that this circumstance so favourable both to our political and to our civil liberty, prescribes to us a conduct very different from that of every other nation. Our natural strength is a maritime strength, as trade is our natural employment: these must always go hand in hand, and they mutually support each other. But, if turning our back to our real interests, and

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abandoning our natural element, we . . . [may] destroy ourselves by our ill-judged efforts against the enemy. That we can have nothing to fear from the superiority of [Britain’s enemies] on the continent, whilst we preserve our superiority at sea; that we can always cut the sinews of the enemies strength by destroying their traffic.20 While Newcastle and George II were already committed to waging war against France in the New World and the East Indies as well as in Europe, Pitt’s rise to power in 1756 and 1757 meant that the military effort was now being shaped by an imperial project seeking to aggressively expand Britain’s maritime power and commercial reach. Before examining the transformation of Pittite Patriotism into radical Whiggism during the Seven Years’ War between 1757 and 1761, we must first consider the diverse political strands that formed it. For our purposes, it must be noted that the Patriot opposition’s platform of anti-oligarchic politics and assertive maritime imperialism was essentially a compromise between two very different ideologies. While one of those ideologies was conservative and potentially even reactionary in character, the other grew increasingly radical during George II’s reign. The conservative ideological strand of Patriotism, best enunciated in the writings of Viscount Bolingbroke’s Tory circle, held that the Whig oligarchic order was the political manifestation of the corruption of British society, a corruption rooted in the power of money and the increasing sway of finance. According to the Tory wing of Patriotism, the growth of mobile wealth, the stock market, and the public debt led to a social revolution that subverted the traditional agrarian order. The monied elite had gained power at the expense of the landed elite while corruption and interest replaced virtue as the motivating factors of political life.21 “Let any Man observe the Equipages in this Town [London]; he shall find the greater Number of those who make a Figure, to be a Species of Men quite different from any that were ever known before the Revolution; consisting either of Generals and Colonels, or of such whose whole Fortunes lie in Funds and Stocks[,]” the Tory wit and Bolingbroke ally Jonathan Swift argued, “[s]o that Power, which, according to the old Maxim, was used to follow Land, is now gone over to Money; and the Country Gentleman is in the Condition of a young Heir, out of whose Estate a Scrivener receives half the Rents for Interest, and hath a Mortgage on the Whole.”22 The Tory members of the Patriot opposition often expressed their disdain for high finance and evinced a “reactionary nostalgia for traditional, rural society.”23

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The political vision of Patriot Tories was thus rooted in a critique of the Whig establishment that targeted monied corruption. From this vantage point, the financial world of private stocks and public credit was not the necessary expression of an advanced commercial society, but rather an alien implant that subverted the landed order. This conservative strand of Patriotism appealed to the less wealthy segments of the landed classes who were marginalized by the Whig oligarchy. As John Brewer remarks, “the view that the halcyon age of the landed gentry and the independent freeholder had been brutally interrupted by the forces of government, credit, and commerce . . . found favor, for obvious reasons, with the Matthew Brambles and Squire Westerns dotted throughout the English countryside.”24 Patriot Tories hoped that the landed gentry, supported by the urban-based commercial and industrial classes, would eliminate the public debt and the Whig oligarchic order. According to this vision, the restoration of gentry rule would bring an end to political conflict and restore the bucolic pleasures of Old England. Conservative Patriots believed that an expanded maritime empire would increase the revenue at the state’s disposal, reducing the necessity for taxes levied on the land. They also asserted that maritime expansion was preferable to European warfare because it did not entangle “free Britons” in endless squabbles among continental powers that were irredeemably despotic. The Tory wing of the Patriot opposition was committed to commercial expansion because it benefited long-suffering country gentlemen and provided the resources necessary for strengthening the traditional landed order. The other main ideological strand in Patriotism, associated with independent Whigs, was politically radical and primarily concerned with the expansion of Britain’s commercial and manufacturing society. While Patriot Whigs shared a significant political program with Tory and conservative oppositionists—which called for more frequent elections, the removal of placemen from the Commons, and the reduction of taxes—they advocated it from a different ideological standpoint. As early as the 1720s, the polemics of independent Whigs such as Robert Gordon and John Trenchard’s Cato’s Letters developed a very different ideological critique of the Hanoverian regime.25 While these writings often called for the restoration of a previous constitutional order, their primary emphasis was on the political and economic freedoms necessary for the full realization of commercial society. “In fine, monopolies are equally dangerous in trade, in politics, in religion,” Gordon and Trenchard averred, because “a free trade, a free government, and a free liberty of conscience are the

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rights and blessings of mankind.”26 They opposed the Whig oligarchic order because it was an obstacle to the further development of commercial society, impeding the creation of wealth, the diffusion of property, and the spread of political liberty. According to this ideological framework, the aristocraticoligarchic character of the Whig Supremacy was at least as problematic as the plutocratic interests that supported it. The radical wing of Patriotism appealed to the urban middling sort— including petty manufacturers, middling merchants, shopkeepers, professionals, and tradesmen—many of whom mobilized against the policies of the Hanoverian regime between the 1730s and the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War. The anti-oligarchic politics entailed in Patriotism resonated with the daily experience and socioeconomic interests of this stratum. As Brewer demonstrates, the middling sort were deeply affected by the growth of statutory legislation and the parliamentary state, the increase in excise taxes on items of mass consumption, and the expansion of credit.27 In response to both the growing influence of the centralized state in their daily lives and their rising tax burden, the middling sort became committed to curbing oligarchic corruption and patronage. Furthermore, the growth of borrowing among merchants, shopkeepers, and tradesmen meant that the City elite’s influence and the effects of government policy on private credit were mounting concerns for them. Brewer persuasively argues that the urban middleman and tradesman was not against credit per se . . . what he objected to was the lack of regulation or control of credit and its abuse by speculators. He also looked askance at “public credit”— the demands of the state—for in times of war it competed very successfully against private would-be borrowers. The employment of Country ideology by such men should not, therefore, be seen as the advocacy of a “politics of nostalgia” but as an enraged plea for the ordering of a mechanism whose current operations seemed as fickle as fortune herself. The concern of the middling sort was not a return to bucolic cloud-cuckoo land but the reduction of business risk and the harnessing of new economic forces in the society.28 The independent Whigs and members of the urban middling sort who adhered to this ideological strand of Patriotism were not critical of elite financiers and merchants because they were financiers and merchants—that is, individual manifestations of the corrupting power of money—but rather because they were politically privileged. London’s haute bourgeoisie was freed

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from market competition by closed subscriptions to public loans, government contracts, and monopoly charters, which allowed them to accrue wealth on the basis of political connections instead of enterprise and industry. Like the Patriot Tories, the Patriot Whigs called for the aggressive expansion of Britain’s maritime empire—however, as in the case of their antioligarchic politics, they did so from a different ideological standpoint. These radical Patriots supported maritime imperialism not because they were concerned with heavy taxes on the landed gentry, nor because they viewed the “liberties of Europe” as an empty phrase of ministerial propaganda, but rather because they believed that commercial and colonial expansion would unleash the productive potential of market forces and, in turn, generate greater private profits and public revenue. The differences between these two ideological strands of Patriotism were initially subtle, generating little friction among the opposition coalition during the Walpole and Pelham ministries. However, by the later 1750s and 1760s, they had become pronounced. During and after the Seven Years’ War, the ideological commitment of Patriot Whigs to the maximal advance of commercial and manufacturing society evolved into a radical Whig politics that threatened the oligarchic order. It is to the growth of radical Whiggism, and the intensified political conflict that it gave rise to, that we must now turn. By the time the dust settled in 1759, the Newcastle-Pitt ministry had overseen the defeat of Bourbon France in every major military theater. Yet it “was in this year of unanimity and victory,” the radical Whig publisher John Almon contended, “that the seeds were sown of those divisions which appeared soon after the accession of George the Third.”29 Although Lord Barrington believed that the coalition government was unified in early 1760, he nevertheless warned that the Seven Years’ War had not so much eliminated political differences as repressed them, averring that national unity did not arise “from any improvement made by our countrymen either in wisdom or in virtue” but “solely from this,—no man who can raise any sort of disturbance finds it either convenient or agreeable to be out of humour at this time.”30 Less than a year after the death of George II, with France humbled, the government was deeply divided over how best to proceed in the geopolitical arena. Was a separate peace with France to be pursued, or was it in Britain’s national interests to continue the war with France, to further subsidize Prussia, and to declare war against Spain as well? Which colonial and commercial acquisitions were to be returned to France and which kept? What was to be done about

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the East India Company’s growing power on the subcontinent? What should be done with Britain’s vastly expanded empire in North America? These and numerous other questions of military and imperial policy were at the forefront of the government’s attention; they generated deep political divisions within the ministry as well as between the ministry and the Court. The conflicts over these questions led Pitt and Newcastle to exit the government in 1761 and 1762, respectively, leaving George III and his chief advisor, the Earl of Bute, to manage the last stages of the war and to pursue peace with France. The central issue running through all of these military and imperial debates was the uncertain state of government finance—particularly, the problems caused by the tremendous growth of the national debt. “Thank God we have perfect union at home, which is both the cause and the consequence of our success, and our credit is high as can be desired,” George Lyttelton remarked to his brother in 1759, “yet the eight millions which are to be raised the next year will be a terrible burthen upon us.”31 His fears were not misplaced: the expansion of the national debt—surpassing £130 million by the end of the war—eventually led to widespread political discord. The debt was one of the central issues of the next five years, occupying the minds of politicians, civil servants, and pamphleteers throughout the postwar upheaval. “Since Jacobite or arbitrary principles have been exploded, as for above half a century they have been by all sensible Britons, what has been the source of fear and apprehension to considerate men? What has afforded colour to party clamours and contention?” queried a pamphleteer in the early 1760s. “What (I would be glad to know) but the national debt, its concomitants, and apprehended consequences?”32 Indeed, the growth of the debt was an issue of momentous importance that affected every aspect of government during the 1760s, from taxation and commercial regulation to public infrastructure and military expenditure. While the debt had grown steadily over the course of the eighteenth century, it increased dramatically during the War of the Austrian Succession and even more so during Pitt’s direction of the Seven Years’ War. Between 1756 and 1763 alone, the debt expanded from £74 million to £133 million.33 The military costs stemmed from Pitt’s commitment to carrying on the war both in Europe and in the Atlantic and Asian imperial arenas. Earlier in his career, Pitt evinced the Patriot suspicion of continental warfare and roundly criticized ministerial concern with the Electorate of Hanover. However, by the time he took control of the war effort in 1757, Pitt was committed to fighting France in central Europe, which was crucial to his strategy for victory. Thus,

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in 1757 and 1758, Pitt heavily subsidized Prussia’s conflict with France, Austria, and Russia while maintaining Ferdinand of Brunswick’s British and Hanoverian army. While Pitt’s military support for Frederick the Great marked a departure from his long-standing Patriot views on continental measures, his conduct of the war overseas was another matter altogether. He vigorously pursued the Patriot imperial project through extensive colonial and naval warfare.34 In fact, Pitt was adamant that the government’s continental commitments were secondary to and necessary for the struggle against France overseas.35 In 1759, the Royal Navy won a decisive victory over the French fleet at Quiberon Bay. British armies overtook French forces throughout North America and captured Quebec. More French possessions, including Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, fell to the British. Although Pitt’s imperial strategy adapted to events and changing circumstances, Frank O’Gorman rightly observes that it was informed by “his firm belief that the future of Britain lay with her trade, her markets and her manufactures, that French military and economic power would stand in her way and that the key to military conflict between them would lie in North America.”36 The overarching goal of Pitt’s imperial strategy was to secure and extend Britain’s commercial and colonial empire to the maximum extent possible. This would allow for the free flow of British trade and manufactures throughout the globe, unfettered by rival European monarchies. The ideological vision that informed this imperial strategy received its earliest expression in the young Pitt’s criticisms of the Walpole administration, especially during the Patriot opposition’s drive for war with Spain in the later 1730s. “When trade is at stake, it is your last retrenchment; you must defend it, or perish,” Pitt declared in the House of Commons during the debate over a treaty with Spain in 1738; “this convention, Sir, I think from my soul, is . . . on the part of England a suspension . . . of the first law of nature, self-preservation and self-defence—a surrender of the rights and trade of England to the mercy of plenipotentiaries, and in this infinitely highest and sacred point, future security, not only inadequate, but directly repugnant to the resolutions of Parliament . . . the complaints of your despairing merchants, the voice of England has condemned it.”37 By 1759, Pitt was in the process of fulfilling his ideological ambition to permanently reduce the power of Britain’s major commercial and colonial rival and to fully secure and extend the maritime “empire of liberty.” In undertaking this global struggle against France, Pitt was supported by increasingly radicalized groups of merchants, shopkeepers, petty manufacturers,

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and tradesmen throughout London and the provincial urban centers.38 The urban middling sort who formed the popular wing of the Patriot coalition began to articulate an even more strident anti-oligarchic politics and commercial imperialism. Rising to office on a wave of popular acclaim in the midst of French victories, Pitt was hailed as a leader capable of defeating Louis XV’s forces and of advancing British trade and manufactured exports to the farthest reaches of the globe. Pitt’s subsequent conduct of the Seven Years’ War restored the extraparliamentary political nation’s support for the government. “In this critical conjuncture, in this forlorn state of hope, the voice of the nation pointed out, and the necessity of affairs called into action a few men, on whom the people reposed their safety, and in whom they placed their confidence,” one writer later remarked. “Mr. P[itt] was conspicuous in this illustrious class, and took the lead in the administration of the war. The genius of Britain seemed to rise on his elevation, and a new soul diffused itself through all ranks of persons. From diffident, disconsolate, and desponding, they became easy, chearful, and assured. Their hearts burned with resentment to wipe out past disgraces, to restore the glory, the honour, the true character of their country, and their purses opened equal to the benevolence of their hearts.”39 Pitt received strong support from the wider mercantile community, who viewed him as an advocate of their interests rather than those of the aristocratic magnates and the City elite.40 Rallying the urban middling sort to his side, Pitt rejected the long-standing notion that commercial and industrial wealth was inferior to landed property. In doing so, the Great Commoner upset the political establishment. As Linda Colley reminds us, when “Pitt ripped through this polite convention and told the House of Commons in 1758 that he would be prouder of being an alderman of London than a peer of the realm, he caused an outcry.”41 It is no surprise that Pitt was viewed as a voice for the middling sort and the urban centers amid a political establishment dominated by the landed classes. Pitt’s conduct of the Seven Years’ War deepened the support for him among the mercantile community and in the public sphere. He took advice from merchant allies while planning military campaigns, and London businesses as a whole benefited from British victories.42 In 1759, Newcastle responded to George II’s complaints about Pitt’s leadership by asking if the king “thought that this War, at this Immense Expense, could have been carried on without the Unanimity of the People; The Popularity; the Common Council &c; which was entirely owing to Mr. Pitt; so that It could not have been done without Him.”43 The support for Pitt among the urban middling sort was rooted in his commitment to establishing an unrivaled maritime empire that

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would secure and extend Britain’s commercial and industrial expansion as well as pay for itself. As Kate Hotblack observes, “the merchants recognized that the government was pledged to carry on a war for and upon trade, and determined that trade should support the war . . . when the Great Commoner returned to office [in 1757] he knew that the cities of England were with him, and was confident that with their aid he would eventually win the King’s support.”44 As news of each military victory flooded the metropolis in 1759 and 1760, Pitt’s popularity beyond the halls of power grew. “Victory made Pitt what he had long claimed to be, the tribune of the people,” Paul Langford contends; “it also made him the most powerful figure in British political life.”45 Pitt combined two different geopolitical strategies and ideological visions in his effort to permanently reduce the power of Bourbon France. He was weaving together the commercial and maritime-imperial project of the Patriot opposition—especially as it was articulated by the independent Whigs and the urban middling sort—and the old Whig project of preserving the “liberties of Europe” by preventing French hegemony on the continent.46 Pitt was fully committed to a foreign and military policy that combined longstanding Whig concerns regarding the balance of power in Europe with the Patriot Whig program of maximally expanding Britain’s commercial and colonial empire.47 Pitt’s goal during the Seven Years’ War was to check French aggrandizement once and for all. “We have now reason to hope a happy issue of this campaign,” the leading City radical William Beckford wrote to his staunch ally Pitt. “France is our object, perfidious France: reduce her power, and Europe will be at rest.”48 The Great Commoner sought to permanently curb both French power on the continent and French imperialism in the Atlantic and Asian worlds. Although France had been defeated in every major arena of British imperial activity by 1760, Pitt aimed to continue and extend the war against the Bourbon monarchy and its commercial and imperial outposts. Convinced that the gains made by Britain in the Atlantic and Caribbean theaters could be reversed with French victories in central Europe, the Newcastle-Pitt ministry spent £14 million on the war in 1760 and provided British soldiers and heavy subsidies for Ferdinand of Brunswick’s army.49 These continental measures entailed a radicalization of the Patriot maritime-imperial project rather than its abandonment. The total defeat of the greatest European power—the only serious rival to Britain’s overseas supremacy—would permanently remove all obstacles to the island kingdom’s commercial and colonial expansion, allowing its maritime empire to spread unchecked across the globe.50 In

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the summer of 1761, after King Charles III of Spain made the Bourbon family compact with Louis XV, Pitt sought not only to continue the war against France in Europe and overseas but also to extend it against Spain and its New World possessions. “What cannot such a People [the English] as this do,” Beckford declared in the House of Commons while urging war with Spain. “I say together they may give Law to the World . . . the Nation that is Mars’s Dominions is terrae Imperator.”51 While many in the political classes were opposed to continuing and extending the war, Pitt and his radical allies wanted to press forward with what they viewed as a potentially final struggle for overseas supremacy. The ambition animating Pitt’s war aims was enormous. As Daniel Baugh observes, “Pitt wanted to win, to achieve more than a comfortable settlement: his object was to raise Great Britain a very substantial notch above France, to create a world in which Great Britain might be permanently secure.”52 With France reduced to second-power status and the island kingdom in complete control of the seas, the British state would no longer be the preserver of the balance of power in Europe, waiting for the emergence of a new threat to peace before subsidizing allies to fight against it, but rather its arbiter. “Mr. Pitt thinks we ought, by well chosen alliances,” explained one radical commentator, “to prevent the approach of danger, weaken the connections of France, and maintain the balance of power in our own hand.”53 Pitt, who was in part raised to power and maintained there by an outpouring of public support, particularly in London and the provincial urban centers, wanted to establish the unrivaled maritime empire long desired by the merchants, petty manufacturers, shopkeepers, tradesmen, and artisans who formed the mass base of Patriotism. The “liberties of Europe” were to be secured and all obstacles to Britain’s maritime empire were to be removed. The Pittite project aimed to transform the British imperial state into a global coercive apparatus that provided the basis for continuing commercial and industrial expansion. A radical political-economic ideology of British overseas expansion was at the heart of this imperial project. While aristocratic magnates such as Newcastle were troubled by the fact that global warfare with France tested the very limits of the fiscal-military state developed since the Glorious Revolution, Pitt’s increasingly radical extra-parliamentary political allies were not concerned with these limits.54 According to the Pittites, the rentier oligarchic complex that governed the country had placed unnecessary limits on the resources that could be brought to bear in support of British commercial and colonial interests throughout the world. While the socioeconomic pillars of

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the oligarchic order (London’s mercantile and financial elite as well as the country’s large-scale capitalist landlords) limited the ability of ministers like Newcastle to maneuver (he had at all times to secure the support of the monied elite and to uphold the sanctity of public credit), the Pittites believed that they could call on the resources of the urban middling sort to support commercial and colonial expansion on a grand scale. The Whig establishment viewed this social stratum as a largely recalcitrant sector of the population unwilling to pay the excise taxes that the regime relied upon. Hence, the political discontents of the middling sort were little more than a problem to be managed. Pitt and his radical supporters took a very different view, seeking to politically mobilize the middling sort for an imperial project that would eventually increase both their prosperity and the public revenue. By protecting and expanding trade and colonial settlements, according to this ideological vision, the Pittite war effort fostered commercial and industrial expansion. With Britain’s manufactures and re-exports flooding global markets, the kingdom’s overseas supremacy would eventually pay for itself. “Pitt and the City believed they could afford to pay both the immense subsidies which our continental allies demanded and the cost of those diversionary attacks on the French coast which Pitt conceived as necessary to his strategy,” J. H. Plumb observes; “it was the capture of trade which haunted his imagination and which to him and his City supporters made the whole struggle a matter of life and death for England.”55 The fiscal costs of this war to secure and extend Britain’s maritime empire were to be recuperated by victory. As markets for British goods were secured and new markets were opened, tax revenue flowed in from the prospering (and no longer recalcitrant) urbanbased commercial and industrial classes. “If you are afraid you are not able to carry on the War, enquire of the Merchants what are your Imports what are your Exports,” Beckford thundered in the Commons in 1761. “Look into the Customhouse books—Your Manufactures are not sufficient for your demands. There is nothing the Parliament & King can’t do hand in hand the Nation never was in so comfortable a State.”56 One pamphleteer asserted that Pitt’s “capacity, his integrity, the vigorous powers of his mind, attracted the hearts, the confidence, the hopes of the nation” and “raised cheerful and constant supplies, equal to his great and extensive views.”57 As John Almon remarked retrospectively, “Commerce gave [state revenue] copiously, but circuitously . . . and, as Lord Chatham said, carried us triumphantly through the great seven years war.”58 The Pittites believed their imperial project would eventually pay for itself. Their central war aim was to achieve a global maritime empire

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that supported Britain’s rapidly developing commercial and manufacturing society.59 While Pitt and his supporters believed that their imperial project was in the process of generating (and would in the long term continue to generate) considerable revenues and profits, the immediate costs of the war were stretching the limits of the fiscal-military state. By the early 1760s, the political classes believed that the growth of the national debt was far outstripping the state’s ability to raise taxes and to make interest payments on loans.60 Even those members of the political elite who had praised Pitt’s conduct in the early years of the war were troubled by his increasingly radical political and military commitments. “Mr. Pitt, on entering administration, had found the nation at the lowest ebb in point of power and reputation . . . and the heavy debt of the nation, which was above fourscore millions, served as an excuse to those who understood nothing but little temporary expedients, to preach up our impossibility of making an effectual stand, they were willing to trust that France would be so good as to ruin us by inches[,]” Horace Walpole remarked. Yet even though “Pitt had roused us from this ignoble lethargy” and “asserted that our resources were still prodigious, he went farther, and perhaps too far[,]” Walpole averred, and “staked our revenues with as little management, as he played with the lives of the subjects; and as if we could never have another war to wage, or as if he meant, which was impracticable, that his administration should decide which alone should exist as a nation, Britain or France, he lavished the last treasures of this country with a prodigality beyond example and beyond excuse.”61 Although these concerns were widespread in governing circles, Pitt remained aloof and indifferent. With the death of George II and the accession of George III in October 1760, the tide turned against the Great Commoner and his policies. The new king and his advisors—most importantly, Bute—were deeply concerned with Pitt’s growing influence and his plan to extend the war to Spain and its New World colonies.62 They joined forces with other members of the government in an effort to end the conflict. With the tide of elite opinion turning against his policies and war aims, Pitt left office in October 1761. Although the Bute ministry was eventually forced to declare war against Spain in January 1762, the peace process with France commenced later that year. Now out of power, Pitt made common cause with the extra-parliamentary political forces opposed to the peace negotiations and, eventually, to the terms of the Treaty of Paris.63 In order to bring the war to as quick a conclusion as possible, Bute and George III were willing to make considerable concessions

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to France—including Guadeloupe and Martinique—and to abandon the alliance with Prussia. The radicalized sections of the urban middling sort that had rallied around Pitt in the later 1750s—above all, in the London merchant community—viewed these measures as a betrayal of the conflict’s central purpose, and waged a campaign against the peace provisions in later 1762 and 1763. The Monitor, a weekly London paper founded by William Beckford’s brother, Richard Beckford, and The North Briton, published by John Wilkes, led the radical Whig propaganda campaign against the Bute ministry and its negotiations with France. “War is more desirable than a peace, which by the continual alarms of hostile preparations, obliges us to lie always upon our arms against the surprize of an insidious friend,” The Monitor declared in November 1762, “so that if an enemy, whose strength is broken, can’t be brought to this necessary concession, the conquerors ought to proceed in the way of arms, till they shall deprive them of their resources to raise and pay fleets and armies for those mischievous purposes: and then there is no doubt of making the most ambitious, revengeful, and obstinate nation a harmless, inoffensive people . . . [a]n enemy that fights for dominion has no title to, neither is he to be treated with moderation; nothing less than an entire reduction and suppression of his strength can prevent his breach of faith.”64 The radical Whigs believed that any peace concluded with France must fulfill the central objectives of Pitt’s policies—namely, the permanent reduction of Bourbon power, the secure establishment of the “liberties of Europe,” and an extended British maritime empire. When the Bute ministry abandoned these goals, the public sphere was flooded with pamphlets, periodicals, and petitions decrying the peace process. The Monitor contended that there was a “sudden change in the countenance of [the] country, from an universal mirth and joy, spread over the whole island, at the success of our arms over her enemies, and the increase and security of our strength and trade, to the most dismal sorrow and disconsolate murmurings, at the publication of such conditions of peace, as would leave us in the sad situation of Tyre, disabled by sea and land; deprived of the richest branches of our trade; rendered contemptible in all nations, and reduced to submit to the dictates of Bourbon.”65 Although the campaign against the Bute ministry’s negotiations with France was ultimately unsuccessful, the political movement underpinning it continued to grow. The radical political energies that surged around Pitt and his imperial project did not die out when the Treaty of Paris was signed in February 1763. The Pittite program was ultimately part of a larger political transformation that began in the mid-1750s and grew in strength in the 1760s. During these

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years, the radical and Whiggish strands of Patriot ideology were disentangled from the conservative Tory vision they had been allied with since the later 1720s.66 This ideological change was bound up with the urban middling sort’s growing opposition to the landed elite’s monopoly on political power. The later 1750s and 1760s gave birth to a radical Whig politics that sought not only to secure and extend Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty” but also to reform the domestic political order. To grasp the connection between Pitt’s imperial project and the growth of radical Whiggism, it is necessary to consider the strident commercial ideology that informed the political context of the onset and conduct of the Seven Years’ War. This commercial ideology was at the heart of the reform movement that emerged over the next decade. The Monitor, a popular platform for this ideology and the policies that flowed from it, understood Pitt’s imperial project and war aims as the geopolitical instruments necessary for tapping the potential of Britain’s dynamic commercial and manufacturing society: At present, or rather, at the time the Right Hon. Mr. PITT was driven from the helm, the whole land was full of joy and mirth: our armies were victorious; no enemy could stand before them: our fleets maintained the dominion of the seas, and covered our conquests, colonies, and islands; there was no danger of surprise from the shattered remains of a hostile navy: there was no complaint of money to continue a just and necessary war; the revenue or sources to pay our fleets and armies were reaped in the harvest of the great ocean: the trade of the whole world centered in this island; she was the mart of all nations: the merchants engrossed the riches of the universe and lived like princes; and the manufacturers were enabled to live in credit and reputation, being supplied with many things necessary for their use from our conquests, at an easy rate, for which they had been obliged to pay dear before.67 Such views, while undoubtedly utopian in failing to grasp the fiscal difficulties faced by Newcastle and other establishment Whig ministers during the Seven Years’ War, need to be explained rather than dismissed. For they ultimately amounted to an ideological assertion of what would be possible if Pitt was able to permanently curb the power of Louis XV’s France and to fully secure and extend Britain’s maritime trading empire. Such ideological assertions were ultimately rooted in the daily experience of Britain’s burgeoning commercial and manufacturing society. These political radicals were committed to strengthening and expanding the freedoms and wealth-creating

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capacities of bourgeois society. They advocated the use of political and military power against the Bourbon monarchy and its allies in order to transform the world order, making it safe for the further development of these social freedoms and wealth-creating capacities. The radical Whigs confronted obstacles to the expansion of these same freedoms and capacities in Britain as well. Over the course of the later 1750s and 1760s, they were increasingly prepared to challenge domestic political arrangements in order to eliminate these obstacles. The strident commercial ideology that underpinned Pitt’s war effort also informed the radical Whiggism that was vociferous in its critique of Britain’s political establishment.68 It is to the growth of this radical Whig politics that we must now turn. The movement for political reform that emerged in the later 1750s and 1760s largely centered around the issues of taxation and representation. During the early years of the Seven Years’ War, instructions and petitions flowed into the halls of power in London from commercial outports and manufacturing towns demanding reforms such as the elimination of placemen from the Commons and open subscriptions to government loans.69 When, faced with the state’s mounting fiscal burdens, the Bute ministry proposed an excise tax on cider in March 1763, it faced significant opposition from politically organized elements of the urban-based commercial and industrial classes, who deeply disliked the facts that tax offenders did not receive jury trials and that excise officers possessed wide-ranging powers of search and seizure.70 There was widespread opposition to the tax in the cider-producing West Country and in London’s extra-parliamentary political arena.71 “A duty is imposed upon our very apples,” proclaimed Wilkes in his immensely popular newspaper, The North Briton, “and I confess that great sums of money may be raised by the tax, as well as great murmurings.” The radical provocateur giddily rejoiced in the “general alarm, which has spread not only through the capital, but likewise through the whole kingdom, from a well-grounded terror of fatal consequences so justly apprehended from the next tax on cyder.”72 After the cider bill successfully made it through the House of Lords, the sheriffs of London approached George III and asked him not to give the legislation his assent. “What times do we not live in,” the king averred to Bute shortly before signing the bill, “when a parcel of low shopkeepers pretend to direct the whole Legislature.”73 Bute resigned from the ministry shortly after the bill’s passage. The government found it increasingly difficult to tax any item of popular consumption.

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Political opposition to the growth of excise and customs taxes flourished in the 1760s. This development is not surprising given that, as Brewer observes, “about 20 percent of the nation’s commodity output was being appropriated as taxes (about twice the comparable French figure), and the share of per capita output collected in the form of tax revenue was remarkably similar.”74 The regressive character of this taxation was the chief target of radical opinion. “When I consider the enormous load of taxes under which this wretched kingdom labours, and how unequally they are borne by different members of it,” averred one radical Whig, “I do not wonder at that murmuring and discontent, which prevails amongst the lower order of people, who contribute more than their proportion to the expences of government.” While the conspicuous consumption of the landed elite and London’s haute bourgeoisie was lightly taxed, manufacturers, middling merchants, shopkeepers, tradesmen, artisans, and laborers were expected to bear the state’s fiscal burdens. In railing against the duty on beer, the radical opinion-maker called for a dramatic social redistribution of taxation: “In a country like this, which depends for its strength and riches on its manufactures, the necessaries of life should escape as free as possible from taxation, because they are common to the poor and to the rich, in almost the same proportion; and it is impossible they should be taxed without increasing the price of labour, which it is for the benefit of commerce to be kept moderate and reasonable . . . every duty that is contrived to fall principally on the lower or middling part, which is the bulk of the nation, is unjust, iniquitous, and execrable. Let all the superfluities, elegancies, and luxuries of life be taxed and retaxed over and over: Double or triple the duty upon plate and coaches, as well as upon dice and cards: It is not fit that vanity and vice should be free and unrestrained, while the most galling shackles are imposed upon labour and industry.”75 The government was forced to defend its tax policy throughout the 1760s in the face of an increasingly recalcitrant population. In addition to reforming government taxation and abolishing monopolies, the increasingly radicalized anti-oligarchic opposition aimed for greater access to the halls of power and, ultimately, to win political representation. The radical Whigs no longer sought merely to eliminate ministerial corruption and to remove pensioners and placemen from the legislature. They now wanted to transform the parliamentary political system in order to provide a more adequate institutional framework for Britain’s modernizing commercial society. Upon his election as MP from London in 1761, the radical Whig Beckford declared that “our Constitution is deficient in only one Point, and

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that is, that little pitiful Boroughs send Members to Parliament equal to Great Cities; and it is contrary to the Maxim, that Power should follow Property.”76 The radical Whig critique of the oligarchic state did not point backward to a traditional agrarian order but rather forward to a more commercialized and urbanized polity. As Brewer argues, “the attack on the state of representation, marked, as it were, the urbanisation of country party ideology.”77 By the early 1760s, the radical wing of Patriotism and the politicized members of the urban middling sort had abandoned conservative Country notions in favor of a full-blown radical Whiggery. This transformation was nowhere more apparent than in the City of London. No longer wedded to the Tory or independent Whig parliamentary opposition, London’s merchants and shopkeepers began to articulate a new set of ideas and interests.78 Rather than following in the path of these radicals, the conservative Patriots and Tories began gravitating back toward the government. The accession of George III, who was firmly committed to dislodging the Whig establishment from power and to ruling “above party,” and the growth of domestic radicalism led most conservative Patriots and Tories to rally around the Court and the ministry. In effect, the Patriot coalition was ripped in half. While the conservative Patriots and Tories were increasingly critical of independent middling-sort politics, the radical Patriots-turned-radical Whigs began to take aim at the landed elite’s monopoly on political power. In October 1762, The Monitor observed that “all ranks of people” were in support of continuing the war against France “except for a few miserable wretches, that disgrace their immense patrimonies by grudging the out-goings of land tax.”79 In the later 1750s, Beckford abandoned his Tory connections and became, as George Rudé observes, “a champion of the commercial and ‘middling’ classes against the aristocracy.”80 With the fracturing of the Patriot coalition, a new political landscape began to emerge. The progressive strand of Patriot ideology independently developed into a radical Whiggism that embraced the emancipatory and wealth-creating potential of bourgeois society. By the early 1760s, it was clear that a new political division was supplanting the long-standing conflict between the Whig establishment and the Patriot opposition. The radicalized elements of the urban middling sort and their allies among the political elite articulated a new politics diametrically opposed to the conservative elements in the Whig establishment and to the Tories and the conservative Patriot circle around George III. Radical Whigs increasingly viewed all of their opponents, regardless of party label, as hidebound Tories. In the spring of 1764, The Monitor remarked that “the distinction which formerly

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had been between country gentlemen and courtiers, was now betwixt the friends of liberty, and the slaves of power[,]” and that “[n]one but Whigs, who renounce their convictions, forsake their first love, and cut off the breasts that nourish’d them, can ever think of associating with Tories, who retain their prejudices, and make gain of changing their professions.”81 While the radicals viewed the politics of their opponents as a return to late seventeenth-century Toryism and Stuart absolutism, the conservative elements of the Whig establishment, George III’s inner circle, and the Tories viewed the radicals’ strident commercial ideology and popular politics as a threat to political stability and British liberty. Each side suspected the other of wanting to undo the revolutionary settlement of 1688. The radical Whiggism of the later 1750s and 1760s was not simply conjured into existence by the Seven Years’ War and Pitt’s policies. The emergence of this form of politics was ultimately bound up with the continuing development of bourgeois society in Britain. By the mid-eighteenth century, Britain’s broad capitalist transformation—which, as Robert Brenner argues, was underwritten by a large-scale commercial agriculture that allowed and indeed necessitated an ever-increasing proportion of the population to seek its livelihood off the land—had given rise to new commercial outports, market towns, and manufacturing centers fundamentally different in character from previous urban centers.82 The separation of the majority of direct producers in the countryside from their means of subsistence and production vastly transformed the socioeconomic landscape and eventually led to the far-reaching commercialization and expanding consumer market that characterized eighteenth-century British society.83 Several towns and cities which were not politically dominated by the local aristocracy and gentry developed vibrant public spheres and extraparliamentary political cultures. At the center of these new urban political cultures in mid-Hanoverian Britain was the middling sort, including petty manufacturers, middling merchants, shopkeepers, and tradesmen.84 This social stratum embraced the forms of market competition it was subjected to, and eventually abandoned the Country and classical republican notion that the possession of landed property was necessary for civic virtue and political independence. By the later 1750s and 1760s, the anti-oligarchic ideology generated in these towns and cities viewed existing political institutions as anachronistic since they were founded when property primarily entailed ownership of land rather than the goods and services created by labor, trade, and innovation. One radical pamphleteer contended that parliamentary representation was “established in those Ages when Land was almost the only species

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of Local Property in England” and that such a system was inadequate because “Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, have derived a Flow of Wealth of a different Species.”85 In other words, the unreformed and unrepresentative legislature was no longer adequate to the dynamic commercial society of midHanoverian Britain. This emerging radical ideology—which fundamentally challenged the aristocratic-oligarchic character of the British state—was the political corollary of the urban middling sort’s economic embrace of an increasingly anonymous marketplace that replaced their previous dependence on a limited pool of aristocratic patrons and elite consumers. As Brewer contends, members of the middling sort viewed “operating in an open market, free from the constraints, whims, and fancies of a patron” as the means of “securing independence, of exchanging the personal capricious control of clientage for the Smithian “hidden hand,” which at least operated on a more impersonal and egalitarian basis.”86 The expansion of the market had made the urban-based middling sort less dependent on the landed elite. Radical Whiggism sought to transform the British state into a vehicle for the further expansion of the market at home and overseas and, thus, for the further expansion of personal independence, free exchange, and voluntary association. From the perspective of the radical Whigs, the landed character of the existing regime stood in the way of achieving this goal. Cities such as London, Liverpool, and Manchester were the key centers of a radical Whig ideology that sought to transform Britain and its empire. It was in these urban centers that socioeconomic interdependence mediated by commodity production and exchange received its purest expression. These commodity-mediated social relations provided more than the general context for the emergence of radical Whiggism and, eventually, the Wilkesite movement. They constituted the fundamental forms of subjectivity expressed in radical Whig politics. The social space of these cities was the site of what Karl Marx termed the sphere of circulation, where commodities and capital are distributed during the cycle of production and consumption. The exchange of commodities in this sphere generated the categories of radical Whig and proto-liberal critique—that is, the categories of freedom, equality, property, and interest.87 It was in this sphere of bourgeois society that independent individuals, freed from extra-economic coercion, encountered one another in their necessary social interdependence, freely exchanging equivalent values of their own possessions. Thus, the sphere of circulation was both the precondition for and the generative site of radical Whig and proto-liberal ideology. As Marx argued, “equality and freedom are thus not only respected in exchange

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based on exchange values . . . the exchange of exchange values is the productive, real basis of all equality and freedom.”88 Of course, the categories of radical Whig and proto-liberal critique were not understood by contemporaries as forms of political subjectivity that expressed bourgeois social relations, but rather as the dawning awareness of the “natural rights of mankind” that had been traduced by aristocrats and priests. Nevertheless, the experience of equality and freedom in the sphere of circulation gave rise to abstract political categories that in turn provided the point of departure for criticizing existing forms of sociopolitical organization. The civil society of mid-Hanoverian towns and cities generated the forms of subjectivity that underpinned the developing political radicalism of the period. Rejecting the notion that their fiscal contribution was an eternal obligation in favor of the idea that the state should pursue the interests of the taxpayers who sustained it, radical Whigs claimed that political representation should reflect how (and by whom) the wealth and resources that the government depended upon were generated. These political radicals were essentially demanding their full rights as commodity owners over and against the oligarchic state that ruled Britain. They were no longer simply criticizing ministerial corruption and incompetent policy but rather demanding the fundamental reorganization of the sociopolitical order from the standpoint of the sphere of circulation and commodity exchange. Thus, the radicals sought to transform parliamentary representation in order to create a parliamentary state that was more adequate to the forms of civil society and private property in mideighteenth-century Britain. Within this interdependent commercial society, the government’s tax and regulatory policies were of vital importance. In commanding a portion of the population’s income and regulating the economy in order to meet the fiscalmilitary needs of the state, ministers and officials were intervening in the privatized sphere of commodity exchange and the division of labor. In doing so over the early modern era, the state called into being what Jürgen Habermas famously termed the bourgeois public sphere—the realm of critical public discourse, spanning from coffeehouses and market exchanges to newspapers and pamphlets—where private individuals gathered to collectively reflect on society (that is, their necessary interdependence) and engage “public authorities . . . in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor.”89 During the Seven Years’ War, the radical Whigs began to argue that the bourgeois public sphere was a more adequate expression of the political nation

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than the existing parliamentary system. In rallying support for war with Spain, the radical Whig leader Beckford claimed that there was a source of political legitimacy beyond the Crown and Parliament. That source was the public opinion of the middling sort. “When I talk of the Sense of the People, I mean the Middling People of England—the Manufacturer, the Yeoman, the Merchant, the Country Gentn. —they who bear all the heat of the day, & who pay all Taxes to supply all the Expences of Court & Government[,]” Beckford averred; “[t]hey have a right Sir to interfere in the Condition & Conduct of the Nation which makes them easy or uneasy who feel most of it, & Sir the People of England taken in this limitation, are a good natured, well intentioned, & very sensible People, who know better perhaps than [any] other Nation under the Sun whether they are well governed or not.”90 Merchants, petty manufacturers, shopkeepers, and prosperous farmers formed a political nation of propertied British subjects whose wealth derived from enterprise and industry, not from inheritance, and who funded the state.91 For Beckford and his co-thinkers, the failure of this political nation to find adequate expression in the oligarchic order necessitated reform. They charged aristocratic grandees with being “mere Subalterns” who “receive More from the Public than they pay to it—If you were to cast up all their Accounts & fairly state the Balance they would turn out Debtors to the Public for more than 1 third of their Incomes.”92 The radical Whigs were opposed to a political order that served the interests of aristocratic magnates and the City elite, a political order that they increasingly believed was incapable of permanently curbing French power and of extending the “empire of liberty” across the globe. During the 1760s, the coffeehouses of London and the provincial cities were inundated with pamphlets and newspapers calling into question the foundations of the oligarchic order. Drawing on these radical sentiments, a self-proclaimed “true Whig” averred that “we are, in great measure, deprived, though, I hope, not irremediably, of that, on which the very foundation of liberty must, in every nation, and under every species of free government, rest; I mean the independent people’s weight in administration.” In describing the source of Britain’s woes, this opinion-maker articulated the central radical Whig indictment of the Hanoverian regime: That the people have not, at this time, their due weight in government, will appear, I humbly conceive from what follows. . . . What constitutes a nation free, is the people’s having a power, equally diffused according to property, of choosing the persons, who are to make

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the laws, by which they are to be governed, and the persons, who are to administer government over them. . . . Let us, in order to form just notions of the degree of liberty at present secured to us, consider . . . the lower house. First, with regard to the representation, in that famous assembly, of the great and important body of the people (great and important beyond estimation both in number and in property) the commoners of Great Britain; what could blind chance have determined more unequal, irregular, and imperfect, than we see it at this day? I need not tell you, my good countrymen, that the property of the commons of Britain consists of the landed, the monied, and the commercial interests. . . . The monied interest is not represented at all. One hundred millions and upwards of property wholly excluded from a share in the legislature! excepting where the proprietors have other qualifications. The case is much the same with the commercial interest. A merchant or manufacturer who exports to the value of half a million every year, is not represented as a merchant or manufacturer; he has not the privilege of a beggar in a Cornish borough. Accordingly the great manufacturing towns of Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, &c. have no representation in parliament. And in most towns the corporation, which bears no proportion to the inhabitants, either in number, or property, are the only voters.93 There are no hints of conservative Country ideology in this anti-oligarchic declaration. The writer did not evoke a long-lost era of gentry rule but rather called for the creation of a political order in which representation was “equally diffused according to property.” The radical Whig challenge to the aristocraticoligarchic state, whether it was made through demands for political reform or calls for the expansion of Britain’s maritime empire, did not seek to restore a traditional agrarian order but rather to expand commercial society and to establish a polity representative of that society. In the face of a recalcitrant aristocratic-oligarchic state, how would such objectives be achieved? The “true Whig” declared that “the power of the grandees is . . . become more formidable than ever” and that nothing short of popular mobilization could curb it: “British lion! where dost thou crouch? Rouse thy wraths: utter thy tremendous roar. The slavish and enslaving junto will tremble at the glare of thine eye.” Even though Britons were “on the verge of losing [their] liberties in aristocracy,” all was not lost. “Nay, the certain remedy of all our distresses is in ourselves, I mean in the aggregate body of governors

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and people; for we are not under a foreign yoke. How zealously the people will insist on redress . . . remains to be seen.”94 The ruling class was no longer certain that the political difficulties they faced could be managed in the typical ways. During the later 1750s and 1760s, as Plumb concludes, “the day of the bourgeois radical dawned.”95 The era of the Seven Years’ War witnessed the dramatic transformation not only of the British Empire but also of the shape and character of metropolitan politics. The political divisions that ran from Walpole’s ministry through to the 1750s began to be supplanted. Although British political life both during and after the Seven Years’ War was extremely fluid, it is retrospectively clear that the long-standing conflict between the Whig establishment and the Patriot opposition was giving way to a new ideological scene. Not only had radical Whiggism emerged to challenge existing domestic and imperial arrangements, but also, with the accession of George III and the Whig establishment’s loss of power, high politics itself was increasingly unstable. The transformations of British politics and of the British Empire were not simply simultaneous processes. They were mutually constitutive of one another. Pitt’s direction of the war effort unleashed new forces not only in the empire but also in metropolitan politics. When George III and the conservative political establishment brought the war to an end in the early 1760s, they were concerned not only with fiscal and military necessities but also with domestic political developments. During the first decade of George III’s reign, British conservatives and radicals were deeply divided over both domestic and imperial affairs. What role did the East India Company (EIC) play in these wider metropolitan and pan-imperial developments? The Company’s transformation into a territorial empire in northeastern India during the later 1750s and 1760s took place in the context of the crisis and transformation of Britain’s imperial state, a key aspect of which was the metropolitan crisis of the oligarchic order. The next two chapters are devoted to examining the British political context surrounding the EIC’s emergence as a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent between the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and Robert Clive’s acquisition of the diwani in 1765. Before examining this period in detail, however, it is first necessary to briefly consider the relationship between the Company and metropolitan politics before Plassey. As we saw in the last chapter, the EIC stood at the apex of the metropolitan political and economic order from the 1720s to the 1750s. The Company’s

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directors and leading shareholders were drawn from the City elite. The corporation had extremely strong links with the Bank of England, played an important role in London’s financial market, and was well connected to the Whig regime. While the EIC stood on the edge of dissolution during the first two decades after the Glorious Revolution, it thrived and prospered under the Whig establishment. Much more than simply a commercial concern, the Company was a pillar of the Whig Supremacy and of the fiscal-military state. Powerful corporations such as the EIC and the Bank of England provided extensive loans, grants, and patronage resources to the British state; in return, they received government contracts and exclusive privileges. The Company loaned its entire capital stock of £3.2 million to the government upon the renewal of its monopoly charter in 1709, provided £200,000 to the Walpole ministry when John Barnard and London radicals clamored for its expropriation in 1730, and subscribed £1 million to the national debt upon the renewal of its charter in 1744.96 The EIC was a key element in a London financial complex composed of monied companies and City patricians.97 The plutocratic merchants and financiers at the helm of the EIC also controlled the Bank of England, the South Sea Company, and a disproportionate share of the national debt.98 By the 1750s, this urban elite owned one-third of the shares traded on the London stock market despite representing only 2 to 3 percent of the investing public.99 The monopoly commercial profits that accrued to the Company as a result of its exclusive charter flowed into the hands of wealthy merchants, financiers, and aristocratic grandees in the form of corporate dividends, and into the Treasury in the form of public loans and grants. The EIC’s business tentacles stretched beyond London throughout Britain and across the Asian trading world from Bombay to Canton. Hence, the EIC was able to provide employment for many individuals with political connections.100 The Company was a central component of the oligarchic state. Political conflicts over the eastern trade were bound up with the evolution of metropolitan politics as a whole. Throughout the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, a radical campaign was waged to expropriate the Company and to re-establish the trade under the auspices of an open and loosely regulated commercial organization. Despite initial successes, the emergence and consolidation of the oligarchic order during the early decades of the eighteenth century foreclosed this possibility and secured the monopoly joint-stock organization of the eastern trade under the United EIC. The corporation’s role in the oligarchic order from the 1720s, and the alliance be-

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tween its directors and the Whig establishment, aroused the hostility of the Patriot opposition. Tories viewed the Company as part of the “monied corruption” that had subverted the traditional landed order and that had contaminated British politics under the Whig Supremacy. For the radical wing of Patriotism and, later, for the radical Whigs—in particular, among the merchant communities of London and the provincial cities—the EIC represented precisely what was wrong with the Whig oligarchic order insofar as it was an obstacle to realizing the potential of Britain’s commercial and manufacturing society. The Company imported highly prized Indian textiles into Europe and failed to export significant amounts of British finished products, thus arousing the opposition of domestic manufacturing interests. The corporation’s directors and leading shareholders were rentier business elites who benefited from their connections to the ministry and the Court. The EIC’s exclusive control of all British trade east of the Cape of Good Hope prevented other British merchants from exploring and exploiting commercial opportunities throughout the Asian world. For these and other reasons, the Patriot Whigs and their supporters among the urban-based commercial and industrial classes were opposed to the Company and sought its expropriation. “May you, Sir, with the Patriot Spirit of the Gracchi, and the Fortune of Caesar, force the monopolizing Companies, to submit to an Agrarian Law in Commerce,” a Patriot writer urged Robert Nugent, a Lord of the Treasury, in the dedication to a collection of letters on the EIC in 1754, “and give Liberty to the People of Great Britain and Ireland, to use their Industry, upon those two thirds of the World which are now lock’d up by Monopolizers, under pretence of a Charter and Act.”101 The joint-stock corporation’s chartered monopoly was viewed as a fetter on British commercial expansion in Asia, and it placed the management of the trade in the hands of London’s plutocracy rather than in those of the wider British merchant community. This is why, according to Patriot ideology, the East India trade was not yet part of the “empire of the seas.”102 The EIC’s privileged position and connections with the government made it anathema to the political and social forces seeking to advance market relations and to reform the oligarchic order.103 The monopoly corporation’s continuing existence and growing influence was an institutional expression of the increasing conservatism of the Whig Party between 1688 and the 1750s, during which time the Whigs shifted from being revolutionary opponents of Stuart absolutism to defenders of the oligarchic status quo. For many Patriots and for the emerging radical Whigs of the later 1750s and 1760s, the Company was an obstacle to the advance of commercial

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and manufacturing society, and, as such, was a reminder that the revolutionary settlement of 1688 had not gone far enough. While no major organized assault on the EIC’s monopoly and corporate privileges had been launched since Barnard’s failed effort in 1730, during the 1750s anti-Company sentiment nevertheless grew among radical Patriots. In 1752, during the debate in the Commons over a bill to prevent British businesses from insuring foreign ships bound for the East Indies, Beckford railed against the “intolerable monopoly of the East India company.” The London Patriot and future radical Whig leader was bitterly opposed to the EIC’s efforts to prevent British businesses from dealing with other European companies and merchants trading to the East Indies. While denouncing the Company’s use of political measures to eliminate competitors, Beckford argued for the reorganization of the eastern trade along the lines advocated by the anti-EIC alliance during the 1690s. He proposed the establishment of a free trade along regulated lines, in which the Company would be paid with “a duty laid on all adventures sent to India” in return for maintaining the forts and settlements necessary for commercial expansion in Asia. Beckford maintained that, if such a reorganization were pursued, There is not a creek, nor corner in all India, that would not be filled with British traders and British manufactures, and the increase of revenue would be immense. . . . Let, therefore, the East India company keep their forts and settlements, and receive the rents and profits arising from those forts, but let the nation seek out new places of trade within the limits of their charter; let the bold, adventuring merchant be permitted to carry the cloth and manufactures of Great Britain into that vast, expansive, rich world: it is a field of commerce so extensive—an harvest so plentiful, that a low, distressed, spiritless, interested company has not force to reap and gather the fruits of such a trade. What a prospect of advantage is this to the nation! How immensely would your customs rise! How would the nation be benefited!104 The Company’s monopoly was viewed as an obstacle to the expansion of British trade and industry as well as to the increase of public revenue. In 1754, a Patriot pamphleteer argued that if the corporation’s exclusive privileges were abolished, “all the People of England and Scotland wou’d get the Liberty of using their Industry in the East Indies, which would increase infinitely the Exports, and consequently the Employment of the People of Great Britain.”105

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Other critics inveighed against the EIC’s monopoly price-setting power and, consequently, the high cost of Asian commodities such as tea.106 While Patriot opponents of the Company and its exclusive privileges were aware that the military power and political influence of the French East India Company were growing on the Indian subcontinent during the 1740s and early 1750s, they did not believe that this necessitated the continuation of the British corporation’s exclusive monopoly.107 In fact, some opinion-makers pointed to the growth of French power as an argument for abolishing the EIC’s monopoly and transferring its Asian forts and settlements to the British state. “At present the Revenues arising from their Territories maintains them, and would do so, if they were in his Majesty’s Hands, in Time of Peace,” a Patriot writer contended, “and if there is a War, we see that the Nation must be at the Expence of sending Fleets and Troops upon extraordinary Occasions; therefore if the Nation is to be at the Charge of defending the Trade, they ought not to be excluded from the Benefit of that which they defend.”108 Radical opponents of the EIC believed that if the East India trade was opened up and directly regulated by the state, the British forts and settlements in Asia would eventually evolve into politically participatory and commercially flourishing colonies similar to those in British North America. As a radical Patriot observed: If St. Helena, Bombay and Madrass, were each of them, with their Dependencies, created into a separate Colony, with a Governor, appointed by his Majesty, to be assisted by a Council and Assembly, chosen by the People, as in America, they would make as rich and as flourishing Colonies as Virginia, or Jamaica; since their Trade and Commodities are of more Value. And if the free Merchants who are now there, together with all other Britons, who should go thither hereafter, were incorporated with the Black Merchants, who are excessive rich, and with the Black Artizans, who are sober and industrious, those Colonies would grow up, in a very short Time, to such a Height, as hardly can be conceived; they would be so far from wanting a Monopolizing Company, that they would not only be able to defray their own Charges, but give Assistance towards paying off the National Debt. Think what a Resort of People would be to any Part of India, where there were good Laws, Liberty, and Property established; and where there was a mild Government, and free Trade.109 According to this ideological vision, British settlements and outposts in Asia needed to be transformed into the bridgeheads not of a conquering

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territorial imperialism but rather of an expanding and liberalizing commercial society. Long before Adam Smith remarked that there was a stark “difference between the genius of the British constitution which protects and governs North America, and that of the mercantile company which oppresses and domineers in the East Indies,” Patriot Whig politicians and pamphleteers were concerned with transforming the shape and character of the British presence in Asia.110 The same strident commercial ideology that sought to expand the maritime “empire of liberty” in order to advance Britain’s commercial and manufacturing society also sought to reform the East India trade, making it part of the “empire of liberty,” for the same purpose. Patriot and radical Whigs in the 1750s opposed the Company as yet another obstacle to the further expansion of political and economic freedom. The aim of the radical Whig challenge to the EIC was not the conquest of territories and the establishment of political dominions in Asia but rather the commercial transformation of the British presence there. The kingdom’s factories and settlements beyond the Cape of Good Hope were to be integrated into a global trading and colonial empire. Such an empire would fuel the rapid development of Britain’s commercial and manufacturing society.111 While Patriot and radical Whigs deeply disdained the Company’s monopoly and its privileged position in the oligarchic order, their views on its military and strategic role in the global struggle waged against French imperialism during the Seven Years’ War were far more ambiguous. This ambiguity was a product of the militarization of Anglo-French rivalry beyond the Cape of Good Hope during the mid-eighteenth century. Many of the radicals opposed to the EIC nevertheless concluded that its position must be defended in the face of growing French imperial power. There could be no reform and expansion of Britain’s eastern trade if the country’s presence in Asia was heavily reduced or eliminated. From 1742 until 1754, Joseph François Dupleix, the Governor-General of the French settlements in India, pursued a strategy of political and military aggrandizement that aimed to acquire local revenue streams and to reduce British commercial competition through diplomatic arrangements with South Asian rulers.112 During the War of the Austrian Succession, Dupleix was able to capture one of the British Company’s prized settlements—the city of Madras—in September 1746. Although the French Company returned Madras to its British counterpart in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 and Dupleix was returned to France in 1754, a new imperial dynamic was set in motion— one that drew the British and the French into military alliances with political

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forces in southern and eastern India, including rival claimants to the throne in the Carnatic and the Deccan. The armed rivalry between the British and French companies was now deeply entangled with geopolitical competition between post-Mughal successor states on the Indian subcontinent. The British EIC’s servants in South Asia and its directors in London interpreted the political and military maneuvers of their French rival as part of an overall strategy of territorial conquest that was ultimately designed to establish a political dominion in India and to bolster the Bourbon monarchy’s pursuit of universal empire. In 1753, Robert Orme, a writer in the British Company’s service and Clive’s confidante, informed the Earl of Holdernesse, then serving as a Secretary of State, that “the French were the Aggressors in the present War of Carnatica” and that “under the Pretext of securing the Rights and Advantages of the Commerce of their Company, Their Intent was Nothing less than to add Provinces in Asia, to the Dominions of Their Monarch.”113 Although Holdernesse worked hard to bring the rival companies to a peaceful settlement in 1754, he nevertheless informed the Earl of Albemarle that British officials “suspected the French of aiming at the Possession of an extended Territory, in one of the richest Parts of India, & by which, They would have obtained an immense Revenue.”114 Metropolitan ministers and officials increasingly viewed the armed rivalry between the two companies as part and parcel of a global Anglo-French struggle for imperial supremacy. By the time the Seven Years’ War broke out in May 1756, South Asia was viewed as a vital battleground in this titanic clash. The expansion of Anglo-French warfare beyond the Cape of Good Hope inevitably placed Patriot and radical Whigs in a difficult position. They were committed to the farthest possible expansion of Britain’s commercial society and maritime “empire of liberty,” and this necessarily entailed the abolition of the Company’s monopoly and the opening up of the eastern trade. However, the Company faced serious losses and perhaps even total annihilation at the hands of French imperialism, by far the greatest threat to Britain’s maritime empire and global trade. Although Patriot and radical Whigs viewed the EIC as an institutional embodiment of “arbitrary power,” many worried that the corporation’s defeat at the hands of its French rival would spell the end of Britain’s trade to the East Indies. Thus, during the 1750s, at precisely the same moment that arguments were put forward in favor of the eastern trade’s reformation and expansion, fears that the trade might be lost altogether grew throughout the metropole. In this context, critics of the Company faced a fundamental dilemma: would they refuse to support the corporation and risk

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losing Britain’s trade to Asia, or would they rally around the EIC in the face of the Bourbon menace? This question was difficult to avoid in 1755, when early French victories portended a dark future for the British Empire. It proved impossible to avoid once news of the capture of Calcutta in 1756 by Siraj-ud-daula, the Nawab of Bengal, reached the metropole. “The East India company received a blow, which would have shaken an establishment of less strength to its foundations,” the editors of the Annual Register remarked, noting that “the Nabob of Bengal . . . irritated at the protection given to one of his subjects in the English fort of Calcutta, and, as it is said, at the refusal of some duties to which he claimed a right, levied a great army, and laid siege to that place.” The news of the June 1756 defeat of the Company’s servants at the hands of the Nawab’s forces, and the subsequent death by suffocation of British prisoners in the “Black Hole” of Calcutta, further dismayed a British public already reeling from news of military losses in Europe and the New World. Newspapers and pamphlets described the “Black Hole” as “the most cruel distress which perhaps human nature ever suffered,” and portrayed Siraj-ud-daula as the Bourbon monarch of Bengal—a relentless tyrant and serial violator of commercial treaties who stood for royal absolutism and against British trade.115 Patriot and radical Whigs were thus forced to confront the “East India question” under the Newcastle-Pitt ministry during the Seven Years’ War— that is, whether or not to support a British commercial monopoly and “arbitrary power” like the EIC in the face of the threats posed by Bourbon imperialism and the ruler of Bengal. Two years before the outbreak of war in Europe, Beckford railed against the Company in the House of Commons. He feared that the growing militarization of the EIC’s presence in Asia ran the risk of building a new military despotism on top of a long-standing commercial one.116 Even during the Seven Years’ War, Beckford continued to launch assaults on the Company’s exclusive privileges. In the Commons during the spring of 1759, Beckford, along with John Barnard and John Phillips, supported the request of several London merchants for licenses to import tea from the Netherlands.117 The City radicals were attempting to undermine the EIC’s price-setting power by making an end run around its monopoly charter. Despite the defeat of this effort, Lucy Sutherland is right to draw attention to the seriousness of Beckford’s challenge since he was “one of the most prominent supporters of Pitt and his chief link with the City” and since Newcastle’s “alliance with Pitt was new and uneasy and ministers were afraid that if the matter came up in the House, their formidable ally would join his supporters

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in attacking them.”118 Pitt’s failure to join Beckford’s cause in 1759 was not merely a whim but rather a consequence of his need to support the Company in the face of the powerful threats posed by French and South Asian rivals. The EIC’s trade and revenue suffered heavy losses before Britain’s formal declaration of war with France in May 1756. The Company was engaged in conflict with its French rival in southern India from 1746 to 1754. It was left with little time to recover before the renewal of hostilities. Consequently, the corporation’s directors were convinced that their position in Asia could not withstand another major French assault. On the day after Britain declared war, East India House informed Henry Fox, a Secretary of State, “that as the War now declared against France puts an End to the Provisional Treaty made in the East Indies . . . [i]t is to be expected . . . Hostilities will not only be renewed there, but will also be extended to the other parts of India, where the English and French have many Settlements of Commerce . . . and although Your Memorialists will give Orders to repell them with all the Force the Company are able, Yet it will be impossible for them, from their own Strength, already so much exhausted, by the immense Expences they have for some Years been at, in Defence of their Settlements and the preservation of so valuable a Trade.”119 The British government sent royal troops and naval squadrons to relieve the EIC’s position in India during the 1740s and early 1750s; the corporation’s management was certain that such support would have to continue for the duration of the new war or else the East India trade would be lost. Drawing Fox’s attention to the potential national consequences of a French victory beyond the Cape of Good Hope, the Company’s directors painted a dire picture: “Should such an Event happen, how Great must the Distress be that will then attend this Nation; The East India Company, must be no more; The Proprietors of their Stock will be Clamorous for the Loss of their Capital; The Owners of Shipping, engaged in the Companys Service, and in which Several Hundred Thousand Pounds are employed, will add to the Public Discontent; The Navigation of the Kingdom will be greatly diminished; The very Large Revenue arising to the State from the Duties on East India Goods will cease; a General Distress upon Public Credit will succeed, and the Government will be in all probability, if not totally, in great measure deprived of a Supply of Salt Petre from the Company.”120 If Britain’s East India trade suffered serious diminution at the hands of European or South Asian rivals, its effects would be felt not only by the EIC and its proprietors but also by the wider business community, the London stock market, and the fiscal-military state. In response to the Company’s concerns, the government

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provided financial and military support while allowing its directors in London and their servants in India to conduct the war effort beyond the Cape of Good Hope.121 Despite the Patriot and radical Whig antipathy to the EIC, Pitt came to the financial and military support of the corporation in 1757 as part and parcel of his effort to prosecute the war against France to the farthest extent possible on all fronts. Debates over the proper organization of the East India trade would have to wait until after the Bourbon monarchy was humbled and Britain’s maritime empire was secured and extended. Pitt maintained the policies put in place by his predecessors, supplying money and manpower to the Company while allowing its agents to plan and implement military strategy.122 It is estimated that the government provided £4.5 million to the EIC during the first four years of the war.123 In addition to supplying troops and naval squadrons, Pitt worked to end the quarreling between the royal and EIC military commands beyond the Cape. After placing William Draper in charge of royal forces in India, Pitt introduced measures designed to ensure their cooperation with the corporation’s military.124 The Great Commoner was committed to supplying the Company with the additional resources that it needed to fend off the French threat. While Pitt’s wartime support for the EIC was in some respects a continuation of previous policies, his war aims and imperial project infused these policies with a new vigor and purpose. As George McGilvary argues, Pitt maintained a very close working relationship with Laurence Sulivan, the powerful Company Chairman who consolidated his control over East India House in 1758 and routinely fought for the EIC’s interests with the ministry and in Parliament. Pitt secured extensive military support for the Company in 1759 and 1760, including a force of 1,200 soldiers commanded by his close friend and fellow Patriot Whig, Eyre Coote.125 Furthermore, Pitt worked closely with the EIC’s Secret Committee to ensure that the corporation had an overall strategy for reducing French power throughout Asia.126 For all these reasons, it is no surprise that Sulivan claimed that his beloved corporation “not only owed their present glorious situation, but their very existence to [Pitt’s] generous protection.”127 The Company was in many respects a deficient instrument for the expansion of Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty” into Asia but, in the context of the global and potentially final war for empire, its institutional organization and resources proved vital. During the Seven Years’ War, the issue at hand was not the organization of British commercial endeavor in Asia but rather the very existence of the kingdom’s eastern trade.

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In the halls of power and in terms of the formation of state policy, any criticisms of the EIC would have to be shelved until after peace was restored. The Pittite imperial project played no direct role in the initial steps toward political supremacy on the Indian subcontinent taken by Company forces in 1757. Clive regained control of Calcutta, seized Chandernagore, and defeated Siraj-ud-daula at the Battle of Plassey before the Great Commoner wielded any influence over British affairs in India. However, Pitt’s rise to high office was a necessary precondition for the continuing growth of British power in South Asia. For it was only with his political ascent that the geopolitical timidity of the Whig establishment was supplanted by a maximal war effort and a radical imperial project that sought to preserve the “liberties of Europe,” to secure and extend Britain’s maritime empire, and to permanently reduce the power of Bourbon France. It was Pitt’s conduct of the war from 1757 to 1761—when unprecedented amounts of money, manpower, and supplies flowed into Europe, Asia, and the New World—that ensured a full-scale confrontation with French forces in every theater of British imperial activity. While the EIC was rapidly gaining power in Bengal in the aftermath of Plassey, it was the defeat of French imperialism at Wandiwash and Pondicherry in 1760 and 1761 (which was made possible by Pitt’s direction of the war) that secured the corporation’s newfound position in eastern India. But a necessary precondition is not the same thing as a cause. While Pitt’s support for the Company was crucial to the corporation’s emergence as the greatest European power in Asia, it was not responsible for the British political dominion consolidated in Bengal in 1765 nor for the early formation of the British Indian Empire. Despite the fact that the waging of the Seven Years’ War led to an alliance between Pittite forces and the oligarchic and monopolistic EIC, the shape of Britain’s emerging territorial empire in South Asia was not a product of the aggressive imperial expansionism and strident commercial ideology associated with political radicalism. The consolidation of the Company’s dominion in Bengal was not motivated by the radical Whig project and its liberal political economy. The military autocracy and extractive political economy that characterized the Company’s state in India were the expression of a very different, opposing metropolitan political project. The next three chapters are devoted to examining the development of that project and its imperial aspirations in the context of the struggle to shape the British presence in Bengal between 1757 and 1765.

chapter 3

he Plassey Revolution in Bengal and the Company’s Civil War in Britain

By the 1750s, the East India Company had established numerous settlements throughout Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. While the fortified commercial city of Calcutta served as the headquarters of British activity in the region and comprised one of the corporation’s three presidencies in India, it was dependent upon a network of mercantile factories located in economic centers such as Patna, Cossimbazar, Dacca, and Balasore. Company agents stationed at these factories undertook the collection and purchase of indigenous products, which were in turn shipped to Calcutta for export to Europe. EIC servants provided dadni (money in advance of production) to dalals (indigenous brokers) who, in turn, contracted with manufacturers and weavers to produce a specified number of piece-goods in an agreed-on period of time. Due to a farman (a direct royal order) granted by the Mughal Emperor in 1717, the British corporation traded duty-free throughout Bengal. The Company was granted dastaks (trading exemptions) that permitted its goods to pass through the province without charge. Although these arrangements served both the EIC and Bengal’s governors well in the early eighteenth century, they were under increasing strain by the 1750s. The first major problem was that the Company’s employees, who were paid relatively low salaries but permitted to trade privately in Asia on their own accounts, systematically abused the EIC’s privileges by applying dastaks to their own private trade goods as well as by providing these passes 88

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to independent European and Asian merchants. Thus, the British dastaks eventually covered not only the Company’s commerce but also the private trade of hundreds of the corporation’s servants as well as their European and Asian business partners.1 The second major problem stemmed from the fact that the EIC’s Calcutta settlement often provided refuge to native political and business elites who had fallen out of favor with the nawabi regime in Murshidabad.2 “The injustice to the Moors consists in that being by their courtesy permitted to live here as merchants, to protect and judge what natives were their servants, and to trade custom free,” a British ship captain remarked in 1756, “we under that pretence protected all the Nabob’s subjects that claimed our protection, though they were neither our servants nor our merchants, and gave our dustucks or passes to numbers of natives to trade custom free, to the great prejudice of the Nabob’s revenue.”3 The nawabi regime under Alivardi Khan responded by levying new duties on local trade, requisitioning “gifts” from European companies, and interfering with the EIC’s ability to collect its annual investment of indigenous manufactures. “The Nabob coming down with all his Excellencies Canon to Hughley & with an Intent it is thought to bully all the settlements out of a large Sum of Money,” Robert Orme informed Robert Clive in August 1752, “twould be a good deed to swinge the old Dog; I don’t speak at Random when I say that the Company must think seriously of it, or twill not be worth their while to trade in Bengall.”4 The Company’s London directors were incensed by their servants’ commercial abuses and by the nawabi regime’s response. In 1755, the Court of Directors commanded the Calcutta council to “use all prudent measures by applications to the Darbar and other ways to get relieved from the impositions of the chokeys planted up and down the country . . . but at the same time you must be extremely careful to prevent all abuses of the Dusticks, that the Government may have no pretences to interrupt the trade on that account, which we are afraid they have sometimes too much reason for.”5 By the mid-eighteenth century, relations between Calcutta and Murshidabad were at best uneasy. The problems surrounding the abuse of dastaks and the refuge provided by Calcutta to Mughal subjects were compounded by the difficulties that arose when the nawabi regime and the EIC both faced external threats and geopolitical rivalry in the 1740s and 1750s. In the midst of the dissolution of the Mughal Empire and the political upheavals that followed in its wake, the nawabi regime pursued an independent state-building project and sought to improve its fiscal-military capacities.6 When recurrent warfare with the

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Marathas disrupted production and trade throughout Bengal, the government was forced to undertake measures to secure its revenue base.7 In this climate, Murshidabad could not afford to ignore the growing abuse of dastaks and the evasion of customs duties. During this very period when the Nawab’s court faced growing political and military pressures, the Company’s administration in Bengal began grappling with the strains of Anglo-French global warfare. In the 1740s and early 1750s, the British and French East India companies forged alliances with indigenous political forces in eastern and southern India and militarized their settlements along the Coromandel Coast. Anticipating the spread of this extra-economic rivalry to northeastern India, and seeking to increase the extraction of local territorial revenue, the EIC’s council in Calcutta ordered the construction of new fortifications around its commercial settlement. Since the nawabi regime rigorously enforced the Mughal policy forbidding Europeans to fortify their trading enclaves, the Company’s employees decided to proceed without notifying Alivardi Khan.8 “I think a previous application to the Nabob of leave to fortifye Calcutta a step highly improper for us to take[,]” the EIC official William Watts informed the Calcutta council, “for in case the Nabob should absolutely refuse us his permission we must at once give over all thoughts of fortifying or do it in defiance of him.”9 Fearing the growth of French power throughout eastern India, the Company servants settled on the latter option and refused to cease fortifying Calcutta despite the admonitions of Siraj-ud-daula, the new Nawab of Bengal. The increasing tensions between the British merchants and the nawabi regime finally erupted in June 1756 when Siraj-ud-daula invaded and seized Calcutta. “I have three substantial motives for extirpating the English out of my country,” the Nawab wrote to Coja Wajid, an influential Armenian merchant in Hugli: “one that they have built strong fortifications and dug a large ditch in the King’s dominions contrary to the established laws of the country; The second is that they have abused the privilege of their dustucks by granting them to such as were no ways entitled to them, from which practices the King has suffered greatly in the revenue of his Customs; The third motive is that they give protection to such of the King’s subjects as have by their behavior . . . made themselves liable to be called to an account and instead of giving them [up] on demand they allow such persons to shelter themselves within their bounds from the hands of justice.”10 With this forceful attempt to extend his political power over Calcutta and to consolidate his regime’s fiscal-military resources, the Nawab raised the wrath of the Company and its servants.

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EIC troops led by Clive, then a colonel in the corporation’s service, and British naval forces under the command of Admiral Charles Watson recaptured Calcutta in January 1757. Upon learning of the declaration of war against France, Clive and Watson feared that Siraj-ud-daula might forge an alliance with their chief rival. Hence, British forces invaded and destroyed the nearby French trading settlement at Chandernagore in March 1757. In the aftermath of these victories, Company officials in Bengal concluded that the only viable long-term solution to the corporation’s problems was the deposition of the Nawab and his replacement with a pliant alternative. They formed a plan for a military confrontation with Siraj-ud-daula followed by a coup d’état, and negotiated with several local power brokers with whom they were closely connected—including the nawabi regime’s key financial backer, the house of Jagat Seth, as well as a leading discontented general, Mir Jafar. “Never was a conspiracy conducted so publicly and with equal indiscretion on the part of the English and the Moors,” explained the French governor of Chandernagore while imprisoned in Calcutta; “nothing else was talked about in all their Settlements, and what will surprise you is that, whilst, every place echoed with the noise of it, the Nawab, who had a number of spies, was ignorant of everything.”11 The stage was set for the Nawab’s battlefield defeat and the installation of the British-backed Mir Jafar on the throne. With Clive’s victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and Siraj-ud-daula’s subsequent assassination, the British corporation had successfully defeated its indigenous and French opponents in Bengal. Marking this ascendancy, Mir Jafar rewarded British officials with gifts valued at £1.2 million, provided financial compensation for his predecessor’s seizure of Calcutta, and conceded the revenue of territories surrounding the city to the EIC. Since the capture of Chandernagore “a Revolution of much greater Consequence to both publick & Private has been effected, with very little Loss, by the Defeat & Death of the late Subah Surajah Dowlet, & the setting up another in his Stead, entirely attach’d to the English Interest,” Clive informed the Earl of Hardwicke in August 1757; “this happy Event has already been productive of many signal Advantages to the Trade of the Company” and “by Treaty with the Subah [Mir Jafar], they have been put in Possession of Land to the Yearly Amount of near £150,000, & the other Articles of Agreement bind him to pay to publick and private the Sum of 3 Millions Sterling one half of which is already receiv’d, & I have the Pleasure to inform Your Lordship that out of that Sum he has given to the Army & Navy £600,000.”12 As many Company servants were

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quick to point out, the “Plassey Revolution” of 1757 shifted the balance of power in Bengal heavily in the corporation’s favor. In the aftermath of Plassey, Clive and the Calcutta council sought to transform the EIC’s newly won political and military advantages in Bengal into a durable supremacy. Acting as the de facto governor of the British settlement, Clive oversaw the fortification and militarization of Calcutta as well as the Company’s upcountry trading stations. Although Clive declared on the accession of Bengal’s new ruler that the British “must attend only to commerce” in the province, he nevertheless extended the EIC’s control over Mir Jafar by supervising his official appointments and by rendering him militarily dependent on British forces.13 Clive evinced little interest in restricting the power of the Company and its servants in Bengal. Writing to Hardwicke with regard to “the late Extraordinary Revolution,” Clive asserted that the British victory at Plassey made a great deal more possible than a return to the status quo ante; it was “an Event fraught with many Advantages to both publick & private, an Event which may hereafter be made subservient to very great Purposes.”14 Clive governed the EIC’s Bengal presidency for two years after Plassey. During that period, he not only transformed the Nawab into a financial and military dependent of the Company but also curbed French and Dutch power in northeastern India.15 Along with Lieutenant Colonel Francis Forde, Clive oversaw the reorganization and expansion of British military forces in Bengal.16 In the spring of 1760, one British observer looked back on Clive’s Calcutta administration during the two years following Plassey and remarked: “A just resentment for injurys received was the first motive which induced us to make a trial of our strength; The ease with which we succeeded enlarged our views & made us chearfully embrace all opportunity of increasing that interest & influence, both on account of the advantages which accrued from it to the Hon: Co., as likewise the hopes that it might in time prove a source of benefit & riches to our Country.”17 Clive and his inner circle seized advantage of the British military position, taking every step necessary to secure the EIC’s hegemony over Bengal and to render the nawabi regime little more than a shadow of its former self. Clive’s policies were implemented with the support of—and, in part, to serve the interests of—Company employees who traded extensively throughout the region on their own private accounts.18 While the EIC monopolized British trade with the East Indies, it allowed its servants to ply the “country trade” throughout Asia.19 Over the course of the eighteenth century, the private

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enterprise of Company servants increasingly penetrated the inland trade of Bengal.20 The post-Plassey political and military supremacy established by Clive provided the corporation’s employees and their business partners with economic security since it maintained their private-property rights and commercial advantages. As a result, these forces tended to support the military commander’s efforts to advance the EIC’s hegemony in Bengal. The fundamental division of Britain’s eastern trade between the official, public channel of the Company’s monopoly and a private, unofficial commercial sphere consisting of EIC employees and independent European merchants trading on their own accounts was in part a consequence of the corporation’s integration within Britain’s oligarchic state during the first half of the eighteenth century. Although the radical anti-Company alliance of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries failed to abolish the EIC and to open up the East India trade, the corporation nevertheless allowed its servants and independent merchants to freely pursue the Asian port-to-port trade.21 By the 1740s, as the remarkable research of Søren Mentz demonstrates, British private trade along the Coromandel Coast was no longer a minor offshoot of the Company’s commerce, but rather an important link in British trading and investment networks stretching from the North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.22 At the height of the EIC’s prosperity during the three decades following the Hanoverian Succession of 1714, the total tonnage of British private trade in Bengal tripled.23 By the 1750s, British private trade in northeastern India was leading to a deterioration in the Company’s relationship with the nawabi regime. The abuse of dastaks by the EIC’s employees and their Asian and European business partners drained public revenue precisely when Murshidabad desperately needed to expand the fiscal-military resources at its disposal. In the aftermath of Plassey, the private enterprise of Company servants penetrated Bengal’s inland trade even further. The widespread support for Clive’s policies among EIC employees and private traders was a consequence of their interrelated socioeconomic interests and ideological commitments. The nawabi regime’s increasing efforts to restrict the abuse of dastaks and to interfere with European enterprise throughout Bengal were viewed by the Company servants as additional instances of the arbitrary fetters placed on the expansion of British trade and industry by despotic rulers throughout the world. During the 1740s and 1750s, Patriot and radical Whig opinion-makers railed against Bourbon France for violating treaties, interfering with British commercial expansion, and attempting to erect a universal monarchy.24 In the

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aftermath of Siraj-ud-daula’s seizure of Calcutta in 1756, EIC servants articulated a similar critique of the nawabi regime, portraying it as a degraded despotism responsible for violating long-standing commercial agreements between the British corporation and the Mughal Empire.25 Since the Nawab received French military assistance at Plassey, he quickly came to be seen as the Bourbon monarch of Bengal—a royal despot who aimed to restrict the “free-born Briton’s” political and economic liberty. Thus, the aggressive commercial ideology of many Company servants should be seen as an imperial variant of the Patriot and radical Whig politics articulated in the metropole during the era of the Seven Years’ War. Clive’s post-Plassey governorship secured the private property of the corporation’s employees and removed the remaining obstacles to their commercial exploitation of Bengal. During the late 1750s and early 1760s, as Spencer Leonard demonstrates, factions within the Company’s service sought to extend the corporation’s political supremacy far beyond what Clive himself envisioned. They aimed to establish a fullblown British political dominion in Bengal—and perhaps even across India— that would liberalize the economy and spark commercial expansion.26 The support of many Company servants for the consolidation and extension of British political power in northeastern India in the aftermath of Plassey stemmed from their expansionist commercial interests and ideology. While Clive and EIC servants were committed to extending the corporation’s hegemony in Bengal, their employers back in London were increasingly concerned with the hefty expenses generated by the growth of the Company’s political and military strength on the Indian subcontinent. As Bengal’s silk and cotton piece-goods were prized commodities in European markets as well as in the port-to-port trade throughout Asia, the Calcutta settlement could without any exaggeration be called the nerve center of the EIC’s global commercial empire. Thus, the directors rejoiced at the news of British military successes in Bengal and bestowed numerous honors on Clive and other battlefield commanders. However, the initial delight of the corporation’s London management soon wore off; letters arriving at East India House from Fort William during 1758 and 1759 listed immense expenditures on fortifications and garrisons. Such costs only compounded the heavy losses in corporate revenue suffered by the EIC as a result of armed conflict with their French rival during and after the War of the Austrian Succession. In the Madras presidency alone, the corporation’s military charges rose from an annual average of £182,269 in the early 1740s to £292,168 in the early 1750s.27 With the onset of the Seven Years’ War in 1756, the Company’s expenditures rapidly

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outpaced its commercial profits. It was estimated that the EIC lost up to £2.5 million in war-related expenditures and crises between 1753 and 1760.28 In the midst of a crisis in the EIC’s affairs in 1757–1758, Laurence Sulivan and the “Bombay faction” of returned Company servants took control of the Court of Directors.29 With news of French victories, soaring costs, and political instability on the Indian subcontinent flooding the metropole, the Company was unable to command the short-term credit necessary for its commercial operations. “From 1757 to 1763 my power at the India House was absolute,” Sulivan wrote to his son in the 1770s, “for this plain reason the vessel was sinking and no man had courage or (to my son I say ability) to take the helm . . . the Company bankrupt at home in credit, not more than 5000 £ could be borrowed in their name from man or men.”30 In order to resolve this financial crisis, Sulivan’s circle sought to borrow immense sums from their connections in the City and to reduce the military and administrative expenses accruing in the EIC’s Indian presidencies.31 Naturally, the rising military expenditures in Bengal raised questions among Sulivan and his allies. When learning of plans to refortify Calcutta and to militarize all of the corporation’s upcountry trading factories, the EIC’s management grew furious. “We are ready and willing to put Calcutta into that respectable condition,” the directors wrote to the Fort William Council in March 1759, but “you are not to deviate from the rules laid down to you last season respecting the carrying on our affairs at Cossimbuzar and our other [subordinate factories] without the least parade of soldiers, fortifications or even the appearance of military strength.”32 The Court of Directors even objected to plans proposed for Calcutta’s defense, finding them more appropriate for a military garrison than a commercial settlement: “It’s a striking fact, that although we have benefited upwards of a million sterling by the [treaty of 1757], yet not a single shilling of this immense sum has gone in aid to our returns & by your representation the whole will be buried in your citadel & the charges of Calcutta.”33 While Clive and like-minded officials in Bengal were bent on achieving a military capability that they viewed as the necessary concomitant of the Company’s newly won political position, East India House sought a restoration of the conditions that characterized the corporation’s commercial activities during the 1740s and early 1750s. The Sulivanite program was met with increasing hostility in Calcutta, and a series of acrimonious exchanges between East India House and Fort William ensued. Frustrated with the obstacles his political leadership faced on Leadenhall Street, Clive resigned from the governorship of Bengal and sailed for Britain

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in February 1760. EIC servants and private traders continued to pursue their aggressive commercial interests in opposition both to the political power of the post-Plassey nawabi regime and to the program of fiscal retrenchment demanded by East India House. “Our People at Madrass we find are hot-headed, but they are able, generous & open,—I can smother their Rebukes,” Sulivan wrote to Eyre Coote in March 1761, “but the ungrateful Wretches, late of Bengall, have hurt my Temper . . . [a]s I conclude you are now in Bengall, be well with Vansittart, I beg; from his Character he is high in my Esteem . . . I expect that lawless Settlement of Calcutta, will be reformed to Decency & Order—Our Military Expences are amazingly large even beyond what we can possibly support for any time, Pray manifest your Regard to the Company in cutting off every [un]necessary Charge.”34 Sulivan and his allies were growing impatient with the expansionary political and economic designs of EIC servants, and, between 1760 and 1763, they focused on stabilizing the Company’s position in Bengal and on restoring the power of the nawabi regime. The program pursued by Sulivan and his ally Henry Vansittart, the governor of Bengal from 1760 to 1764, was designed to consolidate the EIC’s commercial interests, to reduce administrative and military costs, and to establish a quasi-independent nawabi regime. While in practice this program was not a simple return to the status quo ante, based as it was on new commercial and territorial privileges won in the aftermath of Plassey, it nevertheless sought to reassert the EIC’s long-standing monopolistic corporate interests. The Sulivan-Vansittart program aimed to gain every possible commercial and financial advantage for the Company in northeastern India without incurring any of the costs associated with wielding political power over vast and densely populated territories. The Sulivan-Vansittart program sought to establish a territorially limited fiscal-military state around Calcutta. The nawabi regime granted the Twentyfour Parganas—territories near Calcutta from which revenue could be raised— to the Company following Plassey in 1757, and, when Vansittart replaced Mir Jafar with the latter’s son-in-law, Mir Qasim, in 1760, the British corporation took control of the districts of Burdwan, Midnapur, and Chittagong.35 Vansittart consolidated these territorial holdings and used their revenue to meet the EIC’s local administrative and military costs, to fund its other presidencies and settlements, and to purchase the cotton and silk piece-goods that it sold throughout Europe and Asia.36 This limited territorialization of the EIC’s presence in Bengal allowed the Court of Directors to reduce bullion exports to Asia while maintaining and expanding the corporation’s investment in indigenous

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manufactures. As George McGilvary argues, Sulivan was faced with British bullion shortages and a crisis of confidence in the EIC’s position in Bengal that effectively dried up the corporation’s domestic credit. In response, the Chairman deliberately sought to reduce bullion shipments and to export more British manufactures to Asia while raising territorial revenue in Bengal.37 Thus, the Sulivan-Vansittart program did not seek to establish a territorial empire in Bengal, but rather to financially stabilize the EIC and to reduce domestic criticisms leveled at the corporation while maintaining and expanding its investment in Bengali cotton and silk piece-goods.38 The monopoly profits generated from the sale of these goods in European markets allowed the Company to pay out sizeable dividends to its proprietors and to improve its financial position in the metropole. The Sulivan-Vansittart program undertook a limited territorialization of the EIC’s position in Bengal in order to pursue the commercial and financial interests of the corporation’s directors and leading shareholders. Although committed to preserving the Company’s monopolistic organization of the East India trade and to extracting every possible commercial privilege from indigenous regimes, Sulivan’s circle was deeply opposed to undertaking territorial conquests and to establishing a full-blown political dominion on the Indian subcontinent.39 When Sulivan wrote to William Pitt in July 1761 to suggest possible peace terms for the eventual treaty negotiations with France, he made his opposition to territorial imperialism perfectly clear: What I shall offer to your consideration are my private Sentiments of a Plan that may best secure to us solid and permanent advantages and such I believe will appear to be the Sense of our Company. My Dear Sir will be confined to our Mercantile Interest, we ought not, we cannot look farther, Governmt. may—The Reduction of Pondicherry has given us entire Possession of the Chormandel Coast—In a Commercial light the advantages can never be very extensive, there are but few Manufactures & no Ports; the great benefit then must arise from Possession of Countries either by Cession or Usurpation, whose Revenues must maintain Armies and draw Riches to Europe, This Doctrine Mr. Dupleix in his Memoirs avows, He goes farther and declares that no Trading can Support itself unless they adopt similar Measures, But if I could not clearly confute his Reasoning I should wish our Trade to India at an end. In Bengal we have a solid Extensive and valuable Commerce . . . The Territories granted the Company and Provinces abounding in Manufactures, and Tillage, whose Revenues are great & encreasing.40

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The Sulivan-Vansittart program upheld the EIC’s monopolistic and oligarchic interests but avoided assuming the economic and political costs of governing a vast and densely populated territorial empire.41 “If the Plan you mention should take place, I think it will not answer,” Vansittart responded to Clive’s proposals for British territorial aggrandizement on the Indian subcontinent. “Conquests are easily made in this Country, but not easily turned into Money, and Camp Expences you know are immense.”42 Under Sulivan’s leadership, the Company turned down offers of the diwani—and, with it, a full-blown territorial dominion in Bengal—not once but three times between 1758 and 1763.43 The Sulivanite program was ultimately premised on the assumption that, once the Seven Years’ War came to a conclusion, the Company would return to full commercial profitability and maintain all of its newly won privileges. As part and parcel of its efforts to maximize financial advantages while minimizing administrative and military costs, the Sulivan-Vansittart program sought to strengthen the political autonomy of the nawabi regime. The Sulivanites believed that if Mir Qasim was allowed to develop a durable state in northeastern India, his regime would eventually be capable of meeting the costs of internal order and external defense. In such conditions, the EIC could confine its political and territorial concerns to southern Bengal—especially to the territories surrounding Calcutta—and focus on maintaining and expanding its highly valued trade. “To establish [Mir Qasim], therefore, in the full authority over his own people, and allow him the just rights of his government,” a Vansittart ally remarked, “was to make him an useful ally instead of a burthen to us, which he must be without these, whilst, by shewing a steady zeal to his interests, we should insure the same attachment in him to ours, and make him a faithful one.”44 Vansittart’s removal of several of the limits that Clive placed on the political independence of the nawabi regime was part of Sulivan’s plan to stabilize the Company’s position and to restore its commercial profitability. These measures infuriated important factions within the EIC’s service and the British private trading community in Bengal. From their perspective, the Sulivan-Vansittart program represented more than a simple undoing of Clive’s early efforts to establish a durable British political and military supremacy in northeastern India. It was a betrayal of everything that the Plassey Revolution stood for, and it threatened to undermine the dearly won liberties of the “freeborn Briton” in Bengal by restoring an arbitrary local despotism.45 The Sulivanite program posed a threat to the socioeconomic interests and ideological

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commitments bound up with the large-scale, post-Plassey expansion of British private enterprise in the inland trade of Bengal. Between 1760 and 1763, Company servants and private traders continued to abuse the corporation’s dastaks and to diminish the Nawab’s sovereignty over his own territories.46 Faced with Vansittart’s efforts to curb the abuse of dastaks and with Mir Qasim’s endeavors to enforce the collection of customs duties, the private trading interests represented on the Calcutta council articulated a strident critique of the nawabi regime informed by Patriot and radical Whig ideology.47 Sulivan was certain that refractory EIC servants and their abuse of the corporation’s dastaks lay at the root of Bengal’s instability during the early 1760s (and, therefore, led to the failure of his program): The Companys Servants are certainly not included in the Companys Phirmaund of having their Imports & Exports Duty free, but the Practice of covering their own Goods with the Company’s Name, had been so long abusd that it was tolerated or rather winked at by the Government. Cossim Ally . . . proving a Prince faithfull to his Engagemts the Company gratefully determined to adhere to his Interest & positively ordered their Servants to support & protect him in his Just Rights. Cossim Ally in wisely regulating all abuses saw and felt with concern that the establishment of Tranquility wod. Never take place unless the licentious & shameful conduct of our Servants who by carrying on an inland Trade for their private benefit had ruind the best branch of his revenues, and whose private disputes frequently involved his Affairs was rectified, the Governour Mr. Vansittart sensible of these striking Truths formd a sett of rules which Cossim Ally approved and which gave the Companys Servants far greater advantages then they had ever enjoyed; the Council of Calcutta rejected these fair proposals insisting that the English private Trade should pay no Dutys and that they would carry on the Trade thro every part of his Dominions.48 The Sulivan-Vansittart program continued to face considerable resistance in the council rooms of Calcutta and in the commercial centers of Bengal between 1760 and 1763. The Company servants and private traders who opposed Sulivan’s measures wanted to pursue an aggressive commercial imperialism, and they enunciated a Patriot and radical Whig critique of the EIC and its Court of Directors for failing to do so. Sulivan’s efforts to discipline the Calcutta council, to limit the expansion of EIC and British power in northeastern India, and to restore

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the authority of the nawabi regime were viewed as the actions of an oligarchic and monopolistic power broker bent on limiting the political and economic liberties of the middling merchants in the Company’s service in Bengal. The author of The History of the Administration of the Leader in the India Direction cast the Calcutta council and the EIC servants as the overseas equivalent of the commercially expansionist and politically radical forces in the metropole during the late 1750s and early 1760s: It is to be observed, that a Spirit of Liberty and Independency reigns Supreme in that Settlement, which is unknown in other Parts of India; and this arises from the extensive Trade they enjoy, both with the inland Countries, and other Parts of India . . . and partly, from the Independency which the Court of Justice established there by Charter, has maintained; which is a great Barrier against the Oppression of the Company and the Governor. This the Company have greatly checked in the other Settlements, by obliging them to elect their Mayor and Aldermen chiefly from among the Servants of the Company, who, depending on the Company’s Service alone for their Subsistence, are intimidated from giving such free Decrees in Cases where the Company, or Governor, are interested, as in Bengal; where a Property, independent of the Company, permits them greater Freedom of Action. The same Spirit makes them unwilling to submit to the injurious Treatment of their Superiors.49 The British reading public was thus invited to view the struggles of Company servants and private traders as yet one more front in the battle being waged between dynamic commercial forces and the oligarchic order that dominated Britain and its empire. In many cases, EIC employees and private traders sought not only to undermine the Sulivan-Vansittart program but also to expand British political power on the subcontinent. They felt that such political power was necessary to secure their liberties and private property in the midst of the chaotic forces and despotic powers of India. “The message of the [Calcutta] council was clear,” Robert Travers argues; “free Britons would not subject themselves to Asiatic despots; to remain a free people in a land of despotism, it seemed, it was necessary to become conquerors.”50 Indeed, many Company servants were committed to expanding British power to the furthest extent possible. “The French power in India is totally crushed & destroyed: The Dutch are become too despicable to attempt to disturb us: we are possessed of a heavy &

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useless burthen on the Company, if not employed; & the English name is now at the highest pitch of glory,” remarked a British merchant in Calcutta in 1762; “in a word every advantage seems united in making this the crisis for raising the British empire in the East, which (if properly maintained) may rise superior to all the vicissitudes & precarious contingencies of future times.”51 While several Company servants and private traders supported the expansion of British hegemony in South Asia, they did so in the name of an unfettered commercial imperialism that was nothing like the territorial dominion that eventually emerged following Clive’s acquisition of the diwani in 1765. Their opposition to the Sulivan-Vansittart program of 1760 to 1763, as well as to Mir Qasim’s growing power in Bengal, was articulated from the standpoint of a liberalizing politics and political economy that sought to overturn the limits placed on British commercial activity by the monopolistic East India Company and the despotic nawabi regime. In endeavoring to eliminate these arbitrary powers, they aimed to open up the subcontinent to the free play of British private interests. Between 1758 and 1763, Sulivan and his allies among the EIC’s Court of Directors pursued an imperial strategy designed to consolidate the corporation’s monopolistic trade and to curb the growth of British power in northeastern India. In doing so, they provoked the ire of Company servants and independent merchants who had benefited from the expansion of British private enterprise in post-Plassey Bengal. The clash of interests and ideologies that ensued was similar to the political conflict that emerged between the oligarchic order and radical Whig forces in Britain during the late 1750s and 1760s. The threat posed to Sulivanite imperialism by the refractory Calcutta council was not the only challenge faced by the Company’s Chairman between 1758 and 1763. During this period, Sulivan entered into a bitter rivalry with Clive—a rivalry that would dominate East India House politics for the next decade. By the late 1750s, Clive had emerged as the most successful military commander in the EIC’s service and as a great Patriot hero in the British public sphere. While he was initially employed as a writer in the Company’s Madras presidency, Clive moved up the corporation’s military ranks during the armed conflicts between the British and French East India companies in the 1740s. Clive was among the British forces that successfully repelled Dupleix’s army at Cuddalore in 1748, leading the expedition that captured and successfully defended a fort at Arcot in 1751. He was second-in-command of the British

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troops that defeated the French ally Chanda Sahib at Trichinopoly in 1752.52 Clive won fame for these military exploits not only among EIC servants in India but also with the British public. He was revered as a remarkable commander whose martial prowess and heroism played an important role in the Company’s victories over the French and their South Asian allies. “The Company was almost ruined by the victorious French, when the brave Clive, and us who followed him, redeemed your Affairs,” a British soldier who fought in India observed in a pamphlet in 1754. “There are two Kinds of Soldiers; the regular one, who is curb’d by the Mutiny and Desertion Act, and another Kind of Soldier, who serves, because he chuses to defend the Laws, Liberties and Properties of the Community of which he is a Member,” the military veteran argued; “[t]his Kind of Soldier you have now in the East Indies; this Kind of Soldier, led by the valiant Clive, beat the French, and the vast Armies of the Moors and Indians under the French Nabob. These fight for Freedom, because they are free, and would not bear to live under slavish Rule[.]”53 By the early 1750s, Clive was seen not only as a successful soldier but also as a Patriot leader who valiantly defended British liberties and trade from the threat posed by French despotism. He was rewarded by the EIC’s Court of Directors and celebrated in the political arena upon his return to Britain in 1753.54 Clive’s early fame and reputation pale in comparison to the adulation he later won during his second trip to India from 1755 to 1760. The news of his victories at Calcutta, Chandernagore, and Plassey reached London in late 1757 and early 1758, a period during which the British public was reeling from news of French victories in the Seven Years’ War. “You have, by the blessing of God, gain’d a complete & most signal Victory over such a Superiority of Numbers as sounds prodigious to European Ears, & thereby shewn what Some English Spirit & Courage, under the direction of right Conduct, is capable of performing,” the Earl of Powis wrote to Clive with regard to the news of Plassey. “I wish I could, in return, send You an account of any Success [of ] our military operations, in this part of the World, equal to what You have obliged us with,” Powis continued, “but our misfortune in not being able to do This, Does, on the Contrary Set your merit in the stronger light.”55 Although Clive’s victories in Bengal were won far away from the European and Atlantic theaters, he was nevertheless revered as a great war hero in Britain.56 Upon returning home in July 1760, Clive was widely celebrated in the press and in high political circles as well as among the populace at large. “Col. Clive arrived in Town from India, July 5th,” the Duchess of Northumberland recorded in her diary. “He & his Lady dined that day at White Hart in Guildford,”

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she observed; “the populace assembled in vast numbers; & he may be said to have dined in public, as the Doors & Windows were all thrown open, that every ones curiosity might be satisfied.”57 Politicians and opinion-makers viewed Clive as much more than a successful military commander. He was a self-made Patriot leader who had successfully defended the British Empire during its darkest hour. For this reason, the Patriot minister Pitt dubbed him the “heaven-born general” in 1757, and the two remained in close contact until the Great Commoner left the ministry in 1761. Clive was elected MP for Shrewsbury in 1761, and, later that year, the Duke of Newcastle secured an Irish peerage for him in return for the political support of his parliamentary connections.58 During the period in which Clive was emerging as a leading Patriot figure in British politics and public opinion, he advocated aggressive imperial expansion on the Indian subcontinent. As we discussed previously, Clive sought to transform the advantages gained by the Company in the aftermath of Plassey into a durable political and military supremacy in northeastern India. In pursuing this project, he was strongly supported by EIC employees whose private trade had greatly expanded throughout Bengal in the wake of military victory. Although Clive’s political project was amenable to private trading interests, the imperial vision animating it was considerably different from the aggressive commercial ideology of Company servants such as John Johnstone. While the latter were extremely critical of Bengali political institutions and sought to increase British political power in support of free trade, Clive advocated a very different form of territorial imperialism. Clive outlined his imperial vision in a letter to Pitt in January 1759. “I have represented to [the Company] in the strongest terms the expediency of sending out and keeping up constantly such a force as will enable them to embrace the first opportunity of further aggrandizing themselves[,]” the victor of Plassey informed the Patriot minister. “But so large a sovereignty may possibly be an object too extensive for a mercantile Company,” he continued. “I have therefore presumed, Sir, to represent this matter to you, and submit it to your consideration, whether the execution of a design . . . be worthy of the Government’s taking it into hand.” Clive aimed to convince Pitt that a territorial empire in Bengal was not merely possible but also potentially a solution to Britain’s looming fiscal crisis: “I flatter myself I have made it pretty clear to you that there will be little to no difficulty in obtaining the absolute possession of these rich kingdoms . . . I leave you to judge whether an income yearly upwards of two millions sterling, with the possession of three provinces abounding in the most valuable productions of nature and of art, be an object deserving the

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public attention; and whether it be worth the nation’s while to take the proper measures to secure such an acquisition,—an acquisition which, under the management of so able and disinterested a minister, would prove a source of immense wealth to the kingdom, and might in time be appropriated in part as a fund towards diminishing the heavy load of debt under which we at present labour.”59 The commercially expansionist ideology of EIC employees and private traders is absent from these remarks. Clive was not concerned with the growth of trade, but rather with the creation of a tributary territorial empire. Clive did not seek the Company’s political and military aggrandizement in order to expand Britain’s commercial society and its maritime “empire of liberty,” but rather in order to seize the territorial revenue of Bengal and its neighboring provinces. Once successfully obtained, he hoped this revenue would be transferred to the British state in order to service the public debt. This tributary and territorial imperial ideology—with an emphasis on military conquest, fiscal extraction, and political dominion over a vastly populated area—shared little in common with the views of Company servants like John Johnstone and of domestic radicals like William Beckford. Whereas Patriot and radical Whigs at home and abroad were concerned with commercial expansion and colonial settlement, Clive was committed to seizing the land revenue of Bengal and to transferring it to Britain as an imperial tribute. While Clive reveled in his reputation as a Patriot hero who valiantly defended British interests in the face of European and South Asian tyrannies, and closely aligned himself with British private trading interests while serving as governor of Bengal from 1757 to 1759, his imperial vision had more in common with the conservative Patriotism of the 1750s and the emerging New Toryism of the 1760s. In fact, during the early 1760s—at precisely the same moment when conservative Patriots and Tories abandoned Pitt and his increasingly radical Patriot allies in order to rally around King George III, the Earl of Bute, and George Grenville—Clive’s circle articulated a statist, militarist, and agrarian vision that was more in tune with conservative Patriot views than with the aggressive commercial expansionism advocated by private traders in India and by radical Whigs in Britain.60 This conservative ideological tendency received expression in the propaganda pamphlet written in 1761 by Clive’s close confidant and political ally Luke Scrafton.61 His Reflections on the Government of Indostan emphasized the military commander’s noble character and martial valor. Rather than focusing on the possibilities for commercial expansion in the rich province of Bengal, the pamphlet drew attention to the growth of British military power and to the

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reverence for Clive in India: “Before I close the scene of those glorious successes, let me take a view of the figure the English made at this period. No longer considered as mere merchants, they were now thought the umpires of Indostan. So great was the reputation of our arms, that the Visir himself pressed the Colonel, by his agents, to march up to Delhi; and the Emperor sent him an elephant, a vest of honour, and a tiara, which is the usual present to persons of the highest rank[.]”62 As Travers observes, Scrafton “deployed the idiom of neoclassical narrative, posing as a statesman reflecting from retirement on the virtues and vices of great historical figures” and viewed “Clive’s military successes . . . as emblematic of his natural genius.”63 For Scrafton, Clive’s greatness was confirmed by the jagir he received from Mir Jafar. This grant of territorial revenue was bestowed upon Clive in order “to support the dignity of an Omrah of the Empire, for which he is supposed to maintain six thousand men, and, in the country language, is called a Jaghire, a tenure not unlike Knight’s service, by which lands were held formerly in England.”64 In contrast to the commercial expansionism of EIC servants in Bengal and of radical Whigs in Britain, Clivite ideology emphasized the aristocratic, landed, and military character of the British presence in India. While it is certainly the case that Clive wanted to be portrayed as a great Patriot hero, and was celebrated as one in Britain’s public sphere, it is nevertheless important to realize that his ideological vision had more in common with the landed, hierarchical values of conservative Patriotism than with the politically radical and commercially expansionist sentiments of Patriot Whigs such as Beckford and John Wilkes. The imperial vision that Clive enunciated in the late 1750s, which he continued to voice during the early 1760s, in many respects anticipated the New Tory imperialism consolidated under George Grenville in 1764 and 1765.65 While the New Tory imperialism is discussed in detail in the following chapters, it is necessary to briefly state here its significant similarities with Clive’s proposal for a territorial empire in northeastern India. Clive wanted to use the EIC’s political supremacy in post-Plassey Bengal to establish a heavily militarized garrison state. This garrison state would take over the collection of the province’s territorial revenue and remit it back to the Company and the British government. Clivite imperial ideology downplayed commercial expansion and emphasized fiscal extraction, political subordination, and military control. These features were likewise prominent in the New Tory imperial reforms imposed on the American colonies in the 1760s. Those reforms sought to create an imperial administration that was fiscally and politically independent of the local population. Such an imperial administration would allow the

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British government to reorganize the colonies—which, from the perspective of metropolitan officials, was much needed in light of the chaotic experience of the Seven Years’ War—as well as to maintain a peacetime standing army in North America. Furthermore, the new Atlantic imperial order would be far more capable of extracting colonial revenue and, hence, of helping to relieve Britain’s postwar fiscal burdens. Thus, the extractive political economy, political authoritarianism, and militarism contained in Clive’s plan for a British territorial empire in Bengal foreshadowed the coercive imperial program that developed in the metropole in the early to mid-1760s. Not surprisingly, Laurence Sulivan found Clive’s variant of conservative Patriot and emergent New Tory imperialism as distasteful as the aggressive commercial expansionism of EIC servants and private traders in Bengal. As we discussed earlier, Sulivan and his allies in the Court of Directors were deeply opposed to territorial conquest and large-scale political dominion on the Indian subcontinent. While the Sulivanites were committed to securing every commercial advantage possible for the Company, they sought to avoid the heavy costs and militarism associated with territorial empire. In doing so, they hoped to maximize the monopoly commercial profits available to the Company and its shareholders. In pursuit of this goal, the Court of Directors criticized the Clive-led Calcutta council’s profligate military expenditures in 1759, and then implemented the Sulivan-Vansittart program in Bengal between 1760 and 1763. From the Sulivanite perspective, Clive’s brand of territorial imperialism would prove disastrous for the EIC and ultimately undermine the corporation’s commercial purposes. Disappointed with the failure of the London directors to support his efforts to consolidate a durable British political and military supremacy in Bengal, Clive resigned from the governorship in December 1759, shortly after signing an angry letter to the Company’s management.66 Clive informed Calcutta’s inhabitants that “the ill-treatment I received from the Court of Directors in their last general letter, has fully determined me in throwing up the service” and that “proper measures may be taken at home for the better security of this valuable settlement, to promote which, you may depend upon my exerting my utmost interests; and I may perhaps be able to serve you more effectually than by my continuing here.”67 He returned to Britain in 1760 and continued to criticize Sulivan’s policies among his confidantes and in high political circles.68 There is little doubt that the EIC’s directors learned of Clive’s 1759 letter to Pitt advocating a tributary territorial empire in Bengal. As Mark Bence-Jones observes, the circulation of this letter was most likely

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the cause of the rumor that “Clive’s father had told Pitt that, given the necessary resources, his son would send back enough treasure from India to pay the National Debt.”69 By the time Clive returned to Britain in July 1760, Sulivan was already deeply suspicious of the military commander’s ambitions and intentions with regard to Indian affairs. In the early 1760s, Sulivan was in a position to easily parry any challenges that Clive made to his policies. He had been the “uncrowned king of Leadenhall” since 1758 and was firmly in control of the corporation’s committees, patronage, and political connections.70 Sulivan worked closely with the Newcastle-Pitt ministry from 1758 to 1761, thus any opposition to his authority at East India House received no support from the government. Pitt not only opposed challenging Sulivan’s supremacy but also was deeply skeptical of Clive’s imperial proposals. When Clive’s secretary, John Walsh, presented those proposals to the Patriot minister in 1759, Pitt informed him that although the scheme for acquiring Bengal’s diwani was “very practicable,” it was nevertheless the case that “the Company were not proper to have it, nor the Crown, for such a revenue would endanger our liberties.”71 Pitt was deeply concerned with the immense territorial revenue and patronage resources that might be placed at the Company’s or the royal executive’s disposal by establishing a British political dominion in Bengal. Such revenue and resources threatened to dramatically increase the power of the oligarchic order to drown out parliamentary dissent. As a close ally of the Bute ministry, Sulivan remained in ministerial favor in 1762 and early 1763.72 Firmly in control of East India House and closely connected to successive British ministries, Sulivan held the predominant influence over Indian affairs in the late 1750s and early 1760s. Despite Clive’s immense popularity, he realized that any challenge leveled to Sulivan’s power would have little chance of success absent significant changes in Company or national politics. Although they fundamentally disagreed about the future shape of the British presence in India, Clive and Sulivan maintained friendly relations upon the former’s return to Britain in 1760.73 When the Bengal Club—a group of returned EIC servants deeply opposed to the Court of Directors’ Indian administrative reforms and to the Sulivan-Vansittart program—virulently criticized the Company’s leadership in 1761 and 1762, Sulivan secured Clive’s silence by “a piece of polite blackmail” that threatened his jagir grant.74 Drawing attention to the necessity of maintaining his jagir payments, Clive informed a correspondent that “it is an object of such importance that I should be inexcusable if I did not make every other consideration give way to it; and this is one of the reasons why I cannot

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join openly with the Bengal gentlemen in their resentments.”75 Sulivan was thus able to prevent the most popular figure in British Indian affairs from openly opposing him and his policies. Through his mastery of the machinery of East India House, as well as his maintenance of important political connections with the ministry and in Parliament, Sulivan was able to fend off the challenges and potential challenges posed to his control of Indian affairs both by returned EIC servants and private traders and by powerful figures such as Clive. Between 1760 and 1763, the Sulivan-Vansittart program was being implemented in Bengal and a quasiindependent nawabi regime was emerging under the rule of Mir Qasim. In London, Sulivan wielded the patronage of Leadenhall Street to keep his circle in control of the Court of Directors and thus of Company policy. The dictator of East India House was well on the way to achieving his primary objective of re-establishing the corporation’s monopolistic trading system on the basis of the new commercial privileges and limited territorial gains won in the Seven Years’ War. On the eve of the Peace of Paris, it appeared that Sulivan and the forces of status quo conservatism had triumphed over the challenges posed both by radical commercial expansionism and by Clivite territorial imperialism. Between the autumn of 1762 and the spring of 1764, Sulivan’s grip on Indian affairs was broken, and the EIC entered into a new and decisive phase of its long history. When the dust finally settled in 1765, the Company controlled a territorial empire and militarized garrison state on the Indian subcontinent. During this period, two important battles were waged for control of East India House. Both of these battles centered on the annual April election to the EIC’s Court of Directors. The first took place in April 1763, although the battle lines had been drawn in the fall and winter of 1762. It was not so much an internal Company affair as another front in the national political conflict being waged over the Bute ministry’s efforts to bring the Seven Years’ War to a conclusion and to negotiate a peace treaty with France. The metropolitan radical Whigs and the commercially expansionist Company servants and private traders who had returned to Britain joined forces with the Clivites and the parliamentary opposition in an attempt to take over East India House. Crucially, these forces forged an alliance with several EIC directors, led by Thomas Rous, who opposed Sulivan’s control of the corporation. The Sulivanite forces were ultimately victorious in the 1763 election for the Court of Directors, but they relied heavily on the political support of the Bute ministry.

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While Sulivan won the battle of 1763, he ultimately lost the war. The same forces challenged his control once again in the election of 1764. This time, however, there were two crucial differences. First, news of the outbreak of war in Bengal arrived in London in January 1764. A formidable alliance of Indian powers—including Mir Qasim—was arrayed against the Company, which was a matter of grave concern in government and City circles. Under these circumstances, the Clivites, the returned EIC servants, and the Rous-led faction in the Court of Directors were able to mount a more effective challenge to Sulivan’s supremacy. The second crucial difference concerned the matter of ministerial influence. While the weight of the government was again brought to bear in the 1764 election for the Court of Directors, this time it was in favor of the Clivite alliance. The ministry of George Grenville not only helped to secure the election victory of the anti-Sulivan forces but also ensured that Clive was returned to Bengal as a governor endowed with extraordinary civilian and military powers. It was upon his return to Bengal that Clive acquired the diwani from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and oversaw the consolidation of a militarized garrison state and territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent. The dominant historical interpretation of these events—that is, the arguments put forward in Namierite historiography and by the sub-imperialist school—contends that these election contests were indeed transformative but were nevertheless devoid of any systematic political and ideological conflict. According to this interpretation, the transformative character of these elections stemmed from two non-ideological factors.76 The first factor was the bitter rivalry between Clive and Sulivan. Lucy Sutherland, the leading exponent of the Namierite interpretation of the Company’s imperial transformation, contends that the rivalry between these two men “originated not from any conflict of principle but from misunderstandings arising in the course of the [1763 peace] negotiations and from the exclusion of Clive from participation in the intricate bargaining which took place between the Government and Company about the precise terms to be put forward.”77 In other words, this conflict was yet another instance of the essentially apolitical struggle for power and influence that dominated Hanoverian Britain. The question of why Sulivanite forces might want to exclude Clive from the peace process and from any major decision regarding the shape and character of the British presence in Bengal is not raised by Namierites. Sutherland refers to the battles between Clive and Sulivan as the “great Civil War of the Company,” but she interprets them as essentially a struggle for patronage and influence waged by unprincipled factions.

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In addition to the heated “conflict of personality” between Clive and Sulivan, the Namierite interpretation points to the intervention of metropolitan political forces—above all, the ministries of Bute and Grenville—in the Company’s elections as another transformative factor in the corporation’s development. This was the first time that British politicians and officials had systematically intervened in the EIC’s internal affairs since the early eighteenth century. According to Namierism, these political interventions in the corporation’s management were not informed by any ideological conflict. Rather, they were an extension of the central feature of Hanoverian politics—that is, the efforts of aristocratic statesmen to accumulate the influential connections and patronage resources necessary for gaining and maintaining power—into Company conflicts.78 The EIC was a vital source of patronage and political support, and thus ministers were forced to take sides in the struggle between Clive and Sulivan in order to secure their access to the corporation’s resources. These two factors—the personal rivalry between Clive and Sulivan and the support provided to them by factions of the British ruling class—combined to transform Company politics. According to the Namierite interpretation, this transformation was in the means by which EIC factions waged war, not in the ends for which they waged it. In their attempts to win the 1763 and 1764 elections to the Court of Directors, the contending parties engaged in organized stock-splitting campaigns. Victory in the elections ultimately depended upon winning a majority of the voting proprietors. Every individual who owned £500 or more of East India stock was entitled to vote in the corporation’s annual election. In order to gain as many votes as possible, Clive and Sulivan, along with their ministerial backers, worked with City banking interests and stock-jobbers to acquire India stock and to distribute £500 shares among their supporters.79 The acquisition and distribution of East India stock thus became a systematic weapon in party warfare. According to the Namierite account, this splitting of stocks proved transformative. It was more than a mere tactical ploy; it set a dangerous precedent: any adventurers or interlopers who sought control of the EIC for their own ends needed only to assemble the financial resources necessary to accumulate votes in the Court of Proprietors (the body that was both responsible for electing the Court of Directors and capable of overturning the directors’ decisions). The methods deployed in the battles between Clive and Sulivan dramatically transformed the course of the EIC over the next decade. The Company was subjected to destabilizing internal contests and financial speculation that ultimately rendered it incapable of governing the territorial empire it had accidentally acquired. The stage was

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now set for the British state’s wide-ranging interventions in the corporation’s affairs. As a result, the Company lost its much-prized autonomy in 1784. The conflict between Clive and Sulivan, the intervention of metropolitan political forces in the EIC’s elections, and the politicization of India stock ownership were indeed transformative events in the corporation’s history. But they were not ideologically neutral matters. Rather, they were deeply informed by systematic and principled political differences. Clive and Sulivan waged a bitter struggle for power in East India House and were able to enlist many statesmen and City businessmen in it because there was a great deal at stake regarding the shape and future of the British presence in India. They undertook innovative and ultimately disastrous stock-splitting campaigns because the outcome of this struggle would have profound imperial consequences. The remainder of this chapter and the next one argue that the transformation of British imperial activity in Bengal and the politicization of East India House were deeply entwined with wider politico-ideological conflict over the evolution of Britain’s state and empire. By 1762, it was clear to informed metropolitan observers that the British presence in India had undergone substantial changes during the global war with France. The Company’s military power in Bengal had grown immensely in the aftermath of Plassey, and East India House was now forced to decide how best to use this power. What was to be the shape and character of the EIC’s presence in Bengal? In response to this question, three distinct political projects emerged between 1757 and 1762. The first of these projects—that of the commercially expansionist and increasingly radical Company servants and private traders—sought to harness the EIC’s political and military power in order to maximize Britain’s commercial exploitation of the Asian trading world. The second political project sought to fulfill the ambitions of Clive and the Company soldiers and servants closely allied to him, which entailed consolidating a tributary territorial empire devoted to collecting land revenue and to transferring it to the metropole. The third political project—that of Sulivan’s circle—sought to integrate the commercial privileges and limited territorial gains won in the Seven Years’ War into the EIC’s long-standing monopoly trading networks. From 1758 until 1763, the Sulivanite project was predominant. It was clear to all of the individuals and interests associated with these projects that any attempt to unravel the Sulivanite ascendancy— and thus to transform the British presence in Bengal—required the conquest of East India House.

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Global warfare with France had destabilized not only the Company’s position in Bengal but also the entire metropolitan sociopolitical order. The political establishment that developed between the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the consolidation of the Whig Supremacy was devoted to managing the capitalist transformation of British society. The leaders of the Whig establishment were committed to protecting private property at home while preserving the balance of power in Europe and maintaining a commercial and colonial empire that fostered domestic economic expansion. When peace prevailed in Europe for much of the 1720s and 1730s, the British government avoided the heavy costs of warfare and of protecting trade. Thus, the Whig establishment was able to limit the growth of the public debt and domestic taxation. With the expansion of European global rivalry during the later 1730s and 1740s, the Whig establishment faced a fundamental dilemma. Ministers could avoid major imperial conflicts with rival powers and prevent the growth of debt and taxation, but risk losing ground in overseas competition with Bourbon France and Spain. Alternatively, they could engage in imperial warfare to defend and extend commercial and colonial interests, thus leading to the growth of debt and taxation. Both of these options generated domestic political opposition. On the one hand, the failure to secure and extend British commerce and colonial settlements risked undermining economic expansion; on the other hand, the increasing debt and taxes that accompanied imperial warfare—most importantly, the regressive excise taxes on items of mass consumption—eroded the regime’s popularity.80 As we saw in the last chapter, the wide-ranging urbanization and commercialization that accompanied the consolidation of a capitalist political economy in Britain generated new social spaces and interests that were not directly represented in the essentially landed political order inherited from the seventeenth century. During the 1750s and 1760s, politicized elements among these emerging urban and commercial interests coalesced into a radical Whig project that sought to mold widespread discontent with the oligarchic order into a political reform movement. The initial expression of this radicalism was the tremendous political support for Pitt’s conduct of the Seven Years’ War between 1757 and 1761. In supporting Pitt’s campaign to permanently curb the power of Bourbon France and to secure and extend Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty,” these radicals sought to fulfill the seemingly contradictory goals of maximizing commercial and industrial expansion by establishing the kingdom’s overseas supremacy while limiting the growth of customs and excise taxes. Although

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the politicized elements of the urban middling sort were committed to aggressive commercial expansion overseas, they were nevertheless opposed to the increase in excise and customs taxes that often accompanied it. Radical Whigs like Beckford believed that commercial expansion could be aggressively pursued and domestic taxation could be limited because they were committed to a liberalizing political economy that emphasized the possibilities of infinite economic growth.81 If France was checked and Britain was able to consolidate an overseas imperial supremacy—if British trade and manufactures were permitted to flow unfettered throughout the world market—the resulting longterm commercial and industrial expansion would generate far greater tax revenue than any short-term fiscal levy. Pitt’s aggressive commercial imperialism was no mere personal whim. Rather, it was part of a political program that advanced the goals of many among the urban middling sort. When British ministers sought to bring the Seven Years’ War to a close—essentially, when they abandoned the Pittite imperial project—and to meet the interest payments due on the public debt through increases in excise taxes, they faced a dramatic increase in calls for the reform of the political system. Once the government abandoned Pitt’s war aims, the radical Whigs moved from the arena of foreign policy to the arena of domestic reform. For the first time since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the character of Britain’s political system was subject to widespread debate in the public sphere. With the development of the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government between 1688 and the 1720s, the political elite succeeded in establishing a capitalist political economy that underwrote a powerful fiscalmilitary state. The Whig establishment was thus able to stave off the return of royal absolutism, to stabilize the polity, and to prevent the emergence of a Bourbon universal monarchy. However, by the mid-eighteenth century, the very commercial society and imperial expansion that the Whig oligarchic state had secured and fostered gave rise to new and seemingly intractable political and fiscal difficulties. The immense growth of the public debt occasioned by the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War necessitated the creation of new and politically viable sources of revenue. British ministers were not able to raise the land tax beyond a certain point without losing support in the gentry-dominated House of Commons, nor could they default on payments due on public loans. The latter option would invariably threaten the state’s relationship with the City elite as well as the security of public credit. The government’s traditional recourse to increases in excise taxation faced new limits with the growth of domestic political radicalism in

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the late 1750s and early 1760s. Statesmen and officials feared that the growth of excise taxes would strengthen the calls for domestic political reform and intensify the threat posed to the oligarchic order. In the context of these difficulties and in response to the growth of political radicalism, what I term the “New Toryism” was born. The New Toryism was neither a revival of late seventeenth-century Toryism nor an attempt to consolidate an absolute monarchy, but rather an ideological project that sought to preserve the aristocratic-oligarchic character of the British political system and to solve the looming crisis of the public debt and of the wider fiscal-military state. Political figures such as George III, Bute, and Grenville, as well as members of the long-standing Whig establishment, were deeply concerned with the growth of domestic radicalism and with the difficulties posed by recurrent geopolitical warfare and the expansion of the public debt. The majority of the political figures whom I term “New Tories” considered themselves good Whigs strongly committed to upholding the Revolution Settlement of 1688 and the political order consolidated in the early eighteenth century. The New Toryism was a conservative-reactionary ideology that sought to preserve the liberties won in 1688 in the face of the perceived threats posed by an advanced commercial society and by the political radicalism emerging in the late 1750s and 1760s. During this period, the British ruling class—the landed magnates and their allies among the City elite—shifted its focus from the threat posed by the Crown to the threat posed from below. The New Toryism of the 1760s anticipated many of the concerns that dominated British high politics in the era of the French Revolution. If the kingdom’s high politics during the seventeenth and early eighteenth century can be characterized as the struggle over royal absolutism—Stuart and Bourbon—then the high politics of the era stretching from 1760 to 1832 can be characterized as the struggle over democratization at home and abroad. The East India Company’s position in Bengal underwent rapid transformations at precisely the same time as metropolitan politics entered a phase of profound instability. The Company elections of 1763 and 1764 were not internal corporate affairs. They were one more arena in which metropolitan political conflict was played out. Rather than mere personal contests between Clive and Sulivan, these elections were bound up with the major ideological struggles of the period. The emerging New Toryism and its imperial program played a crucial role in both election struggles. It is important to grasp the different role played by emergent New Toryism in each election. While the New Tory political project was initially aligned

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with Sulivan and the forces of status quo conservatism at East India House, it eventually shifted allegiance to Clive’s circle. This shift from support for Sulivan to support for Clive was linked with the evolution of metropolitan politics between 1762 and 1764. In the fall of 1762 and the winter of 1762– 1763, the primary concern of the New Tories was to bring the increasingly costly and politically radical war against France to a conclusion as quickly as possible and to consolidate the oligarchic order at home. After Pitt and Newcastle left the government, Bute and George III entered into peace negotiations with France. Seeking to align the EIC with the new political powers at Whitehall and Westminster, Sulivan and his allies worked closely with the Bute ministry and were willing to adjust the Company’s claims and demands to the needs of the peace process. It was in this context that Clive’s circle and the Rous-led faction within the Court of Directors entered into an alliance with more radical forces inside and outside of the EIC in order to challenge Sulivan’s supremacy. They were all bitterly opposed to the concessions made to the French East India Company in the preliminary articles of peace, and they viewed Sulivan as a weak-willed bureaucrat incapable of grasping Britain’s potential in the East. In contrast to the radicals, the New Tories initially aligned with Sulivan in order both to gain the Company’s acquiescence in the peace process and to win the support of a key player in the oligarchic order. During the second half of 1763, the New Tory political project entered into a second phase. Having brought the Seven Years’ War to a close with the signing of the Peace of Paris, the New Tories were now concerned with postwar finance and the looming crisis of the fiscal-military state, as well as with the dramatic expansion of the British Empire between 1758 and 1763. The government was forced to deal with these problems in the midst of the growth of domestic radicalism. The Bute ministry’s willingness to make concessions to Bourbon France in order to end the war fueled radical Whig criticisms and protests, which grew in magnitude and vociferousness. By far the most popular political figure of this period was Wilkes, the radical Whig propagandist whose North Briton newspaper vigorously attacked what it viewed as Bute’s betrayal of the Pittite war effort. Although the peace was signed in February 1763 and Bute left office two months later, the new ministry—led by Grenville, the Earl of Egremont, and the Earl of Halifax—faced an increasingly active and widespread radical Whiggism that challenged not only the government’s foreign relations but also the oligarchic political order. It was in this context that the Grenville ministry was forced to confront the administrative and fiscal difficulties entailed in the governance of a vastly

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expanded empire. As Fred Anderson observes, “when Halifax pondered how best to impose order on the empire in North America and elsewhere around the world, he could scarcely ignore the disorders of radical opposition evident in the streets of London.”82 Indeed, when the New Tories implemented the Atlantic imperial reforms between 1763 and 1765, the threat posed by radical Whiggism was foremost among their concerns. It ultimately led to the birth of the New Tory imperialism. Hoping to solve the problems of postwar finance and to quell discontent with the political status quo at home, the Grenville ministry sought to shift the revenue burden to the colonial periphery by enacting a series of reforms designed to lock the American colonies into an imperial hierarchy. This shift in emphasis in the New Tory political project— from seeking to end the war in 1762 and early 1763 to transforming the British Empire in an autocratic and tributary direction in later 1763 and 1764—was ultimately responsible for the shift in New Tory support from Sulivan’s circle to the Clivite forces. The Grenville ministry backed Clive in the EIC election of 1764 because the military commander’s territorial imperialism was viewed as better suited to the increasingly unstable conditions in Britain and its worldwide empire. Clive’s conquest of East India House, as well as his return to Bengal and eventual acquisition of the diwani, were part and parcel of the metropolitan political effort to alleviate the burdens of postwar finance and to stabilize the oligarchic order in the face of the challenges posed by radical Whiggism. The Grenville ministry viewed Sulivan’s imperial program in Bengal as the Eastern equivalent of the long-standing Whig policy of “Salutary Neglect” on the Atlantic. Just as Britain’s lax imperial administration in the American colonies had allowed smuggling to flourish and imperial revenue to decline, the Sulivan-Vansittart program had failed to stabilize the Company’s position in Bengal. Furthermore, Sulivan was unsuccessful in his efforts to control EIC servants and British private traders. From the New Tory perspective, these servants and traders posed as dire a challenge to British interests in Asia as reckless colonial American merchants and legislators did to British interests in the New World. By 1759, as we saw above, Clive had emerged as the most forceful metropolitan advocate for a program of autocratic and tributary imperialism in Bengal. The New Tories supported Clive’s return to India in 1764 in the belief that the military commander could stabilize the Company’s position, discipline EIC servants, and consolidate a territorial empire. Thus, the Company’s election contest in 1764 did not merely resolve a personal rivalry between Clive and Sulivan, but rather determined the shape of the British

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presence in India for years to come. These arguments call for a detailed examination of the elections of 1763 and 1764. By the summer of 1762, after the departure of Pitt and Newcastle from the wartime coalition government, Bute began laying the groundwork for bringing the Seven Years’ War to a conclusion as quickly as possible. For the new premier’s foreign policy to be a success, it was crucial that Britain and France tentatively commit to a set of peace articles that Parliament could approve later that year. The Duke of Bedford, Britain’s ambassador in Paris, and the Earl of Egremont, the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, worked overtime to settle a preliminary treaty. As part of their effort to formulate British demands regarding the East Indies, Egremont and his under-secretary, Robert Wood, spoke with the EIC’s Chairman and Deputy Chairman, Thomas Rous and John Dorrien, in June, and consulted with the Secret Committee appointed by the Court of Directors later that summer.83 Although Sulivan was not serving on the Court of Directors during this period, he was among those consulted by the government on the East Indian articles and was kept abreast of the Secret Committee’s negotiations by his close friend and ally Deputy Chairman Dorrien.84 The proposals for the East Indian articles made by the Company’s leaders in June 1762 and the proposals put forward by the Secret Committee that September—both of which called for the complete exclusion of the French East India Company from Bengal, the recognition of Muhammad Ali Khan as Nawab of the Carnatic and Salabat Jang as Subahdar of the Deccan, and the restoration of territorial possessions acquired before 1745—proved unacceptable to Egremont and Wood.85 The EIC’s representatives continued to insist on these provisions throughout the fall of 1762, and, as a result, relations between the Bute ministry and the Company soon soured. Egremont expressed his dissatisfaction with the EIC’s stance and insisted that its directors make greater concessions to the French, at least in the preliminary articles if not in the definitive peace treaty. The ministry viewed the Company’s demands as an impediment to the peace process, and tensions between the government and the corporation grew. In late October, Wood informed Deputy Chairman Dorrien that “he had orders from Lord Egremont to say, that—‘as this was the first time the government had taken upon themselves to make a peace for the East-India company, he expected they would have acted with candour and openness to him; but as he found they had only a mind to throw off a weight from their own shoulders and burthen his Lordship with it, he was determined not to submit to such

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usage, as it was no part of his duty to settle a peace for the company, but had only offered it in regard to them, and that the proposals first delivered were such as he should have been ashamed to offer to the French ministry.’ ”86 Egremont demanded more modest proposals from the EIC’s directors and threatened to abandon the corporation in the peace negotiations if they failed to comply. Within a few days, the Company’s leaders capitulated to the Bute ministry’s demands and agreed to preliminary peace articles that allowed the French Company to maintain a commercial (and unfortified) settlement in Bengal and that restored possessions acquired before the outbreak of armed conflict between the British and French East India companies in 1749. In addition, the preliminary agreement failed to recognize either Muhammad Ali Khan or Salabat Jang.87 The EIC’s negotiations with the government and its capitulation to Egremont’s demands produced bitter conflict within the confines of East India House. This conflict ultimately stemmed from Sulivan’s willingness to work closely with the Bute ministry and to adjust the Company’s demands to the needs of the peace process. As the EIC’s leading director in the late 1750s and early 1760s, Sulivan was responsible for fostering close connections with the government in order to secure the military support and the exclusive chartered privileges that the corporation relied on. In addition to maintaining a close working relationship with Pitt, Sulivan cultivated connections with Newcastle and the Whig establishment in pursuit of the Company’s agenda as well as his personal interests. When it became clear that the Whig establishment was losing power under George III, Sulivan shifted his allegiance to Bute. He did so by cultivating a close relationship with the Earl of Shelburne, a political client of Henry Fox and an ally of Bute.88 In March 1762, Sulivan ended his political connections with Newcastle and embraced Bute’s inner circle.89 Since Sulivan was the controlling influence in East India House and had powerful connections among the City elite, it is no surprise that he cultivated close relations with the ministry of the day. George III and Bute were seeking to re-establish the oligarchic order on the basis of personal loyalty to the monarch rather than to the Whig establishment—thus, they embraced the support offered by Sulivan.90 The EIC was a key component of the oligarchic order, and Bute’s circle was happy to obtain access to the corporation’s patronage resources. By allying with the Bute ministry, Sulivan sought to secure the Company’s traditional relationship with the oligarchic order. Beyond these political interests, Sulivan’s policy in India was well served by the Bute

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ministry’s efforts to end the Seven Years’ War. As we saw above, the SulivanVansittart program aimed to re-establish the EIC’s monopoly trade, to reduce political and military costs in Bengal by supporting Mir Qasim’s quasiindependent nawabi regime, and to limit the commercial expansionism of Company servants and British private traders. Sulivan’s circle was content with the limited privileges won by the EIC in the wake of Plassey and was deeply opposed to further political and military aggrandizement on the Indian subcontinent. The Bute ministry’s efforts to restore global peace in 1762 and 1763 were thus well received by the Sulivanite forces within East India House. In order to solidify his alliance with Bute and to bring the Company into compliance with the ministry’s needs in the peace process, Sulivan used his considerable influence to support the East Indian articles contained in the preliminary peace treaty. As early as the summer of 1762, Sulivan sought to conciliate the ministry by proposing “the giving back to the Indian powers the territories adjacent to Masulapatnam, and to make Masulapatnam a neutral city, where each company should have a factory; but neither should be allowed to erect fortifications.” The Secret Committee reported Sulivan’s proposals to the Court of Directors in early September and “the court, after mature debate, unanimously agreed (excepting the deputy chairman, and another gentleman), that it was not proper to give up to the country powers the revenues of Masulapatnam, amounting to 50,000 l. a year; and that therefore it should be no part of the plan to be laid before the government.”91 In the fall of 1762, Sulivan acted through his ally Dorrien to pressure the EIC’s directors to acquiesce to the ministry’s demands with regard to the preliminary East Indian articles. Sulivan continued to exert pressure despite the growing hostility of the Company’s directors and leading shareholders to the government’s proposals. “It became apparent that Sulivan and his supporters believed that the Company could gain by adopting a more conciliatory attitude towards the Government,” Sutherland observes, “while others, of whom Thomas Rous became the nominal leader, were determined to stand firm.”92 It is likely that Sulivan and the Bute ministry reached a private understanding that, if the EIC supported the clauses of the preliminary treaty during the critical period of late 1762, the government would work to secure the corporation’s long-standing aims when negotiating the definitive treaty with France.93 Nevertheless, the EIC’s Court of Directors was unaware of such an agreement and was angered by Sulivan’s support for the Bute ministry’s peace proposals. Believing his position at East India House to be unassailable, Sulivan continued to support

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the government, even going so far as to assist Shelburne with the ministry’s efforts to pass the preliminary peace treaty through the House of Commons in December 1762.94 Sulivan’s support for the Bute ministry ultimately weakened his position on Leadenhall Street. During the peace negotiations, a stridently anti-French faction coalesced within the Company, a faction that was increasingly prepared to go to great lengths in opposition both to the ministry’s peace proposals and to Sulivan’s control of the corporation. This faction included prominent EIC directors such as Rous and Henry Crabb Boulton. Despite their initial support for Sulivan’s supremacy within the Company, these directors and proprietors could not stomach his willingness to negotiate with the Bute ministry. Unaware of any possible existing deal between Sulivan and the government, this faction was shocked by his seeming willingness to betray the EIC’s longstanding war aims. Given everything that the Company had suffered during the Seven Years’ War, this faction was adamant that these aims be achieved. The Company’s financial position had grown increasingly precarious with each passing day of the war. With military costs outpacing profits, the EIC was forced to lower its dividend by 2 percent as the market price of its stock plummeted from £200 to approximately £135.95 As a result, a growing number of directors and proprietors felt that all of the Company’s political and military advantages in the East should be employed to increase commercial profits and shareholder dividends. Led by Company Chairman Rous, this faction was outraged by Sulivan’s willingness to capitulate to the ministry’s demands regarding the preliminary treaty. “That, notwithstanding what has been given out, by The Ministry, That the E. I. Company are satisfied, That Contrary of it, is true,” mused Newcastle in his private notes on the preliminary articles of peace. “Mr. Sullivan, & the Depy. Chairman Mr. Dorient, as Creatures of My Lord B., pretend to be so; but The Chairman Mr. Rouse, & The Company in general, are very far from being pleased.”96 Even though Sulivan was able to secure several of the EIC’s aims in the definitive peace treaty signed in February 1763, the Rous-led faction was bitterly opposed to his overweening influence and his willingness to risk the Company’s global interests.97 A major conflict was brewing within the meeting rooms of East India House. In addition to the growing opposition he faced from the EIC’s directors and proprietors, Sulivan also drew renewed criticism from Clive and his supporters. The military commander was infuriated not only by Sulivan’s far greater influence over the Company’s peace negotiations but also by the corporation’s failure to transform its political and military advantages in Bengal into

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a durable imperial hegemony.98 Clive refused to support the Bute ministry’s peace proposals for the East Indies and led his parliamentary supporters in opposition to the government. As C. H. Philips remarks, “Clive’s aim in securing influence in the Commons was not merely mercenary . . . he insisted to directors and ministers alike that the Company’s Service ought to be purified and strengthened, and that it was imperative to maintain strong military forces in India.” The military commander believed that “British supremacy in India was being sacrificed to Bute’s desire for peace.”99 The views of Clive’s circle were closely aligned with those of the hard-line, anti-French Rous faction.100 In fact, Clive’s peace proposals were far more ambitious than those put forward by the anti-Sulivan faction emerging within the EIC. In August 1762, Clive and Orme wrote a memorandum for Bute that advocated the pursuit of French-style imperialism in South Asia. They argued that Dupleix was the first leader to recognize the fact that the spread of European conflict beyond the Cape of Good Hope made it necessary for the British and French East India companies to supplement trade with territorial revenue, and thus to acquire political dominion on the Indian subcontinent. Although the French Company was the first to pursue this project, the outcome of the Seven Years’ War left the British EIC in a political and military position capable of carrying Dupleix’s strategy to its logical conclusion. “Our successes have been so great,” Clive and Orme contended, “that we have accomplished for ourselves and against the French exactly every thing that the French intended to accomplish to themselves and against us.”101 While Sulivan was deeply opposed to the political style and heavy costs associated with Dupleix’s territorial imperialism, Clive encouraged metropolitan ministers to embrace French-style aggrandizement in the East. The bitter rivalry between Clive and Sulivan was ultimately based on their vastly different ideological visions and imperial programs. During the peace negotiations with France, the Bute ministry—which was closely aligned with the Sulivanite forces at East India House while seeking to bring the war to a conclusion as soon as possible—paid little attention to Clive’s treaty proposals and imperial schemes.102 During the fall of 1762 and the winter of 1762–1763, the Clivites and the Rous-led faction of Company directors and proprietors entered into an alliance designed to undo Sulivan’s supremacy within the corporation. Clive privately expressed his support for Rous’s faction as early as November 1762.103 He initially feared that open opposition to Sulivan’s leadership might lead to the revocation of his jagir grant. However, Sulivan’s ability to stop the jagir payments was linked to his power within the confines of East India House.

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Thus, as opposition to Sulivan’s supremacy among the EIC’s directors and proprietors grew, Clive was increasingly willing to openly challenge his adversary’s leadership of the corporation. In December 1762, Clive voted against the preliminary peace treaty in the House of Commons along with members of the Rous-led Company faction.104 Rous and his supporters made it clear that they planned to directly challenge Sulivan’s leadership at the next election for the Court of Directors. In February 1763, Clive openly embraced the Rous faction and began to campaign on its behalf.105 Delighted with the Baron of Plassey’s support, Rous exposed the anonymous propaganda campaign that Sulivan was waging against Clive in London newspapers.106 From February to April 1763, the Clive-Rous alliance conducted a vigorous offensive against Sulivan in the City and among proprietors of East India stock. They were supported in this effort by three different forces: the parliamentary opposition, returned EIC servants, and radical Whig propagandists. Newcastle was now leading the parliamentary opposition to Bute’s ministry and was no longer aligned with Sulivan. Clive’s father was one of Newcastle’s political clients, and Clive himself established good relations with the Whig magnate during 1760 and 1761.107 The leader of the rump Whig establishment was eager to wrest control of the Company away from a Bute ally and thus happily embraced the Clive-Rous alliance. Leading members of Newcastle’s political faction—including the Marquis of Rockingham and the Duke of Portland—purchased India stock and voted in favor of Rous’s slate of directors.108 In addition to the parliamentary opposition, the Clive-Rous alliance was able to draw on the support of returned EIC servants and radical Whigs. While neither of these groups favored the creation of an autocratic and tributary territorial empire in Bengal, they both supported Clive’s challenge to Sulivan’s rule at East India House. As we saw before, Clive had emerged as a British military hero in the early years of the Seven Years’ War and was portrayed in the public sphere as a leading Patriot light. Although Clive advocated for creating a territorial empire in Bengal in numerous political memoranda, he chose to emphasize the anti-French and Patriot political character of his challenge to Sulivan’s authority in the public propaganda war waged between February and April 1763. By doing so, Clive was able to win the support of individuals and groups whose imperial interests and ideology differed vastly from his own. The Company servants and British private traders who returned home in the late 1750s and early 1760s were prepared to make common cause with the Clive-Rous alliance against Sulivan’s domination of East India House. Clive

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had closely aligned himself with these servants and traders during his first governorship of Bengal in the years immediately following Plassey. In addition to these long-standing connections, returned EIC servants and private traders were willing to support Clive because they were strongly opposed to the Sulivan-Vansittart program in Bengal. They were thus willing to go to great lengths to replace the Sulivanite directors with ones more amenable to their expansive commercial interests in the East. Metropolitan radicals with close links to private trading interests in Bengal, including the Scottish merchant George Dempster, voted with Clive in the House of Commons against the preliminary articles of peace in December 1762.109 The returned Company servants used their newfound wealth in support of the Clive-Rous alliance during the electoral campaign of 1763.110 Foremost among these former Bengal servants was the Johnstone family and their supporters.111 This faction consisted of three brothers—the dismissed Company servant and private trader John Johnstone, the influential EIC proprietor George Johnstone, and the lawyer (and, eventually, wealthy landed magnate) William Johnstone—and their various connections among the Company’s proprietors. The Johnstones were deeply opposed to Sulivan’s control of the corporation, and they were closely aligned with Clivite forces in the 1763 election struggle.112 Clive’s public role as a Patriot war hero and a vociferous critic of the Bute ministry’s peace negotiations with France also won him the support of several important radical Whigs. These radicals viewed Sulivan’s apparent treachery with regard to the EIC’s treaty proposals as one more instance of Bute’s betrayal of the Pittite war effort.113 Pitt and his allies vociferously denounced the peace process.114 Radical Whigs such as Beckford and Wilkes voted with Clive against the preliminary articles of peace in the House of Commons in December 1762.115 When denouncing the ministry’s negotiations, The Monitor reminded its readers that “while the French were in a condition to encounter our fleets, to interrupt our commerce and navigation, to dispute our property and to face our armies in North America . . . our enemies were deaf to the voice of peace: Pondicherry was an eternal bar to a reconciliation in the East: Louisbourgh and the forces of Canada fed their ambitions with hopes of conquering North America and its fishery: Martinico and Guadalupe were thought equal for any attempt upon our Sugar Islands: and the Havannah was provided to give laws to the windward navigation, to annoy our trade and to deprive us of the advantages of all our conquests in the Western Ocean.”116 Thus, according to radical Whiggism, British imperial activity in Asia was not a realm apart but rather a vital theater in the global struggle against French

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despotism. For the radicals, Sulivan’s efforts to placate the Bute ministry with regard to the East Indian peace articles were part and parcel of the British political establishment’s failure both to curb French power and to fulfill the revolutionary Whig aims of Pitt’s war effort. After the Seven Years’ War ended, the target of radical political criticism shifted from foreign policy to the domestic oligarchic order. “All seemed within [the City radicals’] grasp, but they failed, because they lacked political power,” J. H. Plumb observes, and “in defeat, they directed their attention to the institutions and methods of government.”117 Pamphleteers and propagandists scathingly criticized not only the Bute ministry but also the Court of George III and the country’s wider political elite. Foremost among these writers was Wilkes, whose North Briton newspaper “constituted a frontal assault on the politics of oligarchy, and thereby threatened the political status quo.”118 Wilkes’s radicalism appealed not only to the urban middling sort but also to London’s plebeian lower classes.119 It is not surprising that as part of his political struggle against Britain’s oligarchic order, Wilkes chose to enter the propaganda war over the Company’s 1763 election on the side of the Clive-Rous alliance. For Patriot and radical Whigs like Wilkes, Clive was not the advocate of an autocratic territorial empire in South Asia. Rather, he was a staunch ally in the struggle against the political establishment’s conciliatory foreign policy and oligarchic corruption. In April 1763, Wilkes wrote, but did not publish, a special edition of his newspaper entitled A North Briton Extraordinary. The radical Whig portrayed Rous’s conflict with Sulivan as nothing less than a major front in the greater political struggle being waged between popular Pittite forces and the Bute ministry: Whatever differences we may find between the present and the late minister, in the exertion of a determined and inflexible resolution, they certainly bear a near resemblance to each other. One distinction, indeed, ought to be made even here, that Mr. Pitt’s resolution arose from conscious virtue, and the Earl of Bute’s from conscious power; but, to the credit of the latter we must observe, that he hath shewn as inflexible a spirit in supporting every measure which was wrong, as the former could possibly maintain in promoting what was right . . . [n]umberless instances might be produced to justify this remark; but no one is more proper . . . than the treatment which our East-India Company in general, and Mr. Rous, a very worthy member of it in

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particular, have met with. However triflingly this affair may have been talked of, it is really of very serious and general consequence. At this time especially, when their election is drawing nigh, it is highly necessary that a clear and full account of that affair, with the real merits of the case, should be laid before the public.120 The provocateur’s account of the peace negotiations portrayed Rous as struggling to defend Britain’s commercial interests in the face of the Bute ministry’s duplicity and heavy-handedness. For Wilkes, the Clive-Rous alliance’s effort to capture East India House was one of several radical challenges being posed to the oligarchic order throughout Britain and its empire. In their efforts to undo Sulivan’s supremacy, Clive and Rous were supported not only by a considerable number of proprietors and directors but also by Newcastle’s parliamentary opposition and by returned EIC servants and private traders, as well as by a boisterous public sphere filled with radical Whig voices. Clive rallied these forces together with propaganda that focused on Sulivan’s relationship to Bute and on the Company’s failure to achieve all of its aims in the definitive peace treaty.121 The military commander poured £100,000 of his own money into the stock-splitting campaign that took place between February and April 1763.122 Acting through intermediaries in the London firm of Cliffe, Walpole, and Clarke, returned EIC servants and Rous’s supporters commenced a stock-splitting venture in November 1762. They purchased £26,500 of East India stock and created fifty-three votes in the Court of Proprietors in the early months of 1763.123 By the time the election was held in April, the Clive-Rous alliance had created 220 new votes.124 The campaign undertaken by Clive’s coalition was impressive, and, in March 1763, they were able to win an important vote in the Court of Proprietors exonerating Rous’s conduct during the peace negotiations.125 Despite the Clive-Rous alliance’s considerable support within East India House as well as among the parliamentary opposition and in the public sphere, Sulivan ultimately defeated it in the Company election of 1763. Ten positions on the corporation’s Court of Directors were contested.126 The Sulivanite candidates won each spot by a safe margin.127 Sulivan and his allies among the directors had been the dominant force in the EIC since 1758, and they had built up many valuable connections within the corporation and among London’s business elite. Their ties to various banking and shipping interests with long-standing connections to the Company proved very useful in the face of the challenge posed by the Clive-Rous alliance.128 One Clivite remarked that

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“we have been cheated out of the election by the clerks of India House.”129 In addition to drawing on his connections among business interests closely associated with the Company, Sulivan also ran a sizeable stock-splitting campaign. The most important factor in the victory of Sulivan’s circle over the CliveRous alliance was the Bute ministry’s support.130 Shelburne assisted Sulivan in planning his electoral campaign, and Henry Fox used the financial resources of the Pay Office to purchase £19,000 of India stock and to create thirty-eight votes.131 The government was responsible for 100 of the 160 new votes created for Sulivan during the election struggle of 1763.132 Even more important than the Bute ministry’s creation of new votes was the extensive lobbying campaign it ran among London’s elite merchants and financiers on Sulivan’s behalf. Ministers and officials brought pressure to bear on the Company’s leading proprietors and were able to secure a majority of their votes for Sulivan.133 The City elite relied on their privileged access to the state and were thus prepared to back Sulivan in order to curry favor with Bute and George III. Although Clive and Rous managed to assemble a respectable coalition, their forces stood little chance in the face of the Bute ministry’s efforts. Despite the fact that the EIC’s election contest took place after the final signing of the Treaty of Paris in February 1763, the Bute ministry viewed it as an extension both of the conflicts surrounding the peace negotiations and of the government’s efforts to stabilize the postwar political order. Hence, the ministry was prepared to go to great lengths in support of Sulivan’s supremacy in the Company. Clive’s humiliating defeat in the corporation’s 1763 election made one thing clear to him: East India House could only be conquered with ministerial support.134 Sulivan not only defeated the greatest challenge to his leadership since he took control of the Company in 1758 but also managed to rally much of the oligarchic order behind his supremacy. The new centers of political power— that is, the circles surrounding Bute and George III—were fully committed to Sulivan’s control of the EIC. Having removed from office all the allies of Newcastle and the Whig establishment during the “Slaughter of the Pelhamite Innocents” in December 1762, Bute and George III were well on the way to consolidating the oligarchic order on a new basis. Thus, when the Bute ministry threw its support behind Sulivan, it brought with it the government’s patronage machine as well as the elite merchants and financiers who were closely connected to the state. The Clive-Rous alliance and their supporters among the returned Company servants were largely defeated by the oligarchic order in the City and the state.

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With his sweeping victory in the EIC election held on April 13, 1763, Sulivan stood as the uncontested master of East India House. Marking his ascendancy, the Sulivanite Court of Directors voted on April 27 to stop payment on Clive’s jagir grant.135 The Baron of Plassey was thus deprived of one of the key sources of his metropolitan power and influence. Signaling the Company’s support for the political project of Bute and George III, the directors published an address praising the peace settlement with France.136 As we discussed previously, Sulivan assisted with the peace negotiations in order to win the ministry’s support for the EIC and his leadership of it. Beyond this, Bute and Sulivan were both committed to bringing the war to a conclusion so that they could reassert control over their respective institutions in the face of the challenges posed by commercially expansionist and politically radical forces. While Bute’s policies sought to consolidate the oligarchic order and to contain the radical Whigs, the Sulivan-Vansittart program in Bengal sought to restore the EIC’s monopolistic trade and to block the ambitions of Company servants and British private traders. Following his decisive victory in the Company’s election, Sulivan was confident that he would be able to reestablish the EIC’s global trading empire on the basis of the commercial privileges and limited territorial revenue gained in Bengal during the Seven Years’ War. The ruler of Leadenhall Street believed that the Company would soon return to its pre-war level of commercial profitability and to its long-established position within the oligarchic order.

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part two

he Making of the Second British Empire

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chapter 4 ·~·

live’s Conquest of East India House and the Company’s Conquest of Bengal

In the aftermath of his 1763 East India Company election defeat, Robert Clive’s future with regard to British affairs in South Asia was uncertain at best. He attempted to preserve as much influence as possible within East India House and enlisted the Duke of Newcastle’s support in an effort to keep large amounts of India stock in the hands of his allies.1 Although Clive sought to preserve his connections with EIC directors and proprietors, he was most immediately concerned with the restoration of his jagir grant. While he maintained close political ties with Newcastle’s circle, they were now in the parliamentary opposition and stood little chance of mounting a successful effort to reinstate the jagir.2 Clive’s supporters failed to mount a substantial challenge to the Company’s revocation of his jagir throughout the spring and summer of 1763. Fearing that Laurence Sulivan’s supremacy at East India House was impregnable, and that his jagir grant was on the verge of being lost forever, Clive approached Prime Minister George Grenville in the fall of 1763 in an effort to win support for his cause. Grenville, who took over the reins of power along with the Earl of Egremont and the Earl of Halifax upon Bute’s resignation in April 1763 and became the sole leader of the ministry in August, agreed to attempt to restore the jagir by conducting negotiations between Clive and the EIC.3 In November, Clive informed Grenville that if “the East India Company shall pay to me or my Heirs annually for twelve or ten Years at least, the Amount of what they shall receive from my Jaggeer provided that 131

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they hold those Lands of which this Jaggeer a Quit Rent,” then he “never [would] give any Opposition to the present or any other Court of Directors and never [would] interfere in any of their Affairs directly or indirectly.”4 This offer represented a major concession on Clive’s part. It appeared that his long struggle to determine the shape of the British presence in India—that is, his effort to consolidate a tributary territorial empire in Bengal—was finally at an end. However, within seven months of writing this letter to Grenville, Clive had managed not only to undo Sulivan’s supremacy at East India House but also to be returned to Bengal with extraordinary civilian and military powers. This dramatic reversal of fortune was not the result of Clive’s fortitude but rather of the convergence of four major sociopolitical developments in late 1763 and early 1764. Taken together, these four developments—metropolitan, pan-imperial, and South Asian in scope—seemed to portend the unraveling of Britain’s political order and imperial state. It was in this context that Grenville shifted the government’s support from the Sulivanites to Clive. The Baron of Plassey emerged as the military guarantor of the British Empire in the face of the anarchic, destabilizing forces that threatened it on all sides. The first of these major developments entailed postwar finance and the government’s efforts to stabilize public credit and the fiscal-military state. As we saw in chapter 2, the national debt nearly doubled to £130 million during the Seven Years’ War, and the state’s fiscal capacities were stretched to their limits. In 1763, the annual interest accumulating on the debt stood at approximately £4.4 million, and the total public revenue of £9.8 million was insufficient to meet the £14.2 million needed for government expenditure.5 To make matters worse, with the end of the Seven Years’ War and the subsequent drop in commodity prices, a financial crisis that began in Amsterdam spread out across the capital markets of Europe, resulting in a massive credit squeeze. Throughout the remainder of 1763 and early 1764, the Grenville ministry sought desperately to reorganize government finance. The ministry worked closely with the Bank of England and London’s business elite to secure public credit, deploying key agents such as Charles Jenkinson, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Joseph Salvador, a prominent City financier.6 “When I had last the pleasure of seeing you I explained my sentiments concerning what was still wanting by means of Supply this year to reestablish our sinking credit & gain the moneys wanted by the Government,” Salvador informed Jenkinson in February 1764. “I think the last done, if the first view is not obtained, much will still be wanting to the great work & that a reestablishment of publick

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Credit will be as essential to the Glory of the Ministry as having gone successfully thro the Supply.”7 Although the Grenville ministry was concerned about the London credit market in general during 1763 and early 1764, it was particularly worried about the East India Company’s position within it.8 The Company relied on short-term loans drawn in London to finance its annual commercial operations. As the EIC played an important role in the London stock market and the fiscal-military state, its failure would send ripples throughout the oligarchic order. In October and November 1763, the ministry undertook steps to stabilize the Company’s finances, including securing a large loan from the Bank of England.9 Thus, in late 1763 and early 1764, the Grenville ministry focused on solving the problems of postwar finance and public credit in general and on buttressing the EIC’s position in particular. The second major development that dominated metropolitan politics in late 1763 and early 1764 was the growth of radicalism. As we saw in chapter 2, a radical Whig politics that strongly supported the Pittite war effort developed among the urban middling sort during the late 1750s and early 1760s. Amid the peace negotiations of 1762, the Bute ministry was disturbed by the extent and vigor of radical opposition to its policies. Tobias Smollett’s The Briton, a pro-government newspaper advocating the pursuit of peace with France, viewed the radical Whigs in London and the provincial urban centers as a menacing and potentially revolutionary rabble: True it is, the malcontents of our days have not yet proceeded to open insurrection; perhaps their courage is not sufficiently roused, nor their cause sufficiently strengthened for such an attempt. . . . They have taken public exceptions to the proceedings of government, and boldly intrenched upon the King’s prerogative. . . . As these Reformers have, upon all occasions, assumed the title of free-born Englishmen, and denominated themselves the good people of England; it will not be amiss to enquire who the individuals are that compose this respectable community. . . . They reverence no King: they submit to no law: they belong to no parish. Have they a right to give their voice in any sort of election, or their advice in any assembly of people? They have no such right established by law; and therefore they deduce a right from nature, inconsistent with all law, incompatible with every form of government. They consist of that class which our neighbours distinguish by the name of Canaille, forlorn Grubs and Garetteers, desperate gamblers,

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tradesmen thrice bankrupt, prentices to journeymen, understrappers to porters, hungry pettifoggers, bailiffs-followers, discarded draymen, hostlers out of place, and felons returned from transportation. These are the people who proclaim themselves free-born Englishmen, and, transported with a laudable spirit of patriotism, insist upon having a spoke in the wheel of government; who distribute infamy among the great; calumniate their S——n, asperse his family; condemn his ministers, criticize his conduct, and publicly declaim upon politics, in coffee-houses, ale-houses, in cellars, stalls, in prisons, and the public streets.10 Political radicalism did not come to an end with the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the radical Whig critique of British foreign policy transformed into a challenge to the oligarchic sociopolitical order. Wilkes’s polemical assault on the political establishment did not cease with Bute’s resignation, but rather became more vociferous. The forty-fifth issue of his North Briton denounced George III’s speech before Parliament in April 1763 in harsh terms. While Wilkes’s opposition to the Peace of Paris was nothing new, the stridency of his latest critique was deeply troubling to government ministers and officials.11 The Grenville ministry’s legal prosecution of Wilkes for libel—including both the government’s use of general warrants and the dismissal of the charges against the radical scribbler on the basis of his parliamentary immunity—only managed to fan the flames of political radicalism. In the spring and summer of 1763, cries of “Wilkes and Liberty” spread throughout the country; the ministry found it difficult to counter radical Whiggism.12 The growth of political radicalism and the problems of postwar finance tended to reinforce one another. While the Grenville ministry was dealing with the Wilkes affair, they also faced widespread opposition to the excise tax on cider passed by the Bute ministry. The campaign against the tax drew support not only from the cider-producing West Country but also from increasingly radicalized urban centers such as Bristol and London.13 Radical Whig politicians and their supporters throughout the population bitterly denounced the collection of burdensome taxes by an oligarchic government that failed to pursue their foreign policy objectives. The difficulties posed by Wilkesite protest and by resistance to the cider tax dominated the political agenda in early 1764. “I am in haste that all your business be put in form,” Salvador informed Jenkinson in January. “I know if not done before Parliament meets

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we shall be diverted with Mr. Wilkes & Cyder Bills &ca without end which will compleat the ruin of any projects for the Reduction of Stocks for God sake let a hand be had to that.”14 Fearing that other taxes would be subjected to extensive criticism and protest if he gave way, Grenville adamantly refused to repeal the excise on cider.15 The ministry was forced to hold firm in the face of political radicalism and resistance to taxation, as the failure to increase public revenue or to enforce its collection would invariably imperil government credit, the fiscal-military state, and the oligarchic order. In addition to the difficulties posed by postwar finance and domestic radicalism in 1763 and early 1764, the Grenville ministry was confronted with major problems of imperial rule in British North America. Smuggling flourished among the American colonies in the first half of the eighteenth century. As we saw in chapter 1, the Whig establishment led successively by Robert Walpole, Henry Pelham, and Newcastle had pursued a policy of Salutary Neglect on the British Atlantic. They chose not to enforce the laws of trade and navigation in the hope that the profits generated by illegal American trade would allow the colonists to purchase ever-increasing amounts of British manufactures. By the mid-eighteenth century, however, royal officials in the colonies were concerned with the deleterious effects of illicit traffic. In 1742, the governor of Massachusetts informed metropolitan ministers that “the Illicit Trade, which appears to have been carried on in this Province and some of the neighboring Colonies (within this last year more especially) is such as without the speedy Interposition of the Parliament to stop it, must be highly destructive . . . and finally weakening the Dependence which the British Northern Colonies ought to have upon their Mother Country.”16 These activities continued throughout the Seven Years’ War; imperial officials and military commanders regularly reported the vast extent of colonial smuggling to their superiors in London.17 By the late 1750s, the Commissioners of the Customs and the Board of Trade were gathering evidence on illegal American trade and drawing up plans for curbing it.18 Both metropolitan and imperial officials believed that the spread of illegal trade before and during the Seven Years’ War was leading to the growth of lawlessness throughout the colonies. Peter Oliver, the chief justice of the Superior Court in Massachusetts, remarked retrospectively that “the Inhabitants of the Massachusetts bay were notorious in the smuggling Business, from the Capital Merchant down to the meanest Mechanick.” He was convinced that “so pernicious is this illicit Trade, that it not only wrongs the Society of those Dues which are the Resources for its Support, & injures the fair Dealer by

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lessening his Abilities to aid Society & maintain his private Family, but it naturally tends to the Destruction of all moral Sense . . . it may safely be asserted, that a thorough Adept in this most baleful Science is ever ready to commit, not only the lesser Crimes, but is fit for Stratagems, Treasons & Murder.”19 Such fears of widespread lawlessness and insubordination seemed to be confirmed by the events of the Seven Years’ War. Throughout the conflict, British military commanders and royal governors were forced to deal with recalcitrant colonial legislatures that sought to defend their political autonomy. By the early 1760s, many metropolitan observers were convinced that British imperial authority in North America was extremely weak.20 In response to these concerns, Grenville passed a series of Atlantic imperial reforms through Parliament. The ministry hoped to check the growth of illegal trade, to maintain a peacetime standing army in North America, and to increase the collection of colonial revenue. These were the first steps in a wide-ranging effort to fundamentally transform Britain’s Atlantic empire. Throughout late 1763 and early 1764, there were three major issues confronting the Grenville ministry: the reorganization of postwar finance, the growth of domestic radicalism, and the weakness of imperial authority and regulation in North America. These issues were deeply intertwined and impossible to separate in either theory or practice. While the government was in dire need of new and politically viable sources of revenue in order to stabilize public credit and the fiscal-military state, ministers and officials were aware that political radicalism and popular discontent placed limits on their ability to raise domestic taxation. Furthermore, these same ministers and officials were deeply concerned with the vast extent of illegal trade in the colonies and the consequent loss of imperial revenue. It is not surprising that the Grenville ministry regularly discussed issues such as colonial smuggling and the Wilkes affair in the very same sessions and proceedings.21 Thus, when Clive approached Grenville concerning the restoration of his jagir grant in the fall of 1763, the prime minister was in the midst of grappling with a profound political-economic crisis. In fact, many metropolitan ministers and officials believed that Britain and its empire were on the verge of collapse. The initial discussions between Grenville and Clive focused on the former’s efforts to negotiate with the East India Company’s Court of Directors in order to restore the jagir grant. Seeking Clive’s parliamentary support, Grenville readily agreed to take up his cause with the corporation.22 Sulivan and the directors contended that Clive’s jagir was not legitimate because the Mughal

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Emperor had not confirmed it. Rebutting this claim, Clive informed Grenville that “the E. I. Company have acquired all their Possessions by force of Arms & must maintain them by force of Arms; By supporting one Nabob, against another in the Carnatick, by deposing two Nabobs and setting up a third in Bengal without the Knowledge or Consent of the Mogul they have acquired in different parts of India a Revenue of near one Million Sterling £ unconfirmed to this day by the Great Mogul . . . I could write Volumes of the Insufficiency and Inability of the Mogul ever to call the Company to an Account.”23 Clive consistently emphasized the fundamental military character of the EIC’s position in Bengal. Grenville spoke directly with Sulivan and John Dorrien regarding the jagir in December 1763, and Clive informed his secretary John Walsh that “the Directors cannot refuse [Grenville] without greatly displeasing.”24 The prime minister was indeed upset with the Company’s response to his overtures. The Sulivan-dominated Court of Directors, supremely confident that their leader’s position within East India House was unassailable, voted unanimously on December 14 to reject the proposed terms for the restoration of Clive’s jagir.25 Clive’s association with Grenville deepened and strengthened over the next weeks and months while relations between the Company’s directors and the ministry worsened. Although the Grenville administration worked to secure the EIC’s credit in the fall of 1763—as a pillar of the oligarchic order, the corporation’s financial stability was a matter of great importance for the government— the prime minister’s circle was not closely aligned with the Company’s leadership. Sulivan’s relationship with the ministry deteriorated in the fall and winter of 1763 after his political patron, the Earl of Shelburne, left office. Shelburne quickly became a close ally of William Pitt, who stridently criticized the Grenville ministry’s policies during the fall of 1763.26 In November, Pitt and his allies defended Wilkes in Parliament against the ministry’s efforts to have the fortyfifth issue of The North Briton declared a seditious libel and to override Wilkes’s parliamentary immunity.27 Grenville was infuriated by Shelburne’s support for Wilkes in these debates. Since Sulivan remained a close political ally of Shelburne, the prime minister knew that he could not rely on the dictator of Leadenhall Street’s support. Thus, even before the Company’s directors made the decision to reject the proposal for Clive’s jagir, relations between Grenville and Sulivan were souring.28 From November 1763 to February 1764, Clive threw the full weight of his parliamentary connections behind the Grenville ministry in its efforts to deal with the problems of postwar finance, domestic radicalism, and British imperial

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authority in North America. Pitt and Newcastle were outraged at Clive’s support for the prime minister’s policies. In December 1763, Clive informed Grenville that he was “discoutenancd & hated by the Party I have abandoned, as much as I was before respected and esteem’d,” and that his “poor Services such as they are shall be dedicated for the rest of my days to the King, & my Obligations to You always acknowledged whether in or out of Power.”29 Clive became a loyal ally of Grenville. In February 1764, the Baron of Plassey’s political connections supported the Grenville ministry’s position in the parliamentary debates concerning the use of general warrants.30 In the midst of the ministry’s efforts to grapple with the political-economic crisis afflicting Britain and its empire, the alliance between Grenville and Clive deepened. While this alliance was being forged in late 1763 and early 1764, a fourth major development came to a head. Between December and February, the British public sphere was flooded with news of the outbreak of war in Bengal. The EIC was once again threatened with extinction in northeastern India. Thus, the Grenville ministry was forced to deal with yet another major challenge: the destabilization of the Company and its global trading empire. Taking advantage of this crisis in the corporation’s affairs, the Clivites launched another assault on Sulivan’s supremacy at East India House. In February and March 1764, Clive renewed his alliance with Thomas Rous and mobilized forces inside and outside of the EIC in order to contest the coming election to the corporation’s Court of Directors. Although Clive’s support for Grenville’s New Tory politics lost him the backing of radical Whigs who had rallied to his cause in the Company election of 1763, returned EIC servants and private traders once again collaborated with the Clive-Rous alliance in its opposition to the Sulivanites. The crucial difference in the electoral contest of 1764 was the role played by the government. The Grenville ministry brought the full weight of its power and influence to bear, shifting the balance of forces in Clive’s favor. The Baron of Plassey was portrayed during the electoral contest as the military guarantor of the Company’s position in Bengal. Grenville’s circle mobilized the oligarchic order in the City and the state in support of Clive’s long-standing imperial project. By May 1764, the Clive-Rous alliance was in control of East India House and the “heaven-born general” was preparing to return to Bengal with extraordinary civilian and military powers. He subsequently militarized the EIC’s position in Bengal and consolidated a tributary and autocratic territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent. Before exploring the ultimate reasons behind the Grenville ministry’s support for Clive’s conquest of East India House and return to Bengal—that

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is, the emergence and development of the New Toryism and its imperial implications—it is necessary to examine the Company’s electoral contest of 1764 and the government’s intervention therein in greater detail.31 The outbreak of war in Bengal in 1763 represented the unraveling of the Sulivan-Vansittart program in the face of the intractable conflicts between Mir Qasim’s independent nawabi regime and the private trading interests of EIC servants. As we saw in the previous chapter, the penetration of Bengal’s economy by British private trade and the abuse of the Company’s dastaks undermined Calcutta’s relations with the nawabi regime. Although Vansittart sought to contain British private trade within definite limits, his efforts were undone in 1763.32 The political conflict between the divergent interests of EIC servants and the nawabi regime spiraled out of control and led to open warfare. Mir Qasim entered into a military alliance with the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and the Nawab of Oudh, Shuja-ud-daula, in order to reduce British power in Bengal. When news of this political conflict (and, eventually, of a full-scale war between Calcutta and the Nawab) reached the metropole, it caused panic in East India House, among the political elite, and throughout the public sphere. Sulivan later recounted the events that both undid the Sulivan-Vansittart program in Bengal and provided an opening for the Clivites in the metropole: The Governour [Vansittart] alarmed at the Consequences that might flow from such amazing behaviour [the expansion of duty-free British private trade throughout Bengal] remonstrated in the strongest Terms but his Remonstrances were in vain, and thus far reached the Company by our last Ships—who deliberating maturely upon the dangers that threatened their Affairs in Bengall, thro’ the Conduct of a few daring Men; resolvd to dismiss from their Service Messr. Amyat Carnac Johnstone & Hay also suspending others; but alas three days after this determination arrives the Lapwing who brings the melancholly News that all those Evils we meant to check have befallen the Company, For these Men with others in opposition to Govr: Vansittart cruelly insisted that the Nabob Cossim Ally should allow all English private Trade to be Duty free—the Nabob announced that if such was their Resolution and he must be deprived of his revenues, it was but just his own Subjects should share with them in the Advantages. He therefore had determined to charge no Dutys to any Man whatever; If You presume to take such measures replys the Council it will bring on a Rupture;

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because Your Subjects will then be upon a footing with the English; the Nabob Cossim Ally stung with this usage declard he would not submit to such contemptuous Treatment.33 Mir Qasim and the Company subsequently engaged in an armed conflict that did not come to an end until the British victory at the Battle of Buxar in October 1764. News that EIC servants were acting in direct violation of Vansittart’s authority inundated London in January 1764. While the directors were busy formulating the Company’s response to this development, news of the restoration of Mir Jafar as Nawab of Bengal and of the outbreak of war reached London on February 9, 1764.34 The capital shuddered upon learning that Mir Qasim was leading an alliance of indigenous powers in an effort to expel the British trading company from northeastern India. This development, as one contemporary chronicler averred, “occasioned an incredible ferment in London, among all who had any concern with that company.”35 The panic that spread among the owners of India stock was fertile ground for the Clivites and their allies in the government; they quickly capitalized on the events in Bengal and emphasized the weaknesses entailed in the EIC’s policy of leaving political and military power in the hands of the nawabi regime. They formulated a plan to undo Sulivan’s supremacy at East India House and to return Clive to Bengal. The Grenville ministry’s intervention in the Company’s affairs in 1764 was even more powerful and direct than the government’s role in the electoral contest of 1763. As Lucy Sutherland remarks, “the Treasury played a far more active part in organizing the opposition in the Company, in planning its policy, and in choosing those to be put forward as directors than it had [in 1763].”36 Grenville relied on his chief agents in the City—Jenkinson and Salvador—to coordinate the government’s intervention. From his position in the Treasury Jenkinson worked with Salvador to rally elite merchants and financiers with connections to the ministry around Clive’s cause. They sought to win support among EIC proprietors for the plan “of Getting Lord Clive to go to Bengal & Mr. Amyand to head the direction.”37 Although in the event the merchant and MP George Amyand was not able to stand for the Company’s leadership, Salvador continued to canvass leading London figures—such as the Lombard Street banker Robert Glover and the Governor of the Bank of England, Robert Marsh—on Clive’s behalf.38 While Grenville’s agents encountered difficulties in settling on candidates for the EIC’s direction, they nevertheless won a significant amount of support

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among the corporation’s proprietors and the City’s elite merchants and financiers.39 Grenville, Jenkinson, Salvador, and Clive eventually gathered together a slate of candidates to stand for election to the Court of Directors, with Rous and Henry Crabb Boulton heading the list.40 Forming a list of candidates to stand against Sulivan and his allies in the Company’s April election was only one part of the plan forged by the Grenville ministry and the Clivites for the conquest of Leadenhall Street and the transformation of the corporation’s imperial policy in India. As Sutherland argues, this plan “involved action in three stages; first, the raising of the suggestion in the General Court of 12 March that Clive should go back to Bengal with supreme military and civil power . . . [n]ext, a contest at the election of directors in April, at which not only should all forces be mobilized but the proprietors should be made to realize that Clive’s acceptance of office depended on the result; and finally, after the election, the settling of terms on the jagir with, it was hoped, a friendly Court of Directors as well as a favourable General Court.”41 Although the Grenville-Clive alliance faced considerable obstacles to implementing this plan, it was ultimately successful. During February and March 1764, the Grenville-Clive alliance and the Sulivanites waged war in a series of EIC General Court sessions—that is, meetings of the corporation’s proprietors—and in the public sphere. When news arrived in London of the turmoil in the Company’s Calcutta government and of the outbreak of hostilities with Mir Qasim, both sides published pamphlets and newspaper accounts that sought to interpret these events for the reading public and, ultimately, to defend or criticize the EIC’s leadership.42 Although the returned EIC servants did not rally around Clive in the 1764 election as enthusiastically as they had in the previous contest, influential Company factions with links to British private trading interests in Bengal remained committed to overthrowing Sulivan’s leadership.43 Chief among them was the Johnstone family and their associates, who were long-standing critics of the Sulivan-Vansittart program. They were infuriated by Sulivan’s decision in January to dismiss John Johnstone and his allies from the Calcutta council, and they supported the Clivites in the General Court sessions as well as in the public propaganda campaign conducted between February and early April.44 In doing so, they hoped to gain the power necessary to reinstate John Johnstone and other dismissed Company servants, thus preventing the restoration of the Sulivan-Vansittart program in Bengal. This faction aimed to remove all obstacles to the full commercial exploitation of northeastern India by EIC servants and British private traders.45

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Although the Grenville-Clive alliance needed the support of the Johnstones and their allies in the struggle against Sulivan, it was ultimately committed to pursuing a very different imperial project. The Clivites and their ministerial backers emphasized the need for a strong British political and military presence in Bengal. In speeches before sessions of the General Court and in the public propaganda battle, the Clivites drew attention to the measures put in place during their leader’s governorship of Bengal between 1757 and 1759. They lauded the policies he implemented in order to consolidate a durable British political and military supremacy in northeastern India. In his much circulated A Letter to the Proprietors of the East India Stock, Clive called attention to all of the advantages won by the Company as the result of Plassey and his subsequent governorship. “Let the Proprietors paint to themselves what I must have suffered, under such a complication of distressed circumstances; and let the Directors remember that under all these disadvantages, I took upon me to march, and the English arms alone gained the battle of Plassey,” Clive remarked. He contended that “by this event, and by the large sums of money paid into their cash, for bills, the Company were enabled to supply every exigence, and answer the demands of every settlement in India, during the whole course of the war.” Clive concluded his pamphlet with an appeal to the Court of Directors “to declare whether they think without the battle of Plassey, and its consequences, the East-India Company would have been at this time existing?”46 The Clivites and their supporters in the ministry contended that only a strong military governor could secure the EIC’s position in Bengal. It could not be left to the backroom-dealing and hopelessly bureaucratic Sulivan. With these arguments, the Grenville-Clive alliance grounded the narrative of Plassey in a conservative Patriot and New Tory ideology that viewed political authoritarianism, military might, and the reinvigoration of social hierarchies as necessary measures for staving off the various crises that afflicted Britain and its empire. The alliance’s ideological position differed considerably from that of radical Patriots. Informed by these views and sentiments, the Grenville-Clive alliance aimed to undo Sulivan’s supremacy and to elect Rous to head the Court of Directors. Two committed Clivites, the banker Francis Gosling and the former Company servant Luke Scrafton, took the lead and proposed that a General Court be held to discuss the crisis in the EIC’s affairs.47 The Court met for three days, beginning on February 27, and heatedly discussed and debated the Company’s situation in Bengal as well as the directors’ decision to put John Spencer in charge of Calcutta. These debates were well attended by

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shareholders and were widely reported in the popular press.48 While Sulivan and his allies won this initial contest, the Clivites called for another General Court to be held on March 12. With each passing day, the Grenville-Clive alliance gained more votes by winning over EIC proprietors and splitting stock. In pursuit of their plan to conquer East India House and to transform the Company’s position on the subcontinent, pro-Clive propagandists inundated the popular press with calls for the military hero to be returned to Calcutta as governor with extraordinary powers. On March 7, one of these advocates set forth the GrenvilleClive alliance’s objectives with distinctly conservative Patriot and New Tory overtones: “There is but one man in the world, who, by his ability, integrity, and what is of mighty weight with those people, NAME, can set you to rights, and that person is Lord Clive . . . [he] shall be sent out Governor to Bengal, to be uncontroulable in military and political matters, but to have a council to assist him in the Company’s commercial affairs . . . Lord Clive, as I said before, is the only man in the world who can help you at this juncture; and I imagine his Lordship would be glad to reap some benefit from his Jaghier, the right of which the Company have thought proper to contest [emphasis mine].”49 According to his proponents, Clive should be returned to Bengal with the autocratic powers necessary to permanently stabilize the EIC’s position in India. It comes as no surprise, then, that radical Whigs— and, eventually, the faction of commercially expansionist returned Company servants and private traders—became deeply skeptical of Clive’s political purposes and ideological commitments. The Grenville-Clive alliance won its first major victory at the General Court on March 12. In the days leading up to this meeting, Clive’s minions distributed news and advice throughout the coffeehouses of the capital portraying the Company’s leadership in London and Calcutta as hopelessly weak and ineffective. Their media campaign was extremely successful and many of the Company’s “proprietors were of opinion that nothing but the credit, experience, and abilities, of lord Clive in person could retrieve the disorder into which their affairs were thrown in the East Indies.”50 In the renewed debate over Spencer’s appointment to the governorship of Bengal, the Clivites argued for a leader with greater administrative and military capabilities. “That considering the great alteration of our affairs in Bengal by the late commotion in that settlement,” Gosling declared to the Court of Proprietors, “the present appointment of the successor to the presidency and the military appointment of the commander of our forces are therefore improper.” The EIC’s shareholders

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were persuaded by Clivite arguments. “A majority of proprietors appearing convinced of the necessity of appointing some men of superior abilities and influence to restore the affairs of this company, from the anarchy and confusion in which they are involved,” recounted the London Magazine, “all eyes seemed to be fixed upon one, which produced a motion, as if by inspiration, from a candid sensible member . . . who had the honour of proposing this: ‘That Lord Clive should be requested by this court to take upon him the presidency at Bengal, and the command of the military forces there, upon his arrival in the province.’ ” This motion was “met with an universal shout of approbation,” and Clive told the enthralled audience that “if he was called on by the general sense of the proprietors, and matters could be settled, so that he could proceed with any degree of prudence, supported by a friendly and united direction, he would once more stand forth in their service.”51 Despite his best efforts, Sulivan was unable to stem the tide of opposition. “I can only tell You that I think we have entirely routed Mr. Sulivan, the Proprietors made it their Request that I should go out again to India, & that my Jagger should be restored to me,” Clive rejoiced to Grenville; “my final Answer was then when all animosities are at an End among the Directors & that I saw a Direction appointed as well disposed towards me as I should be to them that then I would undertake the Service.”52 This time, Clive’s campaign was supported by the fearsome combination of ministerial power and elite London business interests and assisted by the panic generated by the news from Bengal. In an attempt to maintain its power within East India House, the Sulivandominated Court of Directors offered a compromise to Clive in the aftermath of the General Court. Hoping that he would leave Britain immediately and not challenge Sulivan’s position in the April election, the directors offered to send Clive back to India as governor of Bengal. In the General Court held on March 21, Clive remained adamant that he would not take up the governorship of Bengal and leave for India until after the election for the Court of Directors.53 The Sulivanites waged a considerable campaign within the confines of East India House, and in the popular press as well, in order to force Clive to accept their proposed compromise. The Grenville-Clive alliance refused to budge. On March 28, Clive wrote a letter to the Court of Directors informing them that he would not return to India until Sulivan was out of power.54 As we saw above, the Grenville-Clive alliance’s plan called for Clive to be returned to Bengal with extraordinary powers and for winning control of the Court of Directors. The latter objective was crucial for the success of the project.

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For, as Clive’s supporters learned between 1758 and 1760, control of East India House was the sine qua non for undertaking any imperial project in South Asia. The Sulivan-dominated Court of Directors had not only been able to dismiss Company servants in India but also to thwart many of Clive’s initiatives in the aftermath of Plassey. Sulivan and his allies were opposed to territorial and political aggrandizement on the Indian subcontinent. From a position of power in London, they had implemented the Sulivan-Vansittart program in Bengal and had refused to acquire the diwani from the Mughal Emperor on three separate occasions between 1758 and 1763. If Sulivan remained in control of East India House in 1764, he would be able to undermine any measures and reforms that Clive eventually instituted in Bengal. Clive did not oppose Sulivan’s supremacy because of personality differences, but rather because he believed that the corporation’s leader “acted, and does continue to act, upon principles diametrically opposed to the true interest of the East India Company.” The Grenville-Clive alliance would accept nothing less than mastery of East India House and the return of the military commander to Bengal. Clive needed control over the Court of Directors if his power and policies were to have any lasting effects in India. The Clivites and the Grenville ministry were pursuing a New Tory project designed to resolve the political-economic crisis engulfing Britain and its empire. This endeavor required control of Leadenhall Street and Calcutta in order to undo Sulivan’s policies and to permanently transform the Company’s presence in India. They were so single-minded and determined in these efforts to align the EIC with the government and to return Clive to Bengal with autocratic powers that many metropolitan observers worried about their intentions. On April 6, 1764, a previously neutral Company proprietor expressed his fears regarding the Grenville-Clive alliance’s pursuit of power: I have notwithstanding hitherto refrained from giving my thoughts to the public, as I saw the general inclination of the Proprietors was for a reconciliation, between L—C—and Mr. S—. However, as it now plainly appears from his L—most extraordinary letter to the Court of Directors, that he never wanted a reconciliation, I think that longer silence would be unpardonable. . . . I should be glad to know, what check we can have upon a man, who shall have the supreme command in India, and name a Direction at home. His L—declares the motives of his conduct are entirely disinterested; I hope so; and that he abandoned the opposition: and attached himself to our present virtuous

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administration, purely for the good of the nation. . . . I am suitable of the services L—C—has done to the Company, and I have an opinion of his capacity; I shall not however on that account be reduced to choose him for our Lord and Master; for surely that man must be so, who having the supreme command in India, with the greatest army we ever had there before; shall likewise, I say again, name a Direction at home. [In] possession of such power, L—C—may differ from other great men, and want ambition; he may likewise have no interested views; but if he has, who will afterwards be able to dispossess him, since it is certain, that he who holds 350,000 or 400,000L. India stock may be absolute Master of the Company. This being the case, I wish it may be still in the power of the old Proprietors to prevent the Company being enslaved, and becoming the sole property of a man, who is supported by the riches of the East, the faction of the North, joined with the utmost exertion of Ministerial influence [emphasis mine].55 While this proprietor was obviously sympathetic to the Sulivanites, his concerns with regard to the Grenville-Clive alliance’s efforts to take over the EIC were not far off the mark. Clive and his ministerial backers were determined to control every aspect of Britain’s Indian affairs. The Grenville-Clive alliance was relentless in its pursuit of victory in the Company’s 1764 election. During March and April 1764, Clive and Rous waged a major public propaganda campaign while the ministry pressed EIC proprietors and the City elite to support its candidates for the Court of Directors. Grenville and his political allies—including Jenkinson, Salvador, and Alexander Wedderburn—launched a major assault on Sulivan’s leadership. Grenville not only brought the full weight of his ministry to bear in support of the Rous-led opposition’s electoral effort (including pressuring public office-holders who owned India stock to vote accordingly) but also worked closely with Clive to lobby major proprietors who were not committed to either side.56 Ministers and officials—including Henry Fox and the Earl of Sandwich (a Secretary of State and a bitter opponent of Wilkes)—purchased India stock in order to vote for the Clivites.57 In support of the Clive-backed candidates for the Court of Directors, ministers instructed employees in the Pay Office and the Post Office, as well as customs and excise officials, to purchase voting rights in the Company.58 Grenville and his political allies mobilized the full resources of the government in their effort to conquer East India House.

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The election was held on April 12 and, to the great surprise of Clive and his supporters, the outcome was a draw. Sulivan had built extensive connections during his long reign on Leadenhall Street and was able to mobilize many of them in support of his campaign. Furthermore, the enthusiasm of some EIC proprietors for Clive’s return to India diminished when news of early British victories against Mir Qasim arrived in London shortly before the election.59 Twelve of the twenty-four candidates for the Court of Directors ran on both Rous’s and Sulivan’s lists, thus only twelve spots were effectively up for grabs. Since the opposing sides each won six of the contested spots, neither took control of the Court of Directors. While Salvador was uncertain about what step to take next, Clive was confident that the newly chosen directors would elect Rous to the EIC’s chairmanship.60 The election was held the next day and Sulivan’s nomination resulted in an evenly split vote. Despite fighting the Clivites to a draw, Sulivan recognized that his power within the Company was severely crippled. He walked out of the election along with four allies in protest at his failure to win a majority for the chairmanship, thus handing Rous an easy victory.61 In the weeks after the election, several directors and leading proprietors shifted their support to Clive, and Rous expanded his control over East India House.62 While Clive and his allies had been overwhelmingly defeated in 1763, they stood triumphant one year later. By far the most important element in Clive’s success and the crucial difference between the two election contests was the intervention of the Grenville administration. Sulivan blamed the ministry for every successful challenge to his leadership in the winter and spring of 1764.63 His power diminished over the course of 1764 and early 1765 as a growing number of leading shareholders and EIC interests shifted their support to the Clivites.64 The Sulivanites were easily defeated in the 1765 election for the Company’s Court of Directors and they remained out of power in East India House for several years. With Rous installed as the EIC Chairman in April 1764, the GrenvilleClive alliance took the next step in their wide-ranging campaign to transform the Company’s India policy. As we saw above, Clive had agreed to take up the governorship of Bengal if Sulivan lost control of the Court of Directors. After the election, Clive began drawing up the conditions for his return to India. The Clivites sought not only to restore their leader’s jagir but also to win extensive civilian and military powers for his governorship. They wanted his rule in Bengal to be absolute. Clive requested a dispensing power that would allow him to overrule any decisions made by the Company’s Calcutta

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council. Furthermore, he “insisted on having at least 3000 European troops constantly in Bengal, with absolute control over them, so that there should be no question of their being side-tracked to the other Presidencies as had happened in the past.”65 Clive’s proposals sailed through the Court of Directors on April 19, but his supporters expected them to be hotly contested in the General Court session called for May 2.66 Once again, the Grenville ministry played a key role in securing Clive’s objectives. On April 22, Salvador informed Jenkinson that “we are now come to the most difficult part of our task whatever my Lord Clive may tell you I foresee much difficulty in carrying his points I therefore must beg your Efficacious & speedy Exertion for all depends on a nicety.”67 Grenville’s circle was adamant that Clive be returned to Bengal with extraordinary civilian and military powers. The prime minister himself wrote to Jenkinson in order to ensure that the administration’s allies were doing everything in their power to secure the passage of Clive’s proposals.68 The government campaigned vigorously on Clive’s behalf in the weeks leading up to the General Court of May 2. The Grenville ministry mobilized all of its resources and connections in order to win approval for Clive’s proposals. “I have sollicited such of our Friends as are Proprietors of East India Stock in the manner you have desired; & I have acquainted Lord Clive of the Directions you have given in this respect,” Jenkinson wrote to Grenville with regard to his efforts to build support in the Company for Clive’s return to Bengal with extraordinary powers. “It is affirmed that [the British general] Monson has been defeated by one, whom we have learnt the Art of War . . . but who is now become Prince of the Country & turned against Us[,]” Jenkinson informed the prime minister, assuring him that “Lord Clives Friend’s think that this Event will be of Use to them at the general Court tomorrow, as it makes Lord Clives presence more necessary in India.”69 Clive’s plans were vigorously debated at the General Court on May 2 but the meeting ended before any conclusion was reached.70 While Clive secured the restoration of his jagir a few days later, his pursuit of dispensing and military powers remained a contentious issue within the confines of East India House. “The Inclinations which You were pleas’d to testify for my going abroad had more Weight with me than the Persuasions of all my other Friends put together,” Clive wrote to the prime minister in May 1764. He informed Grenville that his governorship would not be successful because the “Directors from Timidity and want of Capacity refuse to give me those Powers which they have already given and sent Mr. Vansittart and without which it would be entirely out of my Power to render the Company the least Service.”71

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The ministry and its allies within the Company were eventually able to overcome opposition to the Baron of Plassey’s proposals. Clive returned to Bengal not only as the governor and the commander-in-chief of the army but also as the head of a five-member Select Committee with vast civilian and military powers.72 The Select Committee was filled with Clive’s allies and invested with a dispensing power to overrule any decisions reached by the Calcutta council. Grenville and his allies wanted the Baron of Plassey to return to India not only as the EIC’s governor but also as the representative of British national power. The ministry sought to drape Clive in the trappings of aristocratic privilege and royal favor in order to reinforce his authority in Bengal. Government officials went to great lengths to ensure that George III invested Clive with the Red Ribbon of the Order of the Bath before he set sail for South Asia, even though the king had promised the next vacancy to Colonel William Draper.73 This move almost caused a rupture with the Duke of Bedford, who was Draper’s patron and one of the ministry’s most important supporters.74 Grenville and his allies thought it was crucial to return Clive to India with royal and aristocratic honors as well as with dispensing and military powers. They wanted to adorn Clive’s Bengal governorship with the symbols of Britain’s ruling class. Horace Walpole remarked that “Lord Clive could not conquer the Indies a second time without becoming a Knight of the Bath.”75 The lawless upstarts and reckless merchants who dominated the Company’s Calcutta settlement would be forced to submit to a governor who was invested with the authority both of the EIC and of Britain’s landed elite. Having succeeded in removing all obstacles to his control over EIC policy in London and Calcutta, Clive set sail for India on June 4, 1764. During the spring of 1764, it became increasingly clear to metropolitan observers that the objective of the Grenville-Clive alliance was not simply to stabilize the Company’s position in Bengal but also to transform the character of British imperialism in India. The rhetoric of the Clivites foreshadowed such a transformation. They had lauded Clive’s efforts to establish a durable British political and military supremacy in Bengal in 1757–1759. Furthermore, they had supported Clive’s ascendancy in distinctly conservative Patriot and New Tory terms that emphasized his martial valor and political genius. With the Grenville ministry supporting Clive’s return to Bengal, the worst fears of many metropolitan commentators were confirmed. They believed Clive would pursue policies in Bengal similar to those being implemented in North America.

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In early 1764, when the government decisively shifted its support from the Sulivanite directors to the Clivite opposition, the Grenville administration was busy enacting new Atlantic imperial measures. The ministry reformed the collection of customs, passed the Sugar Act, and proposed that stamp duties be levied in the colonies. By implementing these and other measures, Grenville was effectively transforming the nature of Britain’s Atlantic empire. The ministry sought to maintain a standing army of 10,000 troops in North America, to raise a colonial revenue, and to establish an independent imperial administration. The maritime “empire of liberty” was being remodeled into a politically autocratic and economically extractive dominion. In this context, it is not surprising that radical Whigs became increasingly critical of Clive’s ascendancy within the Company. These radicals deeply despised the Grenville ministry’s Atlantic imperial reforms, which they viewed as subjecting the American colonies to an imperial servitude. When Clive conquered East India House with the support of the government in 1764, political radicals feared that Grenville’s autocratic and extractive imperialism might be extended to South Asia. The leading radical Whig newspaper, The Monitor, was deeply opposed to Clive’s return to Bengal with extraordinary civilian and military powers. When he was appointed to lead a Select Committee invested with dispensing power and with absolute control over a vastly expanded military, The Monitor published a wide-ranging critique of Clive’s imperial ambitions: For tho’ a military power may, for a while, gain some advantages over the natives, there will be this hazard, the military commander being invested with supreme authority, will always make the commercial interest subservient to his command; or if he is not able to maintain his ground by force, that trade, which is interrupted during the war, will be utterly extirpated with our settlements, should they once meet with a total defeat. So that in whatever light we reason, the present measures begun by Lord Clive, and pursued by his successors in the council at Bengal, of deposing and setting up Nabobs, and drawing upon the Company the jealousy and resentment of the people, amongst whom they were settled for trade and commerce only, must be injurious, not to be supported, fatal in their consequences, and therefore to be discouraged and changed to such, as are homogenial with the constitution of a trading company. . . . It is against both reason and the nature of things, to expect any success from an attempt to compel

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those Eastern powers to submit to the impositions of an European settlement. A trade that must be supported by arms, should be in a condition to pay a standing army able to protect it. But arms will be so far from protecting the company’s trade in Bengal, when employ’d against the power of the country, that they will obstruct and stop it: therefore that trade will not be in a condition to pay a standing army.76 Although the radical Whigs were deeply hostile to the East India Company, which they viewed as a bastion of oligarchic and monopolistic power, they nevertheless remained committed to a maritime and commercial “empire of liberty.” Thus, while the radicals did not support Sulivan and his allies among the City elite, they were also opposed to Clive’s efforts to militarize the EIC’s presence in Bengal. From the very beginning, the metamorphosis of the Company into a tributary territorial empire was opposed by the forces of radical Whiggism. In addition to the criticisms from radical Whigs, Clive’s pursuit of extraordinary civilian and military powers after his victory in the 1764 EIC election alienated his allies among returned Company servants and private traders, especially in the Johnstone faction. The Grenville-Clive forces allied with these commercial interests for largely instrumental purposes. The Johnstones and their connections controlled a significant amount of India stock and wielded considerable influence among returned Company servants. Although the Clivites did not share the Johnstones’ aggressive commercial expansionism, they had nevertheless been willing to work with this faction in a general campaign against Sulivan’s leadership.77 However, as the plans and intentions of the Grenville-Clive alliance became increasingly clear during the spring of 1764, the Johnstone faction distanced themselves from the Baron of Plassey and his supporters. When Clive drew up his proposals for Bengal in the aftermath of the EIC election, he made no effort to reinstate John Johnstone and the dismissed Company servants, which greatly displeased the Johnstone faction. “After the election was over [the Johnstone party] had hoped that Clive would have made John Johnstone’s reinstatement one of the conditions of his return to Bengal,” Sutherland notes; “when he failed to do so, their not unjust suspicions of his good faith rose rapidly.”78 The Johnstones’ suspicions transformed into open hostility when it became clear that Clive would settle for nothing less than absolute civilian and military power in Bengal. In the campaign to win this power, Clive increasingly emphasized his intentions to overrule the Calcutta council

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and to subdue and restrain British private enterprise in northeastern India. When the EIC agreed to vastly expand its army in Bengal and to appoint Clive to a Select Committee with dispensing power, the Johnstones and their allies explicitly condemned the Baron of Plassey’s efforts to transform the Company’s position in India. The Scottish merchants and EIC shareholders George Dempster and George Johnstone denounced the creation of “a committee . . . with more ample, dangerous, and discretionary powers than any ever known in [the Company’s] service.” They feared that Clive was returning to Bengal in order to establish an “equally arbitrary and dangerous” despotism in which “a thousand evils may be foreseen; and where the military are to approve their own rewards.” His measures were “calculated, contrary to the most solemn declarations, to annihilate the civil jurisdiction of that Presidency” and would crush Calcutta’s dynamic commercialism under the heavy weight of a coercive militarism.79 The objections of radical Whigs and the opposition of the Johnstone faction mattered little in the face of the overwhelming resources mobilized by the Grenville-Clive alliance. With Rous installed as Chairman of the Company in April 1764 and Clive sailing for Bengal as governor and commanderin-chief of the military in June 1764, a decisive phase in the struggle to determine the future of the British presence in India came to an end. Informed metropolitan observers did not doubt the stakes involved in the contest for control of the EIC. “Lord Clive has been suddenly nominated by the East India Company to the empire of Bengal where [the French have] taught all our merchants to affect to be king-making Earls of Warwick,” Horace Walpole caustically remarked that spring.80 While many in London were critical of Clive’s return to Bengal, the members of the Grenville-Clive alliance rejoiced. “I take for granted that you are long before this in possession of the Capital of the Nabob of Bengal, if not of the Great Mogol,” the Earl of Sandwich wrote to Clive in the winter of 1765. Sandwich, who as a Secretary of State played a key role in the negotiations between the Clivites and the Grenville ministry, hoped that the conqueror had “the whole affairs of the East under [his] direction.”81 Another ally asked Clive to send regular reports of his Indian exploits back to London, reminding him that “Caesar sent to Rome an Account of every Campaign, & those are his Commentaries so much respected to this Day by Mankind.”82 While metropolitan discussion was not specific about what the newly anointed Select Committee would do in order to establish a durable British imperial supremacy in Bengal and no one talked of the diwani in particular, many were not surprised when Clive announced

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the acquisition of a grant that would pour £2 million per year into the Company’s coffers and put the corporation’s military position in Bengal “upon so respectable a footing that all the powers of Europe can have no chance of succeeding” in taking the province.83 When news of Clive’s acquisition of the diwani finally arrived in the metropole in 1766, there was much rejoicing in Grenville’s inner circle. Why did the Grenville ministry go to such lengths to secure Clive’s victory in the 1764 EIC election and to return him to Bengal as governor with extraordinary powers? As is discussed in detail in the next chapter, the Baron of Plassey’s struggle against Sulivan was one front in the New Tory campaign that Grenville’s circle was waging to resolve the profound political-economic crisis afflicting Britain and its empire. On the thirtieth of September in the year 1765, Clive, now serving as Governor of the EIC’s settlement at Calcutta, penned a letter to his employers back in London effectively informing them of the birth of the British Empire in India. “I have at last, however, the happiness to see the completion of an event, which . . . must be productive of advantages hitherto unknown,” Clive enthusiastically proclaimed to the Company’s Court of Directors. “I mean the dewannee which is the superintendancy of all the lands, and the collection of all the revenues of the provinces of Bengal, Bahar and Orissa.”84 Clive was referring to events that had transpired several weeks before in the city of Allahabad, where he had traveled from Calcutta with a large coterie in order to settle terms with the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. During those negotiations, the Emperor granted the diwani of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to the EIC in return for an annual tribute and for control over the districts of Allahabad and Cora. Clive accepted the grant on the Company’s behalf, and, in doing so, definitively established the mercantile corporation as a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent.85 The path to the diwani was long and arduous and by no means foreordained.86 As we saw in the previous chapter, in 1756, while the EIC was engaged in armed conflict in southern India with the French East India Company and its native allies, the then Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-daula, attacked and captured Calcutta, the corporation’s prized commercial settlement and arguably the central nodal point of its global trading empire. British forces retook Calcutta and, in 1757, a Company army under Clive’s command defeated Siraj-ud-daula at the Battle of Plassey and subsequently installed a new ruler, Mir Jafar, on the throne of Bengal. In the aftermath of what contemporaries

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often referred to as the Plassey Revolution, the EIC’s political and military influence over the province grew considerably. Although the Company sought to reduce its interference in Bengal’s internal affairs, this proved difficult for a number of reasons. Mir Jafar had promised to repay the damages incurred by his predecessor’s assault on Calcutta. Additionally, he owed large sums to the EIC and its servants for the military services they rendered against his Indian opponents. The Nawab’s indebtedness and reliance on British arms put him in no position to refuse the corporation’s demands. When Mir Jafar denied the Company’s requests in 1760, Governor Vansittart and the Fort William Council replaced him with his son-in-law, Mir Qasim. Vansittart intervened in Bengal’s internal affairs at this time but he did so in order to extract further fiscal concessions, not to establish a territorial dominion. His goal was to gain the revenue of a few districts in order to balance the EIC’s accounts, which had suffered as a result of warfare with European and South Asian rivals. In general, Vansittart sought to reinforce Mir Qasim’s independence and to disentangle the Company’s affairs from the Nawab’s. Vansittart’s support for Mir Qasim’s political, military, and economic sovereignty was considerable, and it outraged EIC servants like Clive who, since 1759, had advocated for the creation of a British territorial empire in Bengal. “This was the error of Mr. Vansittart’s conduct,” Clive proclaimed; “he advised the Nawab to regulate his treasury, save money, to form and discipline an excellent army, and pay them well and regularly contrary to the practice of all the princes of India . . . Kasim Ali, in two years, thought himself in a condition to bid us defiance, and was near being so.”87 In pursuing this course of action, Vansittart was fully in line with EIC policy as formulated by the directors in London. Troubled by the military and administrative costs associated with imperial aggrandizement on the Indian subcontinent, Company Chairman Sulivan condemned the idea of taking “Possession of Countries either by Cessation or Usurpation, whose Revenues must maintain Armies and draw Riches to Europe.”88 While the EIC’s management sought to gain commercial privileges and concessions whenever and wherever possible, they studiously avoided the acquisition of a territorial empire in South Asia. Although Vansittart’s policy was initially successful, there were a number of growing tensions between Mir Qasim’s government and the British presence in Bengal. Foremost among them was the commercial penetration of the province’s inland economy by the Company servants. Trading in some of Bengal’s most important commodities on their own private accounts, the Company’s employees exempted themselves and their business partners from

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the government’s duties and regulations. While this free trade allowed Company servants to undersell their commercial competitors throughout the province, it ultimately diminished the Nawab’s customs intake and destabilized the local economy. “Great advantages accrued from these articles of trade, both to the country merchants who used to carry it on, and to the government by the customs they drew from it,” a liaison between the EIC’s Calcutta council and the nawabi regime remarked; “both these are now cut off, and the advantages in a manner engrossed by the English, who say, they will pay no customs; and, to support this usurpation, our agents and gomastahs are armed with an authority, independent of the officers of government.”89 These developments inevitably led to bitter confrontations between the Nawab’s government and EIC employees, especially when Mir Qasim’s officials attempted to suppress what they viewed as illegal traffic.90 These confrontations typically concluded in the exchange of recriminations between the Nawab’s court and the Company’s governor and council at Fort William in Calcutta. In 1763, the conflicts and strains generated by the growth of British power in Bengal finally erupted into a full-scale war that threatened the Company’s foothold in northeastern India. Mir Qasim, who had been raised to power by the EIC only three years earlier, allied his military forces with those of Shah Alam II and Shuja-ud-daula (the territorially ambitious Nawab of Oudh) in an attempt to drive the British from Bengal. Although this alliance posed a major threat to the Company’s position—perhaps the greatest since Siraj-ud-daula’s conquest of Calcutta in 1756—it was parried by the corporation’s military forces, and ultimately suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of an army commanded by Major Hector Munro at the Battle of Buxar in October 1764. With this victory and the retreat of both Mir Qasim and Shuja-ud-daula, as well as the submission of Shah Alam II, the EIC’s power and influence in northeastern India achieved unparalleled heights. It was in the push and pull of these conflicts spanning from 1756 to 1764 that a British territorial empire in Bengal became possible and even likely. Every ship that arrived in London from the British settlements in Asia brought with it news of the EIC’s struggles in Bengal. That news flooded the British public sphere and was discussed in parliamentary debates, pamphlets, newspapers, and coffeehouses throughout the kingdom.91 In the seven years following Plassey, the conflicts surrounding the Company’s growing power in northeastern India were the cauldron in which imperial solutions to the India question brewed.

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By 1759, Clive had become a powerful advocate for establishing a British territorial empire in Bengal. “The great revolution that has been effected [in Bengal] by the success of English arms, and the vast advantages gained to the Company by a treaty concluded in the consequence thereof,” Clive observed in a letter to Pitt, then in charge of conducting the global war against Bourbon France, and “much more may yet in time be done, if the Company will exert themselves in the manner the importance of their present possessions and future prospects deserves.” Although Clive “represented to [the EIC] the expediency of sending out and keeping up constantly such a force as will enable them to embrace the first opportunity of further aggrandizing themselves,” he feared that “so large a sovereignty may possibly be an object too extensive for a mercantile Company; and it is to be feared they are not of themselves able, without the nation’s assistance, to maintain so wide a dominion.”92 While he was initially unable to win the support of either the Company or the national government for this imperial program, Clive eventually benefited from the instability of the EIC’s position in Bengal. In early 1764, when word reached Britain of the military alliance formed against the Company by Mir Qasim, Shuja-ud-daula, and Shah Alam II, the corporation’s proprietors trembled at the news. Clive, along with his allies at East India House and in the government, wrested control of the EIC away from Sulivan in the April election to the Court of Directors. The newly elected EIC directors returned Clive to the governorship of Calcutta at the head of a Select Committee with extraordinary civilian and military powers in order to restore tranquility in Bengal and to stabilize the EIC’s affairs. Although Clive arrived in India too late to play a role in the Company’s victories over the powerful native alliance arrayed against it, he was nevertheless prepared to seize the reins of power and to realize his territorial-imperial vision. Upon arriving in India in the spring of 1765, Clive wrote to Company Chairman Rous and laid out his plans for transforming Bengal into an imperial garrison state administered by the EIC. He was furious that a Company army was marching towards Delhi, which he viewed as a distraction from the consolidation of the corporation’s territorial dominion in Bengal.93 Clive counseled against entangling the EIC’s forces in further conflicts upcountry, and instead aimed at an immediate and sizable buildup of the corporation’s European and native regiments in northeastern India. Such a buildup was necessary because, from Clive’s perspective, the only solution to the “Bengal problem” was for the Company to assume political dominion over the province.94

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The Baron of Plassey’s travel upcountry to Allahabad a few months after arriving in Calcutta in order to acquire the diwani from Shah Alam II was part and parcel of his plans to transform the Company’s presence in Bengal into a militarized garrison state. “Revolution upon Revolution, Rapacity, Extortion, and Corruption, have at last reduced Us to the Necessity of doing the only thing which could be done, to save the whole Fabric from being ruined, The King hath granted to the Company the Duanny of Bengal, Bahar, and Orissa[,]” Clive averred to his longtime aide Scrafton.95 The EIC’s postdiwani imperial state was to maintain a large standing army and a disciplined civil service responsible for securing the Company’s commercial interests in South Asia and for transferring Bengal’s territorial revenue to corporate coffers in London. “The King [Shah Alam II] has granted to the Company for ever, with the Approbation & Consent of the Nabob, all the Revenues which shall remain after paying Him a certain Tribute & allowing a Sum sufficiently for the Dignity and Support of the Nabob,” Clive informed his ally the City financier Salvador; “the Company’s Income exceeds 2 Millions Sterling [per] Annum & their Civil & Military Expences in future never shall exceed £700,000 [per] Annum in time of Peace, and one Million in Time of War[.]”96 The EIC used the vast territorial revenue acquired with the diwani to purchase Bengal’s most prized commodities, to build an imperial administration and military, and to financially support its trading settlements throughout the East. Clive’s policy consolidated and extended contingent plans and haphazard measures adopted by the Company during warfare with its European and South Asian rivals. In the post-Plassey period, Mir Jafar and Mir Qasim made territorial concessions to the EIC—including the Twenty-four Parganas in 1757 and the districts of Burdwan, Midnapur, and Chittagong in 1760—as a means of repayment. The Company’s governor and council in Calcutta used the revenue raised from these districts to fund their military and administrative operations, to support the corporation’s settlements throughout India, and to purchase the EIC’s “investment” in Bengal’s manufactures.97 After 1757, this territorial revenue increasingly replaced the Company’s regular bullion shipments as the Calcutta council’s means of purchasing Bengali goods and of meeting its expenses. When, in the aftermath of the diwani grant, Clive informed the EIC’s directors that “our revenues will for the future enable us to furnish all our investments without any remittance from England,” he effectively confirmed the systematic transformation of temporary wartime measures into official

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policies governing the Company’s newly won territorial empire.98 If the EIC transferred its territorial revenue back to Britain in bullion shipments, it would inevitably undermine Bengal’s economy. Hence, the corporation sought instead to remit this revenue to Britain by increasing its purchase of the region’s prized commodities, especially cotton and silk piece-goods as well as saltpetre. Bengal’s revenue was used to vastly expand the EIC’s investment in the province’s goods for the purposes of exporting them throughout Europe and Asia. The investment climbed from under ₤500,000 per year in the mid-1760s to over ₤1,000,000 per year by 1780.99 This imperial tributary state, consolidated and extended in 1765, was responsible for transmitting Bengal’s territorial revenue not only to London but also throughout the Company’s global trading empire. After the EIC’s civilian and military expenditures in Bengal were met, Clive estimated that the remaining annual territorial revenue of “122 lack of sicca rupees, or ₤1,650,900” would “defray all the expence of the investment, furnish the whole of the China treasure, answer the demands of all your other settlements in India, and leave a considerable ballance in your treasury besides.”100 In the years after Plassey, the Company’s settlement in Bengal provided much of the bullion and goods necessary for the corporation’s expanding trade to China, whose lucrative teas and porcelains were widely sought after in European markets. In the aftermath of the diwani, the EIC quickly expanded its purchase of tea and other Chinese goods, the total value of which grew from ₤393,122 in 1765 to ₤544,948 in 1766.101 The Company also channeled part of this vast territorial revenue to its settlements at Bombay and Madras, thus making the corporation’s commercial and military operations throughout India in no small measure dependent on its newly won political dominion in Bengal. With the acquisition of the diwani, the EIC was finally transformed from a mercantile corporation plying an armed trade into a fiscal-military state responsible for maintaining a global commercial empire. “Fortune seems determined to accompany Me to the last,” Clive proclaimed. “I have succeeded in every Undertaking, and the E. I. Company are become the most potent & rich Company in the World, by a solid Peace, and a Grant from the King of all the Revenues of Bengal, Bahar & Orissa, amounting to 4 Millions Sterling [per] Annum.”102 The land taxes levied on a peasantry in direct control of the means of subsistence were collected in order to fund the monopoly company’s territorial empire and global business operations. “This new arrangement of matters without having wrought any sensible change in the exterior form of the English company, has essentially changed their object,” observed the

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Abbé Raynal in his monumental treatise on European overseas expansion; “they are no longer a trading body, they are a territorial power which farms out its revenues in aid of a commerce that formerly was their sole existence, and which, notwithstanding the extension it has received, is no more than an additional object in the various combinations of their present real grandeur.”103 The EIC was now nothing less than a commercial corporation overseeing a vast rentier state on the Indian subcontinent. By the summer of 1765, Clive had transformed contingent and temporary Company measures into a concerted and coherent political economy of empire. There was little doubt in the minds of Clive and his backers that the Company’s territorial empire needed to be ruled by an autocratic state manned by a salaried and professional civil service. From Clive’s perspective, there could be little meaningful connection between British governors and their Indian subjects. Furthermore, the extraction of revenue from Bengal’s peasantry required the politico-military capacities of a strong state—a state capable both of imposing itself on indigenous society and of defending itself against South Asian rivals. The acquisition of the diwani gave the EIC’s political dominion legitimacy within the Mughal framework and provided the fiscal resources necessary for maintaining a large standing army. According to Clive, this legitimacy and these resources were “the outwarks, which guard you from your natural enemies, the natives of the country.”104 Yet other commentators, such as the future Governor-General of Bengal Warren Hastings, were confident that the Company’s autocratic state was continuous with a long line of despotisms that ruled over northeastern India and that “for some Centuries past” the native population was “inured to a foreign Government, to which They have ever particularly Submitted.” Hastings was certain that the Company’s neo-despotism would face little resistance as “there is scarce an Instance in History or Tradition” of Bengal’s populace “taking up Arms in their own Defence, however oppressed.”105 Clive and Hastings maintained different views with regard to the specifics of EIC policy in Bengal, but neither man doubted that an autocratic state was natural and appropriate for the province as well as necessary for its economic functioning and geopolitical security.106 “Soldierly men, they had few illusions that the sources of the Company’s dominance in India rested on anything other than gunpowder and musket-fire,” David Washbrook remarks. Clive and Hastings “also eschewed visions of a society in ‘British’ India founded on anything other than inherited Indian institutions—most notably those of ‘Oriental despotism,’ which would give their state (and its rapacious officials) virtually unlimited authority.”107

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When Clive instituted the administrative and military reforms that consolidated and extended the Company’s autocratic territorial empire in 1765 and 1766, he did so not only to secure the corporation’s possessions from indigenous threats, both internal and external, but also to discipline EIC servants, transforming them from profit-seeking merchants into a corps of paternalist, salaried administrators. In fact, from the time Clive wrested control of the Company away from Sulivan in the spring of 1764 until his final days in Bengal in 1767, he swore to save the corporation from the “licentiousness and luxury” of its employees. According to the Baron of Plassey, these servants were channeling the EIC’s newfound wealth and influence into private hands rather than serving the “public” interest of the corporation and the “national” interest of Britain. After taking control of East India House, Clive promised to “induce the gentlemen abroad to contract their views of private advantage within the bounds essentially necessary to the interests of the Company.” He contended that the effort “to persuade, or, if necessary, to oblige your servants to be content with advantages much inferior to those which . . . they may think themselves entitled to” would be “the greatest difficulty which I shall have to encounter.” Thus, the famed commander insisted that his second governorship be endowed with extraordinary civilian and military powers. “It therefore rests with the Court of Directors to consider, seriously, whether they should not intrust me with a dispensing power in the civil and political affairs,” Clive averred, “so that whensoever I may think proper to take any resolution entirely upon myself that resolution is to take place.”108 As we saw above, Clive was returned to Bengal in 1764 at the head of a Select Committee that was invested with the special powers and privileges he requested. The threats posed by the aggressive commercial expansionism of Company servants were to be reined in by an autocratic state. Clive contended that the disobedience and self-seeking disposition of many EIC servants were symptomatic of a far deeper pathology. His faction argued that the reckless pursuit of profit by the Company’s employees, as manifested in their private trading activities and the payments and bribes they often accepted from Indian politicians and businessmen, was ultimately responsible for the conflicts with the nawabs and for repeatedly placing the Company in danger. While such an analysis of Bengal’s post-Plassey affairs was conventional in British political and business circles at the time (Sulivan, Clive’s archnemesis, similarly viewed the EIC’s troubles as a direct consequence of the private trade, profiteering, and defiance of the corporation’s servants), the Clivite critique of Company servants’ profiteering was embedded in a powerful

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ideological vision that distinguished it in the public sphere. As the Clivites saw it, the immense wealth that the Company and its employees accrued in the wake of Plassey had led to a profound socio-ideological transformation in Calcutta. While in the past the EIC’s corporate hierarchy had kept in check the ambitions of the petty merchants who plied the eastern trade, the vast accumulation of wealth in Bengal during the late 1750s and early 1760s broke down all barriers to the assertion of self-interest. For holders of this worldview, traditional authority and hierarchies had been undermined by the interest-based worlds of civil society and commercial life in post-Plassey Calcutta. According to Clivite ideology, the lawlessness, corruption, and anarchy engulfing Bengal were generated by the unmooring of commercial life from the political and territorial structures—in this case, those of the British East India Company—that had historically kept it in check. Freed from traditional constraints in Bengal by an immense expansion of wealth in the aftermath of Plassey, the interest-based world of civil society was sapping the EIC’s administration and threatening its existence. “The sudden, and among many, the unwarrantable acquisition of riches, had introduced luxury in almost every shape, and in its most pernicious excess,” Clive asserted to the Court of Directors while instituting his imperial reforms in the fall of 1765; “the evil was contagious, and spread among the civil and military, down to the writer, the ensign, and the free merchant.”109 In such circumstances, the greater interests of the Company and the British state were entirely neglected. “If I was to give You an Account of all our Proceedings in Bengal, Volumes would not suffice,” Clive remarked to a correspondent. “I shall only observe, that upon my Arrival in [Calcutta], I found it overwhelmed with Luxury & Corruption, the Company’s Affairs totally neglected, & their Orders from Home set at Defiance . . . to the great Detriment of the Company, & the Dishonor of the Nation.”110 The disassociation of the commercial world of civil society from the established corporate order bred social entropy as individuals pursued their own interests without regard for the community and the state.111 The relentless commercialism of EIC servants inevitably undermined existing authorities. “Anarchy, & Confusion, Bribery, & Corruption, have extended themselves over the 3 rich Provinces of Bengal, Bahar, & Orissa,” Clive averred; “in short the Gentlemen [the Company’s servants] having the Revenues of the Country amounting to upwards 3 Million [per] Annum at their Command, were making such strides towards Independency, that in two Years time, I am persuaded the Company would not have had one Servant upon the Establishment above the Rank of a Writer.”112 The vast accumulation of mobile

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wealth—unconnected to any territorial right, landed title, or hereditary status—threatened to “level” all individuals and to eliminate every social and political distinction.113 Clive contended that the leveling and anarchic tendencies of unrestrained trade and accumulation made EIC servants as dismissive of South Asian royalty and aristocracy as they were of the corporation’s chartered privileges and command hierarchies. “Notwithstanding a special order from the Court of Directors . . . that all correspondence with the country powers should be carried on solely in the Governor’s name,” lamented the Barron of Plassey, “I found, that our whole correspondence with the Great Mogul, the subahs, nabobs, and rajahs, had been of late carried on by and in the name of the whole Board, and that every servant and free merchant corresponded with whom they pleased.”114 From this perspective, the conflicts between the Company’s servants and established authorities, both British and South Asian, were not embedded in a structural situation resulting from the commercial corporation’s unplanned assumption of political and military power over a province of the Mughal Empire. Rather, they were the offspring of a reckless, leveling, and materialist impulse that imperiled Bengal’s traditional ruling class as well as the Company itself. The ideological underpinnings of Clive’s conquest of East India House in 1764 and of his second Bengal governorship were markedly different from those that had informed the struggle between the Sulivanite Court of Directors and their refractory servants in India. Clive’s obsession with repressing “licentiousness” stemmed from a coherent worldview in which commercial society was seen as beneficial as long as it operated within a framework of overt political and territorial restraints. Without those restraints, commercial society invariably generated social entropy and rampant materialism; these tendencies ultimately produced individuals incapable of being ruled by anything other than their basest desires. Although the EIC was a mercantile corporation, its activities took place within the bounds of chartered rights and historical privileges granted by the British state. Furthermore, the Company’s long-established corporate hierarchy had successfully channeled the ambitions and interests of its employees overseas. After Plassey, this was no longer the case. Despite the Company’s military victories over its French and South Asian opponents, Clive warned his employers that “all is not safe [in Calcutta]; danger still subsists from more formidable enemies within; luxury, corruption, avarice, rapacity, there have the possession of your principal posts, and are ready to betray your citadel.”115 The Calcutta Select Committee informed the

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directors that “every spring of this government was smeared with corruption, that principles of rapacity and oppression universally prevailed, and that every spark of sentiment and public spirit was lost and extinguished in the unbounded lust of unmerited wealth.”116 The immense accumulation of wealth and the vast expansion of British private trade in the late 1750s and early 1760s had created a reckless and leveling individualism that threatened the EIC’s presence in Bengal. The Clivite view of events in Bengal provided the basis for distinct policy solutions to the Company’s problems. Sulivan’s faction had sought to preserve the EIC’s commercial character at all costs, and they were prepared to take action against the corporation’s servants in order to achieve this end. Clive and his allies articulated a strident critique of licentiousness and luxury and called for a very different course of action. Central to that course was the Company’s transformation into a territorial garrison state. From this perspective, the acquisition of the diwani was vital not only for securing the EIC’s economic prosperity and geopolitical security but also for countering the leveling and anarchic tendencies that threatened the corporation from within. The immense revenue and traditional legitimacy secured by the diwani made possible the establishment of an autocratic and militarized state—a state that contained commercial life and civil society within overt political hierarchies and territorial boundaries. “With regard to the Latitude of our Possessions, be not staggered,” Clive wrote to the Company’s Deputy Chairman in September 1765; “assure Yourself that the Company must either be what they are, or be annihilated: hitherto at last we can see no alternative, for in a more moderate State, though the Power might still be preserved, Corruption, and frequent Revolutions, must in the end overset Us.”117 According to Clive, the EIC’s newly won territorial empire would successfully contain commercial life and civil society within their proper bounds. Confident that “nothing can prove fatal, but a renewal of Licentiousness among your Servants here,” Clive set about transforming the corporation’s service into a salaried administration.118 He purged the EIC’s civil and military departments of “corrupt” and “licentious” individuals, including John Johnstone, whose extensive private trading activity and libertarian ideology made him a target of the governor’s ire.119 The Select Committee established a series of commodity monopolies designed to provide salaries for the Company servants. Clive hoped that the British territorial empire in India would be administered by independent gentlemen rather than self-seeking merchants. Freed from reckless commercialism, the civil servants of British Bengal would maintain an

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autocratic imperial order that advanced the greater interests of the EIC and the British state. When Clive departed Bengal in 1767, the Company’s metamorphosis from a mercantile corporation into a rent-seeking empire was complete. With the acquisition of the diwani, the British joint-stock company became a despotic, tax-collecting state on the Indian subcontinent—a state that was ultimately responsible for managing a global commercial empire. EIC directors and British statesmen were now committed to maintaining a territorial empire in South Asia. “If we make war, shall we not conquer? If we conquer, shall we not keep?” Edmund Burke queried the House of Commons in 1768 during a debate over the regulation of the Company and its eastern territories. “You are plunged into empire in the East,” he answered; “you have formed a great body of power there; you must abide by the consequences.”120 Indeed, between 1765 and 1767, Clive sealed the Company’s transformation from a commercial corporation into a South Asian state and laid the basis for a British imperium that eventually spanned the entire subcontinent.

chapter 5 ·~·

he New Toryism and the Imperial Reaction at the Accession of George III

Why did Robert Clive’s imperial project win out in India? Why did metropolitan ministers and officials consolidate a new form of autocratic, territorial, and military-driven imperialism in South Asia? More broadly, what led to the shift in British overseas expansion from the First to the Second British Empire? While answers to these questions have already been provided in terms of the origins and early development of the East India Company’s imperial state in Bengal, for a more complete picture it is necessary to shift our focus back to metropolitan political conflict and the manner in which it shaped British overseas expansion as a whole during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. For, as argued in the previous two chapters, the origins and consolidation of the EIC’s territorial empire in northeastern India were fundamentally informed by the outcome of sociopolitical conflict and ideological debate within Britain. The Company’s transformation into an imperial power was part and parcel of the wider conflict waged between radical and conservative-reactionary forces over the shape and evolution of British imperialism on a world scale. Clive’s consolidation of the EIC’s territorial state was in part the expression of a New Tory political project that emerged in response to the crises afflicting Britain and in opposition to radical Whiggism. It is not possible to fully grasp the rise and early development of the Company’s empire in India, and of the Second British Empire more broadly, without an account of the debates and struggles waged in the metropole. 165

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While chapter 2 provided a detailed account of the emergence of radical Whiggism in the 1750s and 1760s, this chapter focuses on the conservative reaction to it—what I term the New Toryism—that developed during the 1760s and early 1770s. What was the character of the New Toryism? How and why did it transform British overseas expansion as a whole, from the colonies of North America and the West Indies to the trading settlements of South Asia? Before examining in detail the rise and development of the New Toryism during the early reign of King George III and the shift it led to in Britain’s imperial expansion, we must first settle accounts with the Namierite interpretation that has remained prominent for over six decades in the historiography on the politics of empire during the 1760s and 1770s. It has long been contended that eighteenth-century British politics was a relatively staid affair until the outbreak of the French Revolution and the spread of Jacobinism and plebeian radicalism in the 1790s.1 This interpretation views post-1714 British political life as characterized by widespread social deference to the landed elite and by an intense but unprincipled factionalism among the political class.2 Thus British politics did not consist of party conflict and ideological debate, but rather of the jockeying of aristocratic factions for patronage and place within a broad ideological consensus shared by rulers and ruled. And so it remained, until the exogenous shock of the French Revolution awoke the lower orders from their slumber and renewed principled party conflict among the elite. The Namierite interpretation of eighteenth-century British politics has focused much analytic attention on the political upheaval of the early years of George III’s reign. Between 1760 and 1775, the post-1714 Whig Supremacy maintained by Robert Walpole, Henry Pelham, and the Duke of Newcastle gave way, the government changed hands six times, and imperial reforms and colonial American resistance provoked a crisis that eventually tore apart the British Atlantic world. According to the Namierite account, the political upheaval of the period did not result from the breakdown of ideological consensus and the emergence of principled conflict concerning the nature and evolution of the British state.3 Rather, this instability was the consequence of the ascent to power in 1760 of a young and inexperienced king, George III, and of his efforts to shift the governance of the state away from Newcastle and the establishment Whigs who had dominated British politics for decades. Sir Lewis Namier refuted a long-standing Whig historiography that characterized eighteenth-century British politics as a contest between stable Whig and Tory

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political parties for control of parliamentary majorities and increasingly modern cabinet governments. Furthermore, Namier successfully demolished Whig arguments that George III’s efforts during the early 1760s to undermine and circumvent the Whig establishment were designed to subvert Parliament and the constitution. In fact, George III aimed to break the political monopoly of the great Whig families, established during the reigns of his great-grandfather and grandfather, and thus to restore the post-1688 monarchy’s independence to the level it enjoyed during the reigns of William III and Anne. Namierite historians argue that the instability and upheaval of the 1760s and early 1770s constituted one more phase in the recurrent eighteenthcentury struggle of upper-class political factions for patronage and place, for perquisites and power. The intensity of these struggles during George III’s early reign stemmed not from ideological debate but rather from the decline of a Whig establishment that had successfully contained and defused such conflicts for several decades. The new king’s assault on Newcastle’s political system was not a romantic and dangerous attempt to revert to Stuart absolutism, but it nevertheless subjected British politics to the relentless factionalism of Pittites, Buteites, Newcastle and Rockingham loyalists, Bedfordites, Grenvillites, and the King’s Friends. The major deficiency with the Namierite interpretation lies in its characterization of the social context of eighteenth-century British politics. The notion of a stable and calm era of aristocratic politics stretching from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 is simply untenable. While Britain was certainly governed by a landed oligarchy, that oligarchy was by no means ruling over a traditional agrarian society. The oligarchs themselves were not feudal magnates but rather aristocratic capitalists who owned vast commercial estates run by tenant-farmers and worked by wage-laborers.4 Although proud of their titles and ancestry, the members of this landed elite were, as E. P. Thompson observes, as bourgeois in their lifestyle and assumptions as any urban or commercial class.5 They took part in trade and finance, studied political economy, firmly defended their property rights, and vigorously debated political and literary issues in the reading societies and coffeehouses of London.6 During the later seventeenth century, the agrarian transformation they oversaw and benefited from was followed by commercial and financial revolutions that gave rise to the Bank of England, the national debt, and the London stock market.7 These transformations were accompanied by the development of a modernizing state, with a centralized and efficient administration, a highly professionalized military,

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and a largely indirect, market-based tax system.8 The landed magnates and City elite that stood at the helm of Britain’s state and society were in every respect a modern capitalist ruling class. By the eighteenth century, Britain was a vibrant commercial and manufacturing society experiencing recurrent transformations in its economic relations and organization.9 While older towns with regulated guilds and restricted economies declined, new provincial cities based on domestic trade and manufacturing, as well as overseas commerce, flourished. These towns and cities were home to a vibrant extra-parliamentary political culture and a sophisticated associational world of private clubs and improvement societies.10 The rise of these urban centers was accompanied by the birth of mass consumption and the spread of new patterns of fashion and taste.11 These developments led to what Geoff Eley describes as the “gradual coherence of a self-conscious middle-class public, which wore its provincialism less as an embarrassment than as an expression of buoyant creativity.”12 Whether we consider its towns or its countryside, eighteenth-century Britain was a remarkably dynamic society in comparison to most of continental Europe. The political life of this commercial and manufacturing society was not limited to factional squabbles waged between aristocratic elites and their parliamentary connections. The plays, newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, parades, coffeehouses, and pubs of London and the provincial cities created a vibrant public sphere in which the chief political and imperial issues of the day were readily discussed and debated. Beginning in the 1720s, significant sections of the middling sort and plebeian classes grew disaffected with the Whig oligarchy and subsequently embraced a reformist politics based on Country ideology.13 Rather than lying dormant, the Tory party attempted to mold this discontent into parliamentary victories and political change.14 By the 1740s and 1750s, the concerns of commercial imperialism and moral improvement were merged in Patriot ideology, which dominated the political opposition to the Whig establishment.15 In the first decade of George III’s reign, a radical and increasingly mass-based politics emerged in the form of the Wilkesite movement.16 Abandoning the Country ideology expressed in earlier decades, the political opposition to the oligarchic order was radicalized. This new radical politics, struggling for the expansion of commercial society and for the creation of more representative political institutions, had widespread appeal among the urban-based middling sort and plebeian classes.17 By the mideighteenth century, Britain was not characterized by political stability but rather by political conflict and ideological debate.

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During the era of the East India Company’s transformation into a territorial state, Britain and its global empire were in the midst of a fast-developing crisis. News of the EIC’s initial steps toward political and military supremacy in Bengal during the late 1750s and 1760s circulated in a metropolitan and pan-imperial context characterized by political upheaval. The political opposition to the oligarchic state transformed into radical Whiggism in the protests and riots surrounding the Wilkes affair in 1763. Merchants, petty manufacturers, shopkeepers, professionals, artisans, and tradesmen decried heavy taxation and began to demand more adequate representation within Parliament and the halls of power. Plebeian discontent increasingly took the form of industrial unrest and demands for higher wages. The kingdom’s political elite remained deeply divided as ministry after ministry attempted to stabilize the country following the Seven Years’ War, while George III and his chief advisor, the Earl of Bute, sought to loosen the shackles placed on the monarchy by the Whig establishment. The fiscal-military state seemed to many observers to be on the brink of disaster, as Britain’s European and global warfare with France had led to unprecedented government expenditures and a vast increase in the national debt. Popular challenges to ministerial management in Ireland undermined successive Dublin Castle governments and their London backers. The colonial resistance movement in North America opposed the British ministry’s and Parliament’s new imperial measures, leading to the disruption of the transatlantic economy. The instability and upheaval of the late 1750s, 1760s, and 1770s witnessed the return of principled political conflict and far-reaching ideological debate not seen in Britain since the “rage of party” in the early eighteenth century. The politics of the early years of George III’s reign was fundamentally characterized by the emergence of two increasingly coherent politico-ideological formations—radical Whiggism and New Toryism—that sought to make sense of the problems facing British society, to offer solutions to those problems, to generate support for the exercise of state power among the political classes and in the public sphere, and to wield state power to implement those solutions and influence the course of events. The cracks in the edifice of the British state and its empire were so numerous and varied that many feared for the country’s prosperity and even survival. “We live in an age of domestic & foreign paradoxes,” observed one of the Earl of Hardwicke’s many correspondents; “truth has at all times more or less been conceal’d in a well, but at present it seems to be buried in almost a bottomless pit, at home different views, different interests, among the intelligent infection

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of parties & factions among the ignorant, of whom there are taking the herd of mankind together 999 in a 1000.”18 Decrying the “confusion, attended with such neglect of business & followed by such general discontent,” Charles Townshend queried his brother in 1765: “in what a distress is the K[ing]? and in what condition are these kingdoms? is such a dilemma paralleled in the history of any times?” The influential politician was certain that “things hasten in this embarrassed country to some sudden revolution, and from this hour men of sense will review their notions of the balance of this government & of the comparative strength of the several orders of it.”19 In a parliamentary debate held in May 1768, Frederick Montagu spoke on the riots and unrest afflicting Britain and declared that “we are a ruined country, if neither the Civil, nor the military power will support us . . . if we could be attended with the divinity in Virgil we could then see, what shews us to be a distracted people, there is no confidence in Government, the great bonds of society are loosened.”20 Pleading against the expulsion of John Wilkes from the House of Commons in February 1769, no less a figure than George Grenville observed that the “temper of the People you have been truly told has on several occasions appear’d to be disorderly & licentious, spurning at the Laws & at all lawful Authority . . . the Difficulties we have to struggle with arising from the interior Condition of this Country, from the Disobedience of our Colonies & from the State of our Foreign Affairs are augmented to such a Degree as to form a very dangerous Crisis . . . the Respect & Reverence due to the Parliament & the Confidence reposed in this House are visibly diminished.” Given the growing political instability, the former prime minister recommended that Parliament deal tactfully with Wilkes and like-minded radical provocateurs, or else risk further angering an already inflamed populace. “Such a Clamour is no more than a sudden Gust of Wind which passes by & is forgotten, but when the public Discontent is founded in Truth & Reason, when the Sky lowers & hangs heavy all around us,” Grenville averred, “a Storm may then arise which may tear up the Constitution by the Roots & shake the Palace of the King himself.”21 While the East India Company’s servants were dealing with the crisis of the corporation’s affairs in Bengal, many back home feared that Britain and its empire were on the verge of collapse. The rich ideological debates and political conflicts entailed in these crises were not simply “background noise” for the emergence and consolidation of the Company’s territorial empire in Bengal. Rather, the EIC’s transformation and the metropolitan debates and conflicts that surrounded it were fundamentally constitutive of one another.22 British men and women, whether they lived

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in Calcutta, Kingston, or Glasgow, thought of their empire as a whole; their actions and ideas were formulated not only with reference to local circumstances but also in relation to the dangers and possibilities created by events taking place throughout the kingdom and its territories overseas. The Company’s emerging dominion in Bengal was not discussed and debated in a vacuum, but rather in the context of wide-ranging political and ideological conflict over many aspects of Britain’s state, society, and empire. The question of an Indian empire was undoubtedly provoked by events in Bengal, but its resolution was to an important degree determined by sociopolitical forces and politico-ideological conflicts centered in Britain. It is to those forces and conflicts, in particular to the rise and development of the New Toryism, that we now turn. The Grenville ministry supported the efforts of Clive and his allies to take control of the EIC in the hope that they would help to resolve Britain’s political-economic crisis. From 1763 to 1768, Grenville worked closely with two of his advisors and colonial experts, William Knox and Thomas Whately, on a number of memoranda and publications that sought to define the problems facing Britain and its empire.23 Their ideas can be outlined as follows. In order to help pay for its military expenditures, the British state relied on short-term and long-term loans (disproportionately from wealthy subscribers). These loans made up the national debt, and subscribers were issued securities that guaranteed them annual interest payments raised by taxation on British subjects. The government’s military expenditures during the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War led to a massive increase in the national debt. The growth of the debt at such a rapid rate seemed to imperil the state’s ability to meet its obligations to its creditors and thus created a sense of public uncertainty, diminishing the government’s capacity to raise new loans. By the early 1760s, public credit was in serious need of improvement. The only way to meet interest payments on old loans and to quell uncertainty regarding the debt, thus paving the way to secure new loans, was to increase domestic taxation. As raising the land tax too high placed the ministry at risk of losing support in a landlord-dominated House of Commons, new taxes inevitably fell on consumers as a whole in the form of excise taxes on the necessities of life. The resurgence of geopolitical rivalry in the 1740s led to a considerable increase in excise taxation. “Every thing except the water and the air is . . . in consequence [of the national debt] severely taxed,” observed a government advisor in 1759.24

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While such taxes allowed the government of the day to meet its obligations and to raise new loans, they inevitably fueled discontent among the middling and lower orders on whom they fell disproportionately. Burdened with heavy taxes from the 1740s on and enraged at the government, the British public was becoming increasingly riotous and susceptible to radical calls for political reform.25 Thus, Grenville’s circle concluded, geopolitical rivalry and warfare were leading to dramatic increases in debt and taxation, which in turn fueled the growth of political instability and radicalism. From their perspective, the situation was dire. The memoranda and pamphlets produced by these men spoke of the state of Britain in apocalyptic tones. “The great men have lost their influence over the lower order of the people; even parliament has lost much of its reverence with the subjects of the realm, and the voice of the multitude is set up against the sense of the legislature[,]” Knox averred in The Present State of the Nation: “An impoverished and heavily-burthened public! A declining trade and decreasing specie! A people luxurious and licentious, impatient of rule, and despising all authority! Government relaxed in every sinew, and a corrupt selfish spirit pervading the whole! The state destitute of alliances, and without respect from foreign nations! A powerful combination, anxious for an occasion to retrieve their honour, and wreak their vengeance upon her! If such be the circumstances of Great-Britain, who, that loves his king or his country, can be indifferent about public matters?”26 Political resistance to taxation posed a dangerous threat to public credit as well as to Britain’s long-term economic interests. By undermining the government’s ability to raise revenue from the population, it weakened investor confidence in the state and made it difficult for ministers to call on the sizable loans necessary to meet strategic commitments throughout the globe. If the government failed to protect vital interests such as trade routes and colonial settlements, the ensuing economic downturn and unemployment would further compound the fiscal crisis. It is easy to see why the Pittite and radical Whig insistence on continuing the Seven Years’ War and permanently curbing French power disturbed not only Grenville’s circle but also the majority of the political establishment. While Pitt was successful in achieving control over the conduct of the war and flooding every theater of struggle with money and manpower, both his traditional opponents-turned-coalition partners—the Whig establishment— and his former allies, the Tories and conservative Patriots, were increasingly troubled by the Pittite war effort’s implications for domestic state and society. Newcastle and the Whig establishment had formed a coalition ministry with

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their radical Patriot adversary in part to defuse the increasingly vociferous extra-parliamentary criticism of their foreign policy. However, Pitt’s successful conduct of the war drove a process of radicalization that many in the political elite viewed as deeply threatening. The Whig establishment had long been concerned with defusing and suppressing popular pressure on the post-1688 political regime, and they were increasingly worried by the growth of an anti-oligarchic, extra-parliamentary political culture in London and the provincial cities in the 1730s and 1740s. During Walpole’s administration, there was a successful popular mobilization to defeat tax reforms in the Excise Crisis of 1733, as well as extensive rioting in Edinburgh and London during 1736.27 There was widespread discontent with the government by the early 1740s, leading to Walpole’s resignation as prime minister. Many commentators saw these developments as a product of the anarchic tendencies generated by the interest-based civil society that necessarily accompanied commercial and industrial advance. Several leading statesmen and officials viewed the political opinion-makers of the urban middling sort as dangerous provocateurs intent on stirring up popular discontent in order to challenge the “natural rulers” of the country—the landed classes. “Nor can Opposition, right or wrong, want even Property to gild it over and to grace it . . . for Men arising from the lowest Level of the People, and advancing into considerable and easy Fortunes, are, by a natural Consequence, too often led to conspire against that very Felicity, Peace, Quiet, and Prosperity, to which alone they have owed their Existence,” remarked the increasingly conservative Earl of Egmont. “These Men rapine at what they never before had Leisure to consider; that there is still a certain difference between their Condition and that of another Rank, which they cannot remedy by all their Efforts to exceed them in Expence,” Egmont argued, “which . . . sours them with their own State, and inclines them to fall in with any popular Discontent . . . to create a Chaos, out of which they hope to emerge upon a Level with those they envy. From whence the Observation holds most true, That all Nations, in proportion to their Increase [of wealth and abundance], grow turbulent and factious, and from this Quarter arise those levelling Schemes, in the Contention for which, sooner or later, Anarchy ensues; and in the process of time, the Loss of that real Liberty, whose sacred Name is so often speciously prophaned by Malice and Ambition.”28 Leading statesmen and officials believed that a popular threat to the post-1688 regime was brewing beneath the surface of Hanoverian society.

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Many in the landed elite were deeply disturbed when, during the later 1750s, a radical Whig politics grew among the urban middling sort and supported Pitt’s war effort. Drawing attention to the spread of “the spirit of Jacobitism and Rebellion, so propagated (in its new disguise) to Varnish a man [Pitt] . . . of yet unknown benefits, to blacken the most Vigilent and Loyal administrations,” John Gordon warned Newcastle in 1756 that “the Language of this sect, becomes so much more intolerable, as to make Proselytes of the more unthinking to believe, the word Jacobite and Rebellion, was no more than the contrivance of a bad administration, to abuse the King and nation . . . and that more especially, among the tribes of the City, that so Idolizes the man in question.”29 Newcastle took such warnings seriously. The radical political views espoused by some of Pitt’s associates troubled the Whig establishment, and the cavalier manner in which the Patriot minister continued the war despite the strains it placed on the fiscal-military machinery of the British state— expanding the public debt to over £130 million and undermining the creditworthiness of the government—astonished the duke and his advisors.30 Several leading political figures—including Bute, George III, Charles Jenkinson, Grenville, the Earl of Egremont, and the Earl of Halifax—were deeply concerned with the ideas and opinions expressed by Pitt’s radical colleagues in London and the provincial urban centers in the later 1750s and early 1760s, as well as with Pitt’s own views regarding the unlimited fiscal resources that might be made available by the expansion of Britain’s trade and manufacturing. They concluded that the Pittite war effort threatened the domestic political order as much as it did Bourbon France. Drawing attention to Pitt’s popularity with Britain’s middling and lower ranks, conservative pamphleteers and propagandists condemned the radical Patriot leader for seeking support from beyond the political establishment. One writer invented a letter from Pitt to his supporters portraying him as a dangerous demagogue: “I think it but just that the multitude of good subjects, who have nobody to speak for them, should be allowed to speak for themselves; and I have always faithfully collected their opinions from the number of voices in the different streets of the metropolis. In return, your attachment to my service has been uniformly maintained, while people, who pretended to a greater share of discernment, were wavering in their opinions about me, or deserted my cause. The voice of the multitude, like a swelling stream, covered all my actions, concealed the false, unequal bottom of the channel it flowed in, and rapidly carried away all reason and argument before it.”31 During the late 1750s and early 1760s, the widespread fears regarding political radicalism coalesced into a coherent New Tory ideology.32

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An anti-radical political movement began to take shape in the circles surrounding Bute, George III, and Grenville. This movement allied longstanding Tories and conservative Patriots with important elements within the Whig establishment. Although Bute purged Old Corps Whig political appointees from the government after Newcastle’s departure from office in 1762, the social and political interests associated with the oligarchic order rallied around George III and his new ministry. While Tories and conservative Patriots were loyal to Pitt for much of the 1750s as part of their commitment to the Patriot program and its critique of the Whig establishment, they were increasingly disturbed by the political radicalism of several of the Great Commoner’s close allies.33 In the early 1760s, Tories and more conservative Patriots shifted their allegiance to Bute and George III, both of whom espoused a conservative Patriotism that emphasized overcoming party-political differences and uniting the populace around a newly nationalized monarchy.34 Radical Whigs took note of the shift of conservatives away from political opposition toward support for the Court and the ministry.35 Elements within the Whig establishment, once bitterly opposed to conservative Patriots and Tories, now aligned with them in order to stave off what was perceived as the looming threat posed by radical Whiggism. Together, these conservative-reactionary forces rejected calls for public oversight of government policy, sought to preserve the aristocratic-oligarchic character of the British state, and defended the unreformed King-in-Parliament system as the only political order appropriate for the country. Typical of the emerging New Tories was the Solicitor General and future Lord Chancellor Alexander Wedderburn, a close political ally of both Grenville and Clive. When he arrived in London from Scotland in the 1750s, Wedderburn was a Whig deeply committed to the Hanoverian Settlement and firmly opposed to the illiberal character of Tory political thought. Nevertheless, the depth and extent of the capital’s political radicalism led to a change in his views. By 1762, as his biographer relates, Wedderburn believed “that the right of the people to interfere in the affairs of government had been pushed to an inconvenient length” and that “the time was come when popular licentiousness might be repressed, and the people, ever incapable of governing themselves, might be governed by the prerogative which, for their benefit, God had bestowed upon his viceregent the King.”36 Troubled by the growth of massbased radical politics, Wedderburn penned an angry invective to Grenville in 1768. He contended that whole regions of the British Isles were becoming a “Great Bedlam under the dominion of a beggarly, idle, & intoxicated mob

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without Keepers, actuated solely by the word Wilkes which they use as Better Savages do a War Mosh to incite them in their Attempts to insult Government, & trample upon Law.” The Solicitor General was convinced that “[t]he Mob has been made sensible of its own importance, & the pleasure which the Rich & Powerful feel in governing those whom fate has made their Inferiors, is not half so strong; as that which the Indigent & worthless feel in subverting Property, defying Law, & lording It over those whom they used to respect.”37 The sense of alarm expressed by Wedderburn continued to grow among the ruling class in the 1760s. During the Seven Years’ War, riots broke out in opposition to the government’s taxation and militia policies. The Duke of Bedford wrote feverishly to Pitt in 1757 demanding that a revolt against militia enrollment in Biggleswade be put down with extreme severity. Such severity was necessary, the duke averred, in order to prevent the ill effects of “a bad example the suffering a giddy and riotous populace to stand in opposition to an act of parliament unnoticed may have upon the rest of the kingdom.”38 Lord Holdernesse made the increasingly commonplace observation that “the unbounded licentiousness of the News Writers is a great cause of the ungovernable spirit which unfortunately appears among all the Common People.”39 Indeed, the very word “licentiousness” became shorthand among the British ruling elite for a kind of political freedom that was incapable of staying in proper bounds and recognizing the limits imposed by social hierarchy. Activities deemed “licentious” included the smuggling conducted by petty traders on the Isle of Man, the riots of sailors demanding higher wages in Newcastle, and the propaganda campaigns of radical agitators such as Wilkes. The sociopolitical upheaval of the Seven Years’ War and Wilkesite radicalism often led conservative and moderate Whigs to rethink their political positions in dialogue with Tories. Despite their numerous personal differences and clashes, powerful figures including George III, Bute, Bedford, Grenville, and Egremont began to express a coherent and shared worldview. As Charles Ritcheson argues, this worldview and the political alliances forged around it were “becoming the seedbed of a new Tory party, although it was not to come to fruition for many decades.”40 This process, although fractured and complex, is what I refer to as the emergence of the New Toryism. By my use of the term “New Tory,” I do not intend to argue for any continuity of thought and practice stretching from the Tories of the Restoration era to the Tory Party of the nineteenth century. Rather, I mean to grasp the manner in which statesmen, officials, and opinion-makers of an impeccable Whig pedigree were

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pulling back from the potential political consequences of the socioeconomic changes that occurred in the aftermath of 1688.41 These Whigs were increasingly in dialogue with Tories and conservative Patriots who viewed the corruption of the Whig establishment as a manifestation of the social evils of mobile wealth and economic transformation. The New Tory worldview emerging during this period contended that radical Whiggism stemmed not from the desire to incorporate new social groups and economic interests into the relatively limited political settlement achieved in the Glorious Revolution, but rather from the luxury and decadence generated by an advanced commercial and manufacturing society. During the 1750s and 1760s, newspapers and pamphlets gave voice to anxieties about the culture of luxury generated by Britain’s wealthy commercial and manufacturing society and, even more importantly, about the political licentiousness purported to be an inevitable result of that culture.42 “Amongst the many reigning vices of the present age none have risen to a greater height than the fashionable vice of luxury, and few require a more immediate suppression,” remarked a writer in the London Magazine of September 1754; “indeed, in a trading nation like ours, luxury may be said to be the daughter of commerce and promoter of trade; for it is certain that our riches have encreased for some years past, in proportion as our commerce has been improved; and when people have accumulated wealth, they will not be content with necessaries, but their craving appetites, tastes and passions require to be indulged with superfluities.”43 This polemicist hoped that strong ministers would emerge to deal with these threats. “Luxury emasculates our minds, and makes us regardless of every thing but what relates to the gratification of its incessant and insatiable demands . . . and that corruption, its natural attendant, spreads its baneful infection so wide, as to threaten the undermining our constitution and the downfall of our state,” averred another concerned citizen in 1756. The overseas trade that Britain depended on was generating luxury, which “by increasing our pleasures, has increased our wants, and left us less time, or less inclination, to promote the welfare of the publick.” Unless vigorous ministerial and parliamentary measures were taken to rein in selfinterest and avarice, “loss of liberty and power must be the inevitable consequence, and our country will become a prey either to the intriguing ambition of a domestick tyrant, or to the superior power of a foreign invader.”44 Although luxury was the product of a dynamic economy, it inevitably undermined the basis of economic growth. “For luxury, by its constant, and natural consequences, leads a state to destruction; it not only emasculates the minds,

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and debilitates the bodies of people,” one scribbler declared in 1758, “but deprives them of their industry, which is the strength of every state; for no people were ever at once luxurious and industrious.”45 Although such arguments drew on ancient critiques of luxury and imperial decadence, the goals of their advocates were not atavistic but rather historically specific. The pamphleteers and politicians who enunciated this vision did not call for abandoning trade and manufacturing in favor of pastoral pleasures and bucolic calm, but rather for a more authoritarian and paternalist state. One such writer asked: “Ought not then a state . . . always to be attentive to the dangerous luxuries of a people, and contrive certain laws whereby they may restrain the growing licentiousness of a vice, which has so often enslaved the bravest people, and overthrown the mightiest empires?”46 Opinion-makers informed by such sentiments called for a range of measures to be implemented, including sumptuary laws, harsher punishments for crime, increased policing, and more extensive regulation of trade and navigation. “If the legislature doesn’t speedily use some method effectually to suppress the present spirit of rioting, which is become so general among the lower sorts of people,” averred an essayist in the Gentleman’s Magazine, “we shall very soon reap no benefit from the laws, nor will the power of the government afford us any protection from the plundering mob. If the state is to be preferred from universal confusion; if the liberties and properties of Britons are worth contending for; in short, if the laws, religion, and natural blessings of our country are to be regarded by us, and transmitted to posterity, the mob must be conquered.”47 These writers believed that Britain’s culture of luxury should be reined in by an authoritarian parliamentary state freely exercising its undiluted sovereign power. Samuel Johnson, the literary critic and New Tory pamphleteer, urged: “There must in every society be some power or other for which there is no appeal, which admits no restrictions, which pervades the whole mass of the community, regulates and adjusts all subordination, enacts laws or repeals them, erects or annuls judicatures; extends or contracts privileges, exempt itself from the question of control, and bounded only by physical necessity.”48 From the New Tory standpoint, radical Whiggism was part of a political degeneration caused by the animating impulses of a commercial and interestbased economy overflowing into every sphere of life, threatening to weaken public institutions beyond repair. During the Seven Years’ War, the Anglican parson John Brown published an enormously popular diatribe against luxury and effeminacy, titled An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times. This treatise sought to refute political economists who emphasized the advantages of

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expanding overseas trade, asserting that such maxims held true in the first and second stages of commercial development, but not for societies such as Britain and the Netherlands that had long since entered a third stage of wealth production. According to Brown, the “present exorbitant Degree of Trade and Wealth” was responsible for the factionalism and political divisions afflicting midHanoverian Britain. “They have produced a general Incapacity, have weakened the national Spirit of Defence, have heightened the national Disunion,” the parson contended.49 Many opinion-makers and officials viewed the political divisions and upheaval engulfing the country during and after the Seven Years’ War as the consequences of a reckless commercialism that had not been successfully reined in by the parliamentary state. Tobias Smollet, publisher of The Briton, observed that during the 1740s “commerce and manufacture flourished again, to such a degree of encrease as had never been known in the island, but this advantage was attended with an irresistible tide of luxury and excess, which flowed through all degrees of the people, breaking down all the mounds of civil polity, and opening a way for license and immorality . . . highways were infested with rapine and assassination; the cities teemed with the brutal votaries of lewdness, intemperance, and profligacy; and the whole land was overspread with a succession of tumult, riot, and insurrection.” Deeply skeptical of rapid and extensive commercialization, Smollett contended that, in the years leading up to and including the Seven Years’ War, “the tide of luxury still flowed with an impetuous current, bearing down all the mounds of temperance and decorum . . . while fraud and profligacy struck out new channels, through which they eluded the restrictions of the law, and vigilance of civil policy.”50 Tapped by Wedderburn to write against Pitt and in favor of Bute’s peace negotiations with France, Smollett advocated New Tory principles and decried London’s political radicals. He claimed that these radicals “espoused the plebeian interests, from an innate aversion to all order and restraint . . . [t]his, however, I take to be a mistaken philanthropy, which, conceiving every individual to be equally free by nature, draws this erroneous inference, that every individual has an equal right to meddle in public affairs, a principle subversive of all government, magistracy and subordination; a principle destructive to all industry and national quiet, as well as repugnant to every fundamental maxim of society.”51 From the standpoint of the New Toryism, commercial and industrial advance spawned the reckless pursuit of selfinterest, which in turn threatened to undermine economic growth and the political order.

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Government ministers and officials were deeply concerned with the growing problem of political radicalism in the late 1750s and 1760s. George III and Bute worried about the luxurious habits widespread among the lower classes and sought to address the problem.52 Several commentators believed that plebeian resistance to taxation and demands for higher wages were a product of such luxury and licentiousness.53 By the spring of 1763, when Grenville replaced Bute as prime minister, Britain and its empire seemed to be on the brink of collapse: smuggling flourished on the Atlantic, conflicts were brewing between metropolitan officials and the colonists in North America, the levying of excise taxes caused widespread rioting, and Wilkes’s propaganda scathingly criticized the character and policies of the governing elite.54 Undaunted by the task that lay before him, Grenville informed the king that the government he was planning with the Earls of Egremont and Halifax would stem the tide of political and social anarchy. George III advised his new first minister “that it was necessary to restrain the licentiousness of the times; that even the carrying a criminal to justice (the coachman condemned for a rape), the people had interposed and endeavoured to prevent his execution; that it was time a remedy should be found to these evils, for that if he suffered force to be put upon him by the Opposition, the mob would try to govern him next.”55 New Tory ideology was put into practice in the prosecution of Wilkes for seditious libel in 1763, and in the implementation of new Atlantic imperial measures from 1763 to 1765. There were two major phases in the emergence of the New Toryism. The first phase stemmed from roughly the late 1750s to 1763 and entailed bringing the Seven Years’ War to a conclusion. Deeply troubled by the expansion of the national debt and the growth of domestic radicalism, several politicians and propagandists began to openly criticize Pitt’s war effort. In 1760, Israel Maudit published a full-scale critique of the war’s direction, titled Considerations on the Present German War. Maudit asked his readers to consider the fiscal consequences of continuing the war in Europe: “Will any man avow the running his country a hundred millions farther in debt? Dare we imagine, that our credit can extend so far; or our manufactures and exports, bear the load of such an interest? I will leave the reader to picture to himself, what must happen long before we have gone such a length.”56 He tapped into widespread concerns, and his work ran through five editions in a few months.57 The pamphlet was well received within conservative Patriot and Tory circles around George III, and the Bute ministry rewarded Maudit with a post.58 Moving from printed propaganda to practice, New Tory ministers and officials sought to end the war following the accession of George III in late 1760.

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“Notwithstanding the British arms continued successful in every quarter of the world,” lamented the radical Whig John Almon, “yet it was the firm and unalterable resolution of the British cabinet, to make peace with the utmost expedition.”59 Bute and the new king undermined Pitt’s strategic aims by refusing to declare war against Spain in 1761.60 After Pitt and Newcastle left office, the Bute ministry undertook negotiations with France to end the war. By doing so, it decisively transformed British foreign and imperial policy. While Pitt had pursued a radical foreign policy that sought maximal victory over France in European and especially in overseas theaters, Bute implemented a conservative Patriot and Tory foreign policy that was opposed to continental entanglements and the expansion of the national debt.61 It was in this context that Grenville shifted his allegiance to Bute and developed the key New Tory imperial policies. Although Grenville and Pitt were connected through marriage and had been political allies during the 1740s and 1750s, they became bitter enemies when Grenville joined the Bute ministry and failed to accompany Pitt into political opposition. Grenville’s decision was not motivated by careerism, but rather by principled commitments. While Pitt was increasingly aligned with radical Whigs who supported continuing the war against France, Grenville was deeply troubled by the growth of the national debt and political radicalism. The Earl of Fife later remarked that, “in the times of Mr P[itt’s] greatest Popularity when the Gold Snuff boxes were coming from every corner, I can bear my Testimony to Mr Grenville’s grieving at the Squandering the publick money, & at the great additional National Debt which Posterity must feel the burden of.”62 Grenville supported Bute’s efforts to curb radicalism and to end the war, although they vigorously disagreed over the peace provisions.63 In 1765, one writer claimed that “Mr. Grenville considered the opinion we enter[tain]ed of the late war, and the value we set on our conquests, as the effect of popular madness, in all his speeches, and those of his faction, it was always spoken of under the appellation the unfortunate war.”64 Grenville became a leading figure among politicians and civil servants who shared his concerns about the war, the problems of public finance, and the growth of radical Whiggism. After becoming prime minister in 1763, Grenville maintained links with Tories and conservative Patriots, often rewarding them with patronage.65 He was at the forefront of the emerging New Toryism. While Bute’s primary objective had been ending the war, Grenville’s administration was forced to deal with the conflict’s consequences. Between 1763 and 1765, the emergent New Toryism shifted into its second phase. After

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assuming power in the spring of 1763, Grenville confronted the problems entailed in reducing the immense national debt, grappling with the growth of domestic radicalism and resistance to taxation, and governing a vastly expanded empire.66 The ministry sought to reduce government expenditure and to increase public revenue. It did so while remaining concerned about further inflaming popular discontent and fueling political radicalism, especially given the riots provoked by a new excise duty on cider in 1763. The problems of garrisoning and governing the New World territories acquired from France and Spain greatly increased the strains on Britain’s fiscal-military state. Given that the majority of peacetime expenditure went to paying the annual interest of £5 million owed on the national debt, now nearing £140 million, the Grenville ministry needed to raise the additional revenue required for imperial governance and defense from the Atlantic colonies. The prime minister was deeply troubled by the extent of illegal trade in British North America and the West Indies, as well as by the “spirit of licentiousness” that the colonists and their assemblies displayed in failing to contribute sufficient revenue and troops to fight the war against France. Consequently, he sought to increase metropolitan supervision and authority over the colonies by reorganizing and politically centralizing the Atlantic empire. In their totality, the Grenville ministry’s imperial reforms and initiatives between 1763 and 1765 had the potential to transform the American colonies into a politically autocratic and economically extractive dominion, in which the needs of colonial society were subordinated to the fiscal necessities and political directives of the metropole and its ruling elite.67 The new Atlantic imperialism was born. The objectives of the Grenville ministry’s imperial program were to maintain a peacetime standing army in North America, to extend and enforce the laws of trade and navigation, and to accomplish these tasks in a manner that made imperial administration less dependent on colonial institutions. As the Seven Years’ War drew to a close, the Bute ministry made the decision to station 10,000 British soldiers in North America—doubling the size of the prewar army there—in order to control and defend new territories in Canada, Florida, and west of the Appalachians.68 The ministry’s plan for raising revenue for the maintenance of the standing army proved to be extremely controversial in the colonies. Breaking with the tradition of royal requisitions, in which the Crown asked each colony for revenue and the colonial assembly raised it, the costs of imperial defense were now to be met in part by taxes directly levied on the colonies by the British Parliament. At the same time,

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the ministry, building on steps taken during the final years of the war, reinvigorated the enforcement of the parliamentary trade and navigation laws, which had been evaded in the colonies for decades, in order to raise revenue and to stem the “licentious” corruption and smuggling that flourished in colonial America. These two objectives—to maintain a standing army and to enforce the laws of trade and navigation—were combined and expanded with Parliament’s passage of the Sugar Act in 1764. This legislation extended the trade laws, adding commercial regulations and customs duties on consumer goods imported into the colonies, and also created new methods of enforcement: an expanded customs service with greater authority of search and seizure, the Royal Navy empowered to crack down on colonial smuggling, and trial without jury for customs violations (to be held in vice-admiralty courts with royally appointed judges).69 In addition to imposing new customs duties, the Sugar Act lowered the duty on foreign molasses. The Grenville ministry aimed to reduce smuggling, to raise revenue, and to fund the army by lowering the molasses duty and vigorously enforcing collection. In passing this legislation, Parliament went well beyond its traditional practice of imposing duties in order to regulate imperial trade. Britain was now taxing the colonies in order to raise revenue. These measures were all a prelude to the most controversial aspect of the Grenville ministry’s imperial program, the Stamp Act passed in March 1765. The stamp tax affected many forms of paper ranging from legal documents to playing cards, and was designed to offset the costs of imperial defense. A direct, internal tax on the Atlantic colonies, it represented a dramatic departure from past imperial practice. Combined with the royal proclamation of 1763—which created several royal colonies, prohibited colonial settlement west of the Appalachians, and heavily regulated colonial trade with the Amerindians—the Quartering Act of 1765, which required colonial assemblies to pay for quartering and provisioning the standing army, and the rest of the Grenville program, the Stamp Act established unprecedented levels of metropolitan intervention in and authority over the Atlantic colonies. The peacetime standing army was crucial not only for imperial defense but also for upholding metropolitan authority and increasing revenue collection in the colonies. Additionally, the stationing of the troops in North America would reduce military costs in Britain. As one government advisor claimed, the army would allow the ministry to reduce “the Military Establishment for Great Britain . . . to Guards for England, and Garrisons for Scotland, for the

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American Troops might be more conveniently transported to the French or Spanish Settlements, should either of those States think of breaking with us again, than Troops could be carried thither from England.”70 The very same troops were to be used to extend metropolitan control over the colonies and to enforce the new imperial regulations and taxes passed by Parliament.71 By the early 1760s, British ministers and officials had grown weary of colonial evasion and undermining of metropolitan authority. The same government advisor averred that the colonists “consider themselves as intitled to a greater measure of Liberty than is enjoyed by the People of England, because of their quitting their Native Country, to make Settlements for the advantage of Great Britain in the Wilds of America.” Thus the standing army was “necessary for securing the Dependence of the Colonys on Great Britain; for giving them Protection and thereby diverting their attention from Military Affairs,” and “because the circumstances of England required that her burdens should be lightened by distributing them amongst the several Members of her Empire, in proportion to their ability to support them.” This advisor suggested that the “Lodgment of these Troops” should be “so situated as to protect, and at the same time Command the cheif Trading Towns.”72 In the spirit of this suggestion, the Grenville ministry sought to station troops near colonial ports in order to support customs collectors.73 In their totality, the new colonial policies pursued between 1763 and 1765 sought to militarize and to politically centralize Britain’s Atlantic empire, and ultimately to make imperial administration independent of colonial assemblies and institutions. The numerous frictions and conflicts between colonial authorities and imperial officials during the Seven Years’ War, over issues ranging from military requisitions to observance of the laws of trade and navigation, led many in Britain’s ruling elite and in Whitehall’s bureaucracy to support increased metropolitan supervision and control over the colonies. Grenville’s administration and advisors—from the Earl of Halifax and the Earl of Sandwich to Knox and Whately—were especially convinced of the necessity of strengthening imperial governance and diminishing the power of colonial assemblies. As Leland Bellot argues, Knox, perhaps Grenville’s most important imperial advisor, was “convinced that overmighty colonial assemblies posed the greatest potential threat to the imperial connection.”74 The immense postwar strains on Britain’s fiscal-military state and vastly expanded empire, coupled with the growth of domestic radicalism and resistance to taxation, meant not only that more revenue had to be extracted from the colonies but also that revenue-raising capacities could not depend on the will of a recalcitrant

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colonial population. By securing Parliament’s direct taxation of the colonies, the tightening and extension of the laws of trade and navigation, and greater enforcement powers for Crown officials, the British government would be able to circumvent colonial institutions and to raise imperial revenue without difficulty. “I have done my duty by endeavouring to assert the Sovereignty of the King & Parl[iamen]t of Great Britain over all the Dominions belonging to the Crown,” Grenville argued in defense of his colonial policies, “& to make all the Subjects of the Kingdom contribute to the public Burthens for their own Defence according to their Abilities & Situation.”75 The New Tory Grenville program asserted metropolitan authority over the colonies in an unprecedented fashion, leading to an organized colonial resistance in short order and setting in train an imperial crisis that wracked the British Atlantic for over a decade. As Dora Mae Clark contends, the “Americans immediately recognized the threat to their assemblies and their legislative power.”76 The New Tories in the Grenville ministry and among the wider ruling elite believed it essential to establish and to uphold the undiminished sovereignty of Parliament over the American colonies, including the ability to raise revenue without reference to colonial assemblies. If imperial administration in the Atlantic colonies was no longer subject to the whims of colonial elites and assemblies, Grenville argued that it would be able to “give [the population] good Laws & good Government on the one hand & to exact from them on the other hand that just obedience & Subordination which by the original Compact of all Society is the Return due for it.”77 The political centralization and militarization entailed in these New Tory imperial policies, including the vast patronage resources in the colonies that accrued to the British government as a result of them, would allow the imperial state to rule the British Atlantic world without reference to colonial assemblies. The imperial state would thus rule above colonial society instead of through it. The resistance movement that arose in British North America was not primarily motivated by the costs or regulations associated with the Grenville program, but rather by opposition to the new political order that the program threatened to establish in the colonies. The transformed imperial administration would be responsive to the fiscal and military necessities of the metropole and its ruling elite, not to the needs and aspirations of colonial society. While the British political establishment was mostly unrepresentative of Great Britain, it was wholly unrepresentative of colonial America. During the early years of George III’s reign, the New Toryism sought to uphold the absolute sovereignty of the King-in-Parliament political system

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over all the Crown’s subjects from Bristol to Boston. The New Tories aggressively asserted the authority of the unreformed and unrepresentative parliamentary political order, dominated by the aristocracy and greater gentry, against the claims and demands of unruly subjects both at home and overseas. When the colonial American resistance movement was organized, a second front was opened up in the New Tory struggle against radical Whiggism. The New Tories believed that Britain and its empire were threatened by popular licentiousness and political radicalism, and thus that the aristocratic-oligarchic state needed to be vigorously defended on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the Grenville ministry fell from power in 1765 and the successor Rockingham ministry repealed the Stamp Act in 1766, much of the new imperial program remained intact, and Parliament confirmed its absolute sovereignty over the American colonies with the passage of the Declaratory Act. Furthermore, in 1767, imperial measures were passed by Parliament that aimed to achieve the objectives of the Stamp Act by other means. This legislation was designed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend— a New Tory politician who strongly advocated asserting greater metropolitan authority over the colonies. The relative political and economic autonomy of the colonies that existed during the period of “Salutary Neglect” was to be replaced by an imperial state capable of ruling over and extracting wealth from the colonists without the effective input of their assemblies and institutions. The New Tories sought to transform the Atlantic colonies into a politically autocratic and economically extractive dominion. In aiming to bring the colonies into due subordination, they provoked an imperial crisis and ultimately the American Revolution. It was in this context—that is, the shift of the New Toryism away from concluding the Seven Years’ War toward confronting the war’s consequences and transforming the character of British imperial expansion—that Clive initially approached Grenville in order to enlist his services at East India House. Between 1757 and the early 1760s, Clive had lobbied Britain’s political class to create a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent. He insisted that the consolidation of a durable political and military supremacy in Bengal was the only viable way to secure the interests of the EIC and Britain in Asia. Beginning in 1757, the Baron of Plassey developed an imperial project that aimed to capture Bengal’s landed wealth for British interests. While the concerns of Clive and Grenville initially revolved around short-term political and economic interests—that is, the restoration of Clive’s jagir and Grenville’s need

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to maintain and build a majority in Parliament—the crisis in Indian affairs that emerged in 1763 soon transformed their relationship. The news that Mir Qasim was leading an alliance of South Asian powers against the East India Company generated widespread fear in the metropole. For the Grenville ministry, this upheaval represented one more in a series of crises that threatened to unravel Britain’s imperial state. In 1763, during the Clive-Rous alliance’s struggle to gain supremacy at East India House and in the midst of the confrontation between the oligarchic order and bourgeois radicalism, Robert Orme, Clive’s ally and a former EIC employee in Madras, published the first volume of his renowned History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan. Orme’s text, which began with the year 1745, was both a work of remarkable historical scholarship and a propagandistic set piece for the “heaven-born general’s” imperial project. Clive’s military victories and daring exploits were chronicled in detail for British domestic consumption, while the precarious nature of the Company’s commercial settlements beyond the Cape of Good Hope served as a background theme. Focusing on the natural wealth of Bengal and the South Asian landmass in his introductory dissertation on the Mughal conquests, Orme contended that the immense fertility and productivity of the subcontinent left its indigenous population in a precarious position.78 “But not content with the presents which nature has showered on their climate, they have made improvements when they felt no necessities,” the EIC historiographer observed; “they have cultivated the various and valuable productions of their soil, not to the measure of their own but to that of the wants of all other nations; they have carried their manufactures of linnen to a perfection which surpasses the most exquisite productions of Europe, and have encouraged with avidity the annual tribute of gold and silver which the rest of the world contest for the privilege of sending them.” Despite the potential benefits of this situation, Orme contended that Bengal’s vast wealth left the indigenous population weak, indolent, and “from time immemorial as addicted to commerce, as they are averse to war.” Orme described to the British reading public what he believed to be the central problem of Indian society, insisting that “they have always been immensely rich, and have always remained incapable of defending their wealth.” While the Company historiographer contended that the indigenous population’s only desire was “that others should have looked on them with the same indifference with which they regarded the rest of the world,” he spent three volumes demonstrating that such a wish could never be fulfilled.79 The dissolution of the Mughal

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Empire, as well as the geopolitical ambitions of France and other European powers, left the subcontinent vulnerable to exploitation and depredation. At the center of Orme’s narrative were the heroic deeds of Clive, the EIC military commander with whom he worked closely throughout the 1750s and early 1760s. In many ways, Orme’s magisterial history served as a literary expression of the ideological vision that Clive forcefully advanced in the business and political circles of London. According to this vision, British imperial authority was capable of providing the just and paternalist protection necessary for Bengal’s indolent and feeble but nevertheless naturally productive society. In return for securing northeastern India from the machinations of perfidious Asian and European predators, Britain could expect unlimited access to its bountiful riches. When news of the Company’s war with Bengal’s Nawab reached London in late 1763 and early 1764, the widespread fear it engendered revived Clive’s imperial ambitions. The political-economic crisis generated by this conflict as well as by the wider problems of postwar finance, domestic radicalism, and Atlantic imperial regulation was the background against which Clive allied with Grenville to coordinate the takeover of East India House and to return the military commander to Bengal. Clive’s territorial-imperialist ambitions and Grenville’s struggle to solve the crisis of the British state cemented a firm partnership between them. The Clivites required the political support of the ministry to overcome Laurence Sulivan’s entrenched position at East India House, and the ministry desperately needed to stabilize the EIC’s position in Bengal and to find alternative and politically viable sources of revenue. There were obvious reasons why Grenville’s administration would support any political project that promised to stabilize the Company’s position in India. As a monied corporation with a large stake in the national debt, and as a publicly traded company whose highly sought-after stock played an important role in the London financial market, the EIC was a crucial component of the fiscal-military state. Whenever its position beyond the Cape of Good Hope was precarious, the ministry of the day inevitably supported the corporation to the fullest extent possible. Beyond this obvious element, the Clivite program held additional attractions for Grenville’s circle. This program sought to consolidate the Company’s territorial empire in Bengal and, in doing so, to increase commercial profits while capturing provincial land revenue. Such profits and revenue would flow into EIC coffers back home, and thereby secure a key public creditor during a fiscal crisis. Furthermore, such profits and revenue would make additional funds available to the EIC—funds

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that might be used to make loans to the government. The growth of the corporation’s profits and revenue would lead to increased shareholder dividends. The Company’s leading shareholders were London’s elite merchants and financiers, who were the most important subscribers to government loans. The ministry could expect to benefit from expanding the income at the City elite’s disposal. Beyond stabilizing the EIC’s position in Asia and providing revenue for various metropolitan interests, the Clivite project’s aim to consolidate a militarized garrison state in Bengal also held out the prospect of a self-financing patronage empire. In order to improve public credit without raising taxes, Grenville and the New Tories were under pressure at home to reduce government patronage and to cut back on public expenditure. If the Company was able to establish a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent, the vast number of administrative and military positions entailed in governing such an empire would provide crucial patronage resources for the ministry. Such resources would not require government or EIC expenditure, but rather would be financed by the land revenue acquired with political dominion in Bengal. All in all, territorial imperialism in northeastern India promised to provide fiscal benefits, geopolitical security, and self-financing patronage for the British government precisely when it most needed them. Clive’s project also promised to address the problems posed by the extensive commercial interests and political radicalism of Company servants and British private traders. As we saw in chapter 3, the expansion of British private trade throughout Bengal in the aftermath of Plassey destabilized the EIC’s relations with the nawabi regime and ultimately ushered in the war with Mir Qasim. The Grenville-Clive alliance believed that the rampant commercialism of the Company’s employees threatened not only the oligarchic order and fiscal-military state in which the corporation played a crucial role, but also the EIC’s very existence. Grenville and the New Tories viewed the pursuit of private interests by the Company’s employees as another instance of the degenerate luxury and licentiousness that was inundating Britain and its Atlantic empire. From this perspective, the EIC’s insubordinate servants in Bengal were no different from smugglers on the Atlantic, rebellious colonial subjects in North America, or incendiary radical Whigs and Wilkesites in Britain itself. The New Tories contended that the activities of all these groups reflected the political licentiousness that accompanied commercial and industrial advance. The Grenville-Clive alliance viewed the assertiveness of the Company’s servants as a product of the vast expansion of British trade in post-Plassey

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Bengal. The Clivites contended that a militarized garrison state in northeastern India would curb the insubordination of Company servants and private traders. Molded by the Grenville ministry, Clive’s militarism would rein in the commercial decadence enveloping Bengal, parry all indigenous and European threats, and transform the EIC into an autocratic and tributary territorial empire responsible for remitting revenue back to various metropolitan interests. By the time Clive arrived in India in April 1765, Mir Qasim and his allies had been defeated and British forces were in complete control of Bengal. The Baron of Plassey sought to transform this situation into a durable political and military supremacy, writing a letter to Chairman Thomas Rous effectively informing him that the Company would soon be a sovereign state in India: Can it then be doubted that a large Army of Europeans would effectually preserve to us the Sovereignty, as I may call it, not only by keeping in Awe the Ambition of any Country Prince, but by rendering us so truly formidable, that no French, Dutch, or other Enemy could ever dare to molest us? . . . We must indeed become the Nabobs ourselves in Fact, if not in Name, perhaps totally so without Disguise, but on this Subject I cannot be positive until my arrival at Bengal. Let us, and without delay, compleat our three European Regiments to one thousand each. Such an Army together with five hundred light Horse, 3 or 4 Companies of Artillery, and the Troops of the Country will absolutely render us invincible. In short, if Riches and Stability are the Objects of the Company, this is the Method, the only Method we now have for attaining and securing them.80 Central to Clive’s vision of a militarized Company State was a “Plan of Reformation” for the Bengal presidency’s civil department. “Rapacity and Luxury; the unreasonable desire of many to acquire in an Instant, what only a few can, or ought to possess” were, Clive contended, the reigning vices in the corporation’s Calcutta administration, and “every man would be rich and without the Merits of long Service and from this incessant Competition undoubtedly springs that Disorder to which we must apply a Remedy, or be undone, for it is not only malignant but contagious.”81 Clive wielded the extraordinary civilian and military powers at the disposal of the Select Committee—powers obtained with the support of the Grenville ministry—to carry out a series of purges in the Company’s Calcutta presidency.82 “You will learn what Struggles are making throughout this Settlement for what the Gentlemen called

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Independency,” the Baron of Plassey wrote to Orme in February 1766. “I call it Licentiousness and a struggle whether the immense Revenues of Bengal, Bahar and Orissa shall go into the Pockets of Individuals or the Company.”83 Clive was committed to consolidating an imperial state that curbed the independence of EIC servants and that remitted Bengal’s revenue to the Company’s headquarters in London. “I do declare, by that Great Being who is the searcher of all hearts,” he informed John Carnac, “that I am come out with a mind superior to all corruption, and that I am determined to destroy those great and growing evils, or perish in the attempt.”84 Clive carried out his “Plan of Reformation” in Calcutta and implemented a series of measures designed to create a paternalist corps of salaried bureaucrats and officers. This corps was meant to rule, not to profit. By dismissing from office “corrupt” and “degenerate” members of the corporation’s service, Clive hoped to lift the EIC’s administration out of the sphere of circulation. “The Court of Directors must supply the Settlement with young men more moderate, or less eager in their pursuit of Wealth,” he informed Rous in 1765, “and we may perhaps be reduced to the necessity of drawing some Senior Servants from the other Settlements.” Rather than employing mere mechanics or tradesmen, the Baron of Plassey insisted that the EIC’s directors “must . . . do all in your Power to send out proper Gentlemen.”85 These gentlemanly administrators were to rule above colonial society instead of through it, uncorrupted by commercialism and licentiousness. Although Clive’s second Bengal governorship only lasted from 1765 to 1767, he was nevertheless able to lay down the basic contours of a New Tory civil service that administered the Company State and that ensured the transfer of Bengal’s revenue to London’s mercantile and financial elite. Clive’s acquisition of the diwani was integral to the New Tory imperial project. His decision to obtain the land revenue of northeastern India, thus transforming the EIC into a tributary territorial empire, was not undertaken solely in response to irresistible sub-imperialist pressures. It was also intended to serve a metropolitan political project that aimed to reduce the national debt, to improve public credit, and to stave off the challenge posed to the oligarchic order by political radicalism. “Give me leave to call to your Remembrance some discourse we had together about the Company’s affairs (in which the Honor and Interest of our Nation was so much concern’d) and to inform You I have now the particular Satisfaction of seeing the great Object of my Wishes nearly accomplished,” Clive declared to Grenville after receiving the diwani from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II in 1765:

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[t]he enclosed Copy of my Letter to the Court of Directors and a Map of Bengal with some Marginal Explanations will open to you a full view of the present great & florishing Condition of our East India Compy & then how near it was to destruction from Corruption Extortion and Luxury, if You have leisure and Inclination to be further acquainted with our Transactions, Mr. Walsh has Orders from me to lay before You our Proceedings. May what we are about, in times of Distress and Necessity, contribute towards lessening the Debt of the Nation. If You imagine the King can find Amusement in perusing any of these Papers or some particular Friends whom You can trust I shall have no Objection. I hope by this Years Conveyance to send you a particular Account of the Revenues of the Provinces which put under proper Management cannot fall short of 4 millions per Annum [emphasis mine].86 By acquiring the diwani from the Emperor, Clive finally fulfilled the imperial ambitions he had first developed in the aftermath of Plassey. As the Mughal’s Diwan, the EIC controlled the vast territorial revenue of Bengal and consolidated a durable political and military supremacy in northeastern India. While the nawabi regime remained formally responsible for Bengal’s internal policing and external defense, in reality it was a mere shadow of its former self. The Nawab was now fully dependent on the Company, which maintained a tax-office state devoted to extracting revenue from the province’s peasantry. A few weeks after acquiring the diwani, Clive wrote to Grenville once again—this time including well wishes for the ministry’s continuing struggle against Wilkes—and contended that his efforts to consolidate a territorial empire and to curb the licentiousness and private trade of EIC servants were closely aligned with the prime minister’s struggles to resolve the crisis of postwar finance and to stave off the challenge posed by political radicalism: Engaged as I hope You are in conducting the competent Concerns of the Nation, I can hardly expect You should find Leisure to enter minutely into the Affairs of these distant Provinces, and yet when I consider how far the Interests of Great Britain are connected with those of the East India Company, I am confident that your Zealous Attachment to the former, will not suffer You to be indifferent to the latter. . . . You will have acquired a clear Idea of the Corruption, as well as of the Riches of this Country. Agreeable to my Promise, I send You by this

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Conveyance a Sketch of the Revenues of these Provinces, the exactness of which, You may depend upon, and likewise a Copy of my Letter to the Court of Directors. . . . The Labors of the Field, in which the early part of my Life was so much employed, I look back upon as Trifles compared to what I have undertaken by this expedition. The Country indeed is settled in Peace, but Corruption and Licentiousness have such strong Hold of the British Inhabitants, that I almost despair of effecting that Reformation which is so absolutely requisite, for the Prosperity of the Company’s Affairs. In short, unless the present Court of Directors support me in the Measures I have here pursued, I am certain that the immense Revenues and Commerce of Bengal must either be soon totally lost to the English, or taken in hand by You; of these two Evils I wish the last, but I will labor to prevent both. Your Second Victory in the Question relating to the General Warrants, has, I hope, effectually cooled the heat of Opposition. My own situation makes me often think of the vexation and fatigue of yours.87 When Clive set sail from Britain in June 1764, he was traveling to Bengal not merely to stabilize the British position in South Asia but also to command the eastern front in the war being waged against radical Whiggism. The New Tories viewed the imperial crises in India and America as the result of the rampant commercialism and increasing independence of British subjects operating on the colonial periphery. In response, Grenville and his collaborators both implemented the Atlantic imperial reforms that ultimately provoked the American Revolution and intervened powerfully in the Company’s election in order to ensure that Clive was returned to Bengal. Grenville informed Clive in 1766 that “the Scenes of Corruption on the one Hand & Licentiousness on the other which have been opened in the East Indies, have been at least as notorious in the other Parts of His Majesty’s Dominions, & will I much fear be Attended with the same unhappy Consequences in all.”88 According to the New Toryism, the dilemmas of the British Empire were the dilemmas of domestic politics writ large: the licentiousness and rampant selfinterest generated by commercial and industrial advance threatened to topple the entire imperial edifice. In 1765 Clive informed the EIC’s directors of his plans for a paternalist officer corps designed to replace the “degenerate” Company servants that he confronted upon arriving in Calcutta: “The sudden, and among many, the unwarrantable acquisitions of wealth, had introduced luxury in every shape,

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and in its most pernicious excess. These two enormous evils went hand in hand together through the whole Presidency, infecting almost every member of each department. Every inferiour seemed to have grasped at wealth, that he might be enabled to assume the spirit of profusion which was now the only distinction between him and his superior. Thus all distinction ceased, and every rank became in a manner upon an equality. . . . You will be pleased upon the whole, to observe, the great object of my labor has been (and it must also be yours) to stop that torrent of luxury, corruption and licentiousness which have nearly overwhelmed the interest, and I might add, the existence of the Company in these parts[.]”89 As part of his effort to erect an autocratic imperial state, Clive established commodity monopolies and reformed the army.90 British Bengal would not be allowed to slide into the luxury, decadence, and licentiousness of an advanced commercial society, nor would it be included within the maritime “empire of liberty.” Clive’s acquisition of the diwani and his consolidation of a militarized garrison state in Bengal were the South Asian equivalent of the British Atlantic imperial measures implemented in North America to subdue the licentiousness and rebelliousness of the colonial population. The New Tory imperialism sought to establish autocratic states in both North America and South Asia responsible for remitting revenue back to the metropole. This revenue, in turn, was intended to reduce the national debt, to improve public credit, and to stave off the challenges posed by radical Whiggism. In both cases, the subjection of the colonial periphery was to pave the way for the subjection of the metropole. When Grenville finally received news regarding the diwani in 1766, he was no longer in power. Nevertheless, the former prime minister was extremely pleased. “You will have heard long before this can reach You of the Various Changes which have been made in His Majestys Administration after Your Departure for the East Indies in Consequence of which for some time past I have had nothing to do with the Public Busyness except only to vindicate my own Honor & Character, to Continue to Support in Parliament the same Measures & Plan out of office, which I pursued whilest I had the Honor to serve the King & the Public[,]” Grenville informed Clive; “[w]ith this view I have endeavourd to promote as far as I have been able that Plan which was formd for the Direction of the East India Company’s affairs at the Time when You set out for India to execute the very difficult Task which you had undertaken, & which You justly tell me You find harder to go thro’ with than those glorious Labors of the Field in which the early Part of Your Life was so much

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employd.” The former prime minister perused the notes on the diwani provided to him by Walsh and remarked to Clive that “they Contain the Strongest Proofs of the Infinite Importance which your late Treaty & the Acquisitions confirmed by it are of to the Company, & thro’ them to the Public; I say thro’ them because however desirous I may be to lessen that Burthen of the Public Debt under which we are Sinking, Yet You will find me at Your Return as You left me, desirous to do it by legal & just means, & not by the Violation of Charters, & of the Public Faith, on the Strict Preservation of which our last Hopes, must, I think depend.”91 Although Grenville supported the consolidation of a tributary empire on the Indian subcontinent, he believed that all the territory and revenue should remain under the EIC’s control. While Clive had emphasized the potential for the direct transfer of Bengal’s wealth to the British state since 1759, Grenville insisted that such wealth be used to buttress the Company and the elite merchants and financiers who stood at its helm. The wealth of India would eventually be made available to the British state through the public loans and grants provided by EIC directors and shareholders as well as through the vast self-financing patronage resources entailed in a territorial empire. The origins and early formation of British India were deeply bound up with the crises and conflicts that spanned across Britain and its global empire. The Raj was not born in “a fit of absence of mind,” but rather in a political struggle that sought to determine the future evolution of Britain’s state and society. Instead of simply seizing Bengal’s territorial revenue in the Company’s name, Clive insisted on acquiring the Mughal Emperor’s diwani. This grant helped to ensure what the Grenville ministry had insisted on: namely, that the EIC remain in control of the Indian territory and revenue acquired. Any metropolitan political effort undertaken to expropriate the Company or its territorial possessions would face greater difficulties if the EIC maintained its empire within the framework of Mughal sovereignty and indigenous authority. Five days before writing to Grenville regarding the diwani, the Baron of Plassey penned a happy missive to his father, Richard Clive, proudly proclaiming: “I have been up the Country 700 Miles and been very Conversant with his Majesty the Great Mogull [who] hath made me one of [the] first Omroys or Nabob of his Empire[.] I have Concluded a peace for the Company which I hope will Last and obtained from the King a grant of A Revenue of Two Millions Sterling p Ann for them for ever and what is more I have put them in a way of Securing this Immense Revenue in Such a manner as it’s almost Impossible to Deprive the Company of it at Least for some years to

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Come.”92 The creation of the EIC’s territorial empire within the traditional framework of Mughal sovereignty—the framework of the diwani grant—was crucial for the Grenville-Clive New Tory imperial project. With the acquisition of the diwani, the Company’s transformation into a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent was irreversible. Although some were deeply troubled by Grenville’s Atlantic imperial reforms and by Clive’s consolidation of a militarized garrison state on the Indian subcontinent, the oligarchic order rallied around the New Tory imperialism during the 1760s and early 1770s. When Grenville fell from power in July 1765, the Marquis of Rockingham became prime minister. Rockingham led the remnant of the Old Corps Whigs and attempted to defend the policies of the pre-1760 Whig establishment against both radical Whiggism and New Toryism.93 While the new ministry inveighed against George III’s “arbitrary measures” and repealed the Stamp Act in March 1766, Rockingham and his allies were nevertheless committed to the absolute supremacy of Parliament over the American colonies.94 Such views were embodied in the Declaratory Act, which passed at the time of the Stamp Act’s repeal and upheld the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament in British North America. The Rockingham ministry repealed the Stamp Act for strategic reasons—resistance to the stamp duty was widespread in North America and colonial non-importation agreements were crippling British manufacturers and merchants who depended on overseas markets—but the Declaratory Act reinforced the legal and political principles that underpinned Grenville’s imperial reforms. In the arena of Indian affairs, the Rockingham ministry supported the Clivites and their imperial reforms in Bengal. “I have not discovered that the present ministry have any intention to support any interest in Leadenhall Street contrary to that of Lord Clive & his friends,” Orme informed Colonial Richard Smith. Rockingham’s circle refused to back any challenge to the supremacy of Clive’s allies within East India House and believed that the military commander’s strong-arm tactics were necessary to preserve British interests in South Asia. During a chance encounter with Lord Rockingham at the residence of a mutual friend, Orme was able to gauge the prime minister’s opinions on India policy. “Much was said concerning Lord Clive; & Lord Rockingham as a kind of conclusion said that although he had lately differed from Lord Clive in his political conduct in English affairs, yet he should never oppose his interests in those of India, esteeming him the most capable man of re-establishing them,” Orme remarked, informing Colonel Smith that “I am well acquainted with Mr. Bourke Lord Rockingham’s secretary & will endeavour to operate through

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that channel, whenever I hear of any thing which may have a tendency to oppose the views of Lord Clive, either at home or abroad.”95 While Rockingham and his allies were concerned with the growing power of the Crown in British politics, they did little to challenge the New Tory imperialism in Bengal. In the late 1760s and early 1770s, well after news of the diwani and the consolidation of a territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent reached the metropole, the opposition of political radicals to the East India Company and its monopoly joint-stock organization was renewed. A congeries of radical bourgeois elements—ranging from manufacturers and outport merchants to Pittite politicians and London shopkeepers—opposed not only the Company’s chartered privileges but also its control of Britain’s burgeoning empire in India. While many radical Whigs had opposed the EIC’s imperial aggrandizement from the late 1750s to the mid-1760s, after the acquisition of the diwani their criticism of the corporation transformed. No longer opposed to territorial imperialism in and of itself, these radicals now sought to transform the relationship between the British Empire and its Indian provinces. Radical Whigs called for the expropriation of the EIC and the incorporation of its South Asian territories into Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty.” They wanted Bengal to be brought under the direct supervision of the parliamentary state and to be integrated into a liberal empire. While radical Whigs were concerned with reducing the national debt and with increasing the revenue at the disposal of the British government, they were nevertheless opposed to the extractive political economy and monopolistic trading practices of the Company’s regime in Bengal. They sought to transfer the EIC’s territories to the British state and to abolish the corporation’s chartered privileges.96 Radical Whigs believed that these changes would initiate a process of commercial exploitation and economic expansion in northeastern India capable of generating far greater revenue than the extractive Company regime supported by New Tory ministers. One radical pamphleteer contended that as the Fountain and only true Resource of Advantages to this manufacturing and trading Nation is Commerce, nothing great can be done for the Interest of Subject and State, towards paying off the national Debt, and taking off Taxes, but what will necessarily result from a due Encouragement of Trade; by abolishing all Monopolies, and laying open the Trade to the East Indies, in particular. . . . I have endeavoured, in

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two Pamphlets, to shew the Necessity for laying open the Trade to the East Indies, and abolishing all Monopolies; in order to give greater Encouragement to Manufactures, and extend Commerce to such a Degree as to make the Nation flourish by the natural Consequences. For these are the only true Means of encreasing the public Revenue so considerably as to provide gradually for the vast Debt of the Nation, to enable the Government to take off the numerous burthensome Taxes imposed upon the Public, which greatly oppress the industrious, and occasion that Dissatisfaction which is universally complained of.97 The radicals shared many of the New Tories’ concerns with reducing the national debt and the burden of taxation, but they put forward a fundamentally different political economy of empire for doing so. Rather than emphasizing the acquisition of ever-greater territorial revenue, they sought to transform the British dominion in Bengal into part of the maritime “empire of liberty.” Radical Whigs contended that, if the EIC’s monopoly was abolished and European settlers were allowed to establish colonial plantations in northeastern India, British trade to Asia—in particular, the exportation of British manufactures—would dramatically increase. In the late 1760s and early 1770s, the radicals’ long-standing objective of opening up British trade to the East Indies was transformed into a vision of liberal imperialism that sought to reform the extractive, despotic, and military character of the Indian empire. In a treatise on Indian affairs published in 1772, the radical Whig and East India merchant William Bolts eloquently set forth this liberal vision for British rule in the East. While radicals had long argued for free trade to Asia, Bolts contended that the EIC’s imperial acquisitions added an entirely new dimension to the problem. “The Sovereign of Great Britain is now an Asiatic Potentate . . . [h]is present objects should be far superior to those of merely supporting the monopoly of any particular community of traders, who perhaps are no longer necessary for serving even the ends for which they were incorporated,” the radical Whig argued; “[t]he question now is not simply, if an incorporated exclusive Company can carry on the trade to and from the East Indies to greater national advantage than the whole subjects of Great Britain at large? but it comprehends another, [can the Company] govern or conduct the Sovereignty of large wealthy and populous kingdoms, at such a distance, to greater national security and advantage than the King, Lords and Commons of Great Britain?” While Bolts contended that it would be “right to lay the trade open to all British subjects [and] politic, under certain limitations, to encourage as

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much as possible even the ships of all other European nations to frequent those Indian ports,” he believed that a commercial monopolist such as the EIC would never pursue this policy. Only Britain’s parliamentary state, responsive to public opinion and committed to national prosperity, was capable of realizing the true interests of British imperial rule in India. For radicals such as Bolts, those interests entailed the creation of political-economic institutions that were concerned not with maximizing the short-term profits of a commercial company, but with maximizing long-term economic growth via the systematic expansion of Bengal’s commercial and productive capacities. He predicted dire consequences for the vibrant trading and manufacturing world of Bengal if the emerging empire remained a territorial-absolutist state owned by a mercantile monopoly. “It will be generally granted, that a commercial country with a despotic Sovereign who is the only merchant, must be in a situation the reverse of prosperity, that of swift approach to ruin,” the radical Whig remarked, “and if it be admitted, that all the resources which this nation can hope to reap from those subjected dominions, must depend entirely on their prosperity, it will then follow that there is become an absolute necessity for the British legislature to separate the Merchant from the Sovereign, for the preservation of both.”98 Thus the radical critique of the Company entered a new and fundamentally post-imperial phase in the later 1760s and 1770s. The diwani grant made the radicals’ objectives difficult to achieve, as it allowed the EIC to claim that its territorial dominion actually belonged to the Mughal Empire and would therefore be lost to Britain if the corporation was expropriated. The dual system established by Clive, in which the Company ruled Bengal under the Mughal grant with the nawabi regime still intact, was intended to serve metropolitan purposes as much as subcontinental ones. For it not only gave the British corporation the guise of indigenous authority in its struggles with European and Asian competitors but also provided a weapon with which to fend off any challenges to its imperial rule mounted by domestic radicals. Bolts grasped this political dynamic when he wrote that “there is something excessively ridiculous in the very idea of vesting a body of mere traders with unlimited sovereign authority, and setting them between the real Sovereign and people of this kingdom, and two mock Sovereigns and the whole people of the Bengal provinces, to play securely their own game of advantage, to the prejudice of all the other parties.”99 In place of this neo-traditional rule in which the Company despotically governed India within the framework of Mughal authority, Bolts advocated a radically liberal imperialism. He believed that Bengal should be directly ruled by Britain’s parliamentary state and that

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it should be integrated into a global British empire of trade and colonial settlement. During the later 1750s and 1760s, radical Whigs sought to extend the maritime “empire of liberty” to the furthest reaches of the globe and to reform Britain’s oligarchic order. In response to the political-economic crisis afflicting Britain and its empire, as well as to the challenge posed by radical Whiggism, the New Tory political project emerged during the early years of George III’s reign to uphold the status quo in state and society. As part and parcel of this effort to preserve the unreformed and unrepresentative parliamentary political system, the New Tory project transformed Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty” into an empire of conquest, dominion, and tribute. Although many hoped that the young king’s accession would inaugurate an era of reform, the 1760s and 1770s instead witnessed the unfolding of an imperial reaction that stretched from Boston to Bombay. Radical Whigs challenged the consolidation of this imperial reaction, but their efforts met with little success. The failure of these bourgeois radicals to prevent or to roll back the New Tory project ultimately led to the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775 and, with it, the breakup of the First British Empire. The First Empire was born during the English Revolution in the year 1651, and its death certificate was issued during the imperial reaction in the year 1765.

chapter 6 ·~·

he Triumph of the New Toryism and the Spirit of the Second British Empire

In the 1760s and 1770s, radical Whig views were given little hearing in the halls of power. The oligarchic order was largely supportive of the New Tory imperialism advocated by the likes of George Grenville and Robert Clive, and the foundations of the Second British Empire were laid down. This general trend was briefly interrupted in July 1766 with the formation of the Chatham administration. William Pitt, now the Earl of Chatham, regained power amid interminable political conflicts and ministerial reshufflings, and set out to create a national unity government similar to the one he had led with the Duke of Newcastle in the late 1750s. Although committed Rockinghamites such as Henry Conway and moderate Whigs such as the Duke of Grafton dominated the ministry, Pitt’s radical Whig allies now had a voice in policy debates and proposals. The radicals that were allied with the Chatham ministry advocated a range of measures designed to transform the oligarchic order and the British Empire. While the New Tories were committed to preserving the unreformed and landed parliamentary state and to consolidating an autocratic and tributary empire in North America and South Asia, radical Whigs wanted to reform the parliamentary political order and to expand Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty.” These radicals sought to remold domestic and imperial institutions in order to make them more suited to Britain’s dynamic commercial and manufacturing society. During the early days of the ministry, the 201

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Earl of Shelburne, a Secretary of State and a radical Whig convert, was busy gathering together proposals for solving the crises afflicting Britain’s state and society. Shelburne was deeply critical of the oligarchic order, and open to radical ideas and opinions. His secretary, Maurice Morgann, contended that “the House of Commons is, by Degree, become almost wholly Aristocratical” and “the Septennial Parliament having rendered the Burroughs, and indeed in a great Measure the Counties, the Subjects of Pecuniary Calculation and Barter, they have naturally fallen into the Hands of the Aristocratical Part of the Constitution, who are the most interested in extinguishing a Popular Party and Erecting their own Power on its Ruins.”1 Morgann believed that the problems of the era stemmed from the growth of aristocratic-oligarchic power, and that the only solution was for the ministry to mobilize extra-parliamentary political sentiment in support of radical measures designed to resolve the political-economic crisis of Britain and its empire. He advised Shelburne to “act popularly” in order to bring external pressure to bear on the political establishment: There must, in the present Conditions of Things, be another Party formed by very different men and upon very different Principles. The Stockholders, The Merchants & Traders, the great trading Cities, the great Number of independent men in England, and, let me add, the Artizans of England, who are not speculatively only, but practically free, are sufficient (tho’ their Influence may be without Doors only) to support a popular Party[.] . . . The Leaders of this Party will be formed of Men, who conscious of their own worth & ability, will disdain to be weighed in an Aristocratical Balance, but who will step forth into the Notice of the Public and Challenge the general Confidence & Esteem. In order to maintain this Station, they must be men of real ability & Established Characters. They must support themselves by real Services to the Public, and they must manifest the most tender Regard to the Law and the Constitution. In short, they must (politically at least) become good Patriots that they may continue real Ministers.2 Morgann and other radicals aimed to win support for the Chatham ministry’s measures in the public sphere and from among the urban middling sort as well as elements of the plebeian classes. They believed that such “popularity” might help them to enact the extensive reforms they viewed as necessary for resolving the problems threatening Britain and its empire.

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While radical Whigs were stridently opposed to New Tory policies, they did not advocate a return to the pre-1760 political status quo. Unlike the Rockinghamites and other moderate Whigs who defended the policies of the old Whig establishment against the innovations of George III and Grenville, radical Whigs sought to transform domestic and imperial institutions in a liberal direction. Morgann himself was a bitter critic of Grenville’s Atlantic imperial measures and was sympathetic to colonial American claims regarding taxation and representation. Whereas the New Tories were committed to an extractive political economy that served the short-term fiscal interests of Britain’s oligarchic order, radical Whigs upheld a liberal political economy that emphasized the long-term gains to be had from continuing commercial and industrial expansion. During the early phase of the Chatham ministry, when radical and reformist ideas were circulating among politicians and their supporters beyond the halls of power, the prime minister and his allies prepared for a parliamentary inquiry into the East India Company’s affairs. Pitt informed Grafton in the summer of 1766 that his ministry must address “E. India affairs,” which he considered “the greatest of all objects, according to my sense of great.”3 The dominant Namierite interpretation of this parliamentary inquiry contends that there was nothing at stake in it other than the British government’s effort to win a portion of the EIC’s Indian revenues for itself. “Chatham’s motives in instituting this inquiry were financial rather than political, and governed by expediency rather than principle,” John Brooke remarks; “he did not intend any fundamental change in the structure of the Company or in its relations with the State.”4 Such a view fails to take into account the wideranging political-economic debates of the period, as well as the radical Whig critique of the EIC. Namierite interpretation does not apprehend the central thrust of radical Whig politics with regard to the emerging British empire in India—namely, its goal of integrating the Indian acquisitions into a liberal empire of trade and colonial settlement.5 The East India inquiry was initially organized not only to win revenue for the state, thereby decreasing the national debt and the burden of taxation, but also as an attempt to systematically transform the political-economic character of British imperialism in India. The question was not one of revenue simply put, but rather the means by which this revenue was to be generated and transferred to the British state. Grenville and his New Tory allies supported the Company’s control of the Indian territories and the transfer of land revenue to corporate coffers (and, thus, to London’s elite merchants and financiers), and

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sought to secure an EIC-controlled garrison state devoted to conveying a portion of Bengal’s wealth to Britain’s oligarchic order. In opposition to this position, radical Whigs wanted to expropriate the Company, to bring Bengal under the direct control of the parliamentary state, and to extend British trade and plantation settlement throughout the region. They wanted to use the land revenue of Bengal to provide the public infrastructure necessary for expanding the province’s commercial and industrial capacities. In the case of Britain’s burgeoning Indian empire, New Tory political economy emphasized shortterm fiscal extraction while radical Whig political economy focused on the potential for long-term economic growth. Pitt signaled his support for radical Whig ideas and proposals by placing William Beckford in charge of the East India inquiry in the House of Commons.6 As we saw in chapter 2, Beckford was a long-standing critic of the Company and even launched a challenge to its commercial monopoly in 1758 in the midst of the Seven Years’ War. He was one of London’s leading radical Whigs, and his antipathy to the EIC and its control of Britain’s Indian empire was well known. Brooke observes that “if a settlement was intended which was to satisfy both Crown and Company, this was a regrettable and irresponsible choice, but for an all-out attack on the Company the choice of Beckford was an unmistakable sign of Chatham’s intentions.”7 Beckford wanted to abolish the Company’s chartered privileges and to bring its Indian territories under the direct control of the British state. Several conservative observers feared that Beckford’s role in the inquiry signaled the Chatham ministry’s intention (or, at the very least, Pitt’s intention) to make radical changes in the long-standing relationship between the EIC and the state. “The East India Busyness I am told engrosses all conversation in Town & grows very serious,” Grenville informed his brother in September 1766, “tho people can hardly believe notwithstanding the threats thrown out to the Directors & the language holden by Adln Beckford so that after what pass’d last year with regard to North America & the West Indies, They will this year break thro the Charter of the East Indies wch was purchas’d by the company & has been repeatedly confirm’d by many solemn acts of Parlt.” Grenville angrily concluded that “this wd be a strike indeed worthy of their wisdom & consistency & wch will be a proper crown to the whole.”8 The former prime minister’s concerns were not unfounded. The radical Whig critique of the EIC and its imperial state moved from the public sphere into the halls of power early on in the Chatham administration. “There is not, I believe, a single Englishman, & who is moderately verse

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in the History of his Country, who has observed the Course of public affairs for some years past,” Morgann informed Shelburne as they worked on proposals for the reform of the empire, “who does not apprehend some national Misfortune and see a thousand Evils approaching very fast from all Quarters to involve this Country in Misery, perhaps in Destruction.”9 Morgann was convinced that vast reforms were necessary in British imperial affairs, particularly with regard to the Company’s extractive political economy and militarized garrison state in Bengal: The desperate state of our affairs in India will next deserve our Attention. Bengall (the only valuable Province there) is this Moment at Stake, and perhaps torn from our Possession—impatient of the slow tho’ certain Acquisitions of Commerce we have exchanged Industry for Violence, and Trade for Plunder and Rapine. A Company established upon mercantile Principles is most preposterously become Military. This Company can acquire by Conquest no new Advantage, except a territorial Revenue, which will in all Probability be insufficient to support a Military Establishment. In the Mean Time the Officers it employs will by various Arts and Exactions drain the Country of that Wealth which might have purchased our Manufactures and thereby have increased our Numbers and our Trade; instead of which the Natives of India will be harassed and oppressed untill Defeats shall teach them Discipline and Despair give them Courage to expel or extirpate their insatiable Oppressors.10 Shelburne and his allies were deeply concerned with the autocratic and tributary character of the Indian empire, and they were considering radical reforms that would make fundamental changes in the relationship between the EIC and the state. Thus Beckford’s opposition to the Company in the Commons was likely to receive support from radical Whig elements within the government. It is difficult if not impossible to gauge Pitt’s support for radical Whig proposals regarding the abolition of the EIC’s chartered privileges and the transfer of its Indian territories to the British state. What is certain is that Pitt wanted to expose the Company’s affairs before Parliament and to allow that body to determine the question of right with regard to whether Bengal belonged to the EIC or to the Crown. As Brooke remarks, “the determination of the right was the essence of his scheme and the only part of it which he fully explained or showed any concern for: he gave no details of what kind of

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financial settlement he desired but insisted that it would follow logically from the determination of the right.”11 Pitt clearly believed that the Indian territories belonged to the state, and he sought a full parliamentary inquiry that would bring to light all of the corporation’s political and economic affairs.12 Beckford successfully motioned for such an inquiry on November 25, 1766. The Rockinghamites, moderate Whigs, and New Tories within the administration—as well as the Rockinghamites, moderate Whigs, and New Tories among the parliamentary opposition—strongly opposed Pitt’s efforts to hold a full Commons inquiry to settle the question of right. Furthermore, they were deeply troubled by Beckford’s involvement in the ministry’s East India affairs. Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a staunch advocate of the New Tory imperialism, believed that Pitt was not only determined to declare the Crown’s right to the Indian territories but also wanted to transfer the control and management of them to the British state.13 Conway and Townshend argued that the Indian territories should remain within the EIC’s possession in both theory and practice, and they organized opposition to Pitt’s measures within the ministry itself.14 “Mr. Conway was not satisfied in his situation; and Mr. Townshend was never settled in any; and these two gentlemen saw the management of the E. India business in a very different light from what Lord Chatham had wished,” Grafton observed with regard to the state of government affairs in the fall of 1766; “they were for waving the decision on the right, and for bringing forward a negociation with the Company, without entering on this essential point, which Lord Chatham, together with the rest of the Cabinet, wanted to see decided in the first instance; and which Mr. Aldn. Beckford had undertaken to move in the House of Commons.”15 Conway and Townshend wanted to negotiate directly with the Company in order to come to a financial settlement that left the corporation in full control of its Indian acquisitions. In a letter to Grafton, Pitt adamantly rejected their views and proposals: “I grieve most heartily at the report of the meeting last night. If the enquiry is to be contracted within the ideas of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer [Townshend] and Mr. Dyson, the whole becomes a farce, and the Ministry a ridiculous phantom. Mr. Beckford will move his questions, (waving for the present the bonds and transfers), and upon the issue of Tuesday must turn the decision of the present system, whether to stand or make way for another scene of political revolution. . . . What possible objections, fit to listen to, can be made to bringing the revenues in India before the House? I hope Mr. Beckford will walk out of the House, and leave the name of an enquiry, to amuse the credulous, in

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other hands, in case this question be not fully supported and carried.”16 Pitt was fiercely committed to exposing the EIC’s political and economic affairs before the House of Commons and to determining the question of right with regard to the Indian territories. Although both the Great Commoner and his ministerial opponents sought to raise revenue from the newly won territories, they vigorously disagreed over how it should be done. While Conway and Townshend wanted to win a portion of the Bengal revenue for the government and leave the Company in control of the province, Pitt was committed to a far-reaching and open-ended parliamentary inquiry that explored every aspect of Britain’s Indian affairs. It seems likely that Pitt was at the very least open to radical Whig ideas and proposals regarding the EIC and its newly won territorial empire. Although the prime minister insisted on a full parliamentary inquiry into the Company’s affairs, he was not in effective control of the government. In the late fall of 1766, Pitt was incapacitated by severe physical and mental illness and was forced to travel to Bath. “Lord Chatham’s illness, and indeed his constant bad state of health, often making it impracticable to talk with him on business or even to get access to him,” Grafton remarked with regard to East India affairs, “brought a weakness on the Ministry which will be easily conceived; and placed us, who wished to forward his views, in the most uncomfortable and perplexing of all situations, scarce knowing what line to adopt; for Lord Chatham did never open to us, or to the Cabinet in general, what was his real and fixed plan.”17 While Pitt was suffering from afflictions that would eventually bring an end to his ministry and plague him thereafter, the political factions committed to preserving the oligarchic order and to consolidating the New Tory imperialism launched a concerted attack on the East India inquiry. Grenville and his allies joined forces with Rockingham’s circle to oppose the inquiry in Parliament. Within the ministry, Conway and Townshend openly rebelled.18 While Beckford successfully motioned in December to bring the EIC’s papers before the House of Commons, this was the last victory for those seeking a wide-ranging inquiry into the corporation’s affairs and the determination of the right with regard to its Indian territories. Townshend, who speculated in India stock throughout 1766 and early 1767, entered into direct negotiations with the Company in late December and early January while Pitt was recuperating in Bath.19 The New Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer wanted the EIC’s directors to propose a financial settlement before Parliament began investigating its affairs on January 22. Townshend’s intentions

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were to undermine the inquiry and to conclude the matter of revenue without settling the question of right. In response to the Chancellor, the Company’s directors put forward proposals to the government in early January. Upon learning of these developments, Pitt was furious. “I wish, my dear lord, I could see cause to express any thanks to the good chairman and deputy chairman [of the EIC] for their communication to your Grace[,]” he remarked to Grafton. “I will say but a few words upon their captious and preposterous paper[,]” Chatham averred; “[t]he points, on which the committee are of opinion it is requisite and necessary to treat, entirely pass by the great objects of parliamentary enquiry and national justice . . . [o]n this self-evident state of the thing, I am forced to declare I have no hopes from the transaction; my only hope centers in the justice of Parliament, where the question of right can alone be decided; and which cannot (upon any colourable pretence) be in the company.”20 Despite these objections and his outrage at Townshend’s efforts to undermine the East India inquiry, Pitt was unable to stop the growing tide of opposition to his plans. He remained incapacitated at Bath throughout the winter and Townshend effectively took control of Indian affairs. “Beckford’s brief hour of triumph had passed,” Brooke observes; “the initiative was now in other hands; and he was never again to know the bliss of denouncing the Company with the full support of Chatham at hand and a majority in the House of Commons behind him.”21 While the efforts to hold an East India inquiry continued, they were now little more than a sideshow to Townshend’s negotiations with the EIC’s directors. From Bath, Pitt continued to inveigh against his own ministry’s negotiations with the Company. He sought to move ahead with a full inquiry into the corporation’s affairs and to settle the question of right in favor of the Crown.22 In February 1767, Pitt informed Grafton that “Parliament is the only place where I will declare my final judgment upon the whole matter . . . as a servant of the Crown, I have no right or authority to do more than simply to advise the demands and the offers of the Company should be laid before Parliament, referring the whole determination to the wisdom of that place.”23 But Pitt was not able to affect the course of events while incapacitated and away from Westminster. From January through March 1767, Conway and Townshend moved ahead in the negotiations with the EIC.24 Beckford’s planned inquiry was becoming pointless. Townshend was opposed to any fundamental political-economic transformation of the British Empire in India. He was committed to extracting financial concessions from the Company while leaving its chartered privileges and militarized garrison state intact.

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Beckford recognized that he and Townshend were motivated by fundamentally different political-economic principles. “Charles [Townshend] seemed to put the whole stress of the negotiation on the quantum to be given by the Company, for the prolongation of the term of their charter, and regulations and concessions to be made by the legislature, which would amazingly increase the trade and profit of the Company,” the leading City radical informed Pitt; “in short, he uttered so many kind and comfortable words for their consolation, that the stock rose the next and the succeeding day six per centum.”25 Beckford’s radical aims gave way to Townshend’s conservatism in the face of strong parliamentary opposition and a deeply divided ministry. Pitt attempted to rescue the efforts to conduct a meaningful inquiry into the EIC’s affairs and to settle the question of right in the Crown’s favor when he returned to London in March 1767 in order to lead the ministry and to find a replacement for Townshend as Chancellor of the Exchequer.26 The deep divisions within the ministry, the strength of the parliamentary opposition to the East India inquiry, and his own severe illness left Pitt in a weakened position. The prime minister’s afflictions were severe and his political leadership effectively came to an end that March. Grafton later lamented Pitt’s loss of political power and the failure of his East India policy: Had his health allowed it, I have no doubt that he would still have weathered those difficulties which presented themselves from all quarters to resist his views for the public. From this time he became invisible, even to the Lord Chancellor and myself; and he desired to be allowed to attend solely to his health, until he found himself to be equal to any business. Here, in fact, was the end of his Administration; tho’ relying on the hopes of his recovery, we were struggling to the end of the Sessions, in order to prevent, if possible, the government of the country from falling into other hands. . . . After much cavilling with the India Company, a temporary agreement was adopted, rather than to pursue the right forward road, on which Lord Chatham had laid the greatest stress, and which I earnestly wished to follow.27 Conway and Townshend, having delayed Beckford’s parliamentary investigation in order to pursue direct negotiations with the Company’s management, ensured that the inquiry would decide little. On March 11, over the objections of radical Whigs such as Beckford and Isaac Barré, Conway and Townshend blocked the effort to have the EIC’s papers and accounts printed.28 “March 11 marks the failure of Chatham’s policy,” Brooke remarks; “the Committee of

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Inquiry, postponed to March 20, could safely begin; there was no one now who would press for a decision on the right.”29 While the inquiry undertook a parliamentary examination into the EIC’s affairs for the first time since the late seventeenth century, it did nothing to advance radical Whig proposals concerning the political-economic reform and reorganization of the Indian empire. Townshend finalized a settlement with the Company that left Bengal in its control in return for an annual payment of £400,000 to the British state. During the very same period in which Townshend was settling East India affairs, he also designed and implemented Atlantic imperial reforms that sought to achieve Grenville’s New Tory aims by other means. Townshend dismissed radical Whig ideas regarding British North America as well—namely, that imperial representation be extended to the colonists—and instead introduced a series of duties on colonial American imports including glass, paper, and tea. The revenue from these duties provided for imperial administration in British North America, making royal officials less financially dependent on colonial assemblies. With the decline of Pitt’s political influence, Townshend was able both to undermine the radical potential of Beckford’s East India inquiry and to pursue New Tory imperial reforms in the Atlantic empire. Pitt’s leadership effectively came to an end in March 1767, but it was not until October of the following year that Grafton formally took control of the government. In the final months of the Chatham ministry and during his own tenure as prime minister, Grafton was forced to confront the considerable growth of political radicalism beyond the halls of power. John Wilkes returned from exile in France in 1768 and—despite the fact that he was an outlaw and subject to imprisonment—stood as a candidate in the parliamentary elections held in March. Although defeated in the City of London, Wilkes was eventually successful when he opposed the sitting members from the county of Middlesex. He was overwhelmingly elected amid great popular acclaim. Wilkes presented himself before the Court of King’s Bench on April 27, but rioters subsequently freed him from jail. The radical Whig propagandist continued publishing and stirring up political opposition to the government. The Grafton ministry expelled Wilkes from Parliament in February 1769, but he was able to win re-election from Middlesex in the spring.30 The government eventually put forward Colonel Henry Luttrell to stand against Wilkes in a Middlesex by-election. Despite the fact that Luttrell lost by a significant margin, the ministry mobilized its parliamentary majority to have him seated in Wilkes’s place.

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Support for Wilkes was widespread throughout Britain’s public sphere and extra-parliamentary political culture during 1768 and 1769. The radical Whigs among the urban middling sort stridently defended the cause of “Wilkes and Liberty” in the face of the ministry’s measures.31 The Society of the Supporters of the Bill of Rights [SSBR], recently founded to advocate for the reform of the parliamentary political system, organized petitions and print campaigns on Wilkes’s behalf. The radicals who challenged the government in the late 1760s were concerned with Wilkes’s expulsion from Parliament as well as with the inadequacies of the political status quo. As John Brewer contends, “Wilkes’s politics of participation threatened the politics of oligarchy . . . the radicals of the SSBR promised to recreate institutionalised politics in a form that would have readmitted those who had been excluded for the past generation, and would newly admit an emergent social group based on mercantile and financial wealth which wanted power commensurate with its financial status.”32 The Grafton ministry was forced to confront the supporters of Wilkes’s cause and an increasingly popular challenge to the aristocratic-oligarchic state. Britain’s political establishment was deeply troubled by the fact that radical Whig politics and Wilkesite protests spread beyond the urban middling sort to the plebeian classes during the late 1760s and early 1770s. Indeed, the cause of “Wilkes and Liberty” was taken up by the lower orders and expanded to address social issues that went well beyond the ongoing efforts to transform the landed parliamentary system. In 1768, the political elite were confronted with riots and strikes over wages and working conditions throughout the kingdom. The widespread protests launched by silk-weavers in early 1768 were, as George Rudé observes, “only the most violent and protracted of a great crop of workers’ strikes, demonstrations, marches and petitions to Parliament that marked the spring and summer of 1768 and thoroughly alarmed both Ministers and magistrates . . . the authorities were faced with almost simultaneous demands and demonstrations by sailors, watermen, coopers, hatters, glassgrinders, sawyers, tailors, weavers and coal-heavers.”33 Grenville likened these strikes and protests to the growth of colonial American resistance to imperial authority and criticized the Grafton ministry for failing to act firmly. The former prime minister decried the widespread “distress among the Common People, luxury amongst the rich, servility, licentiousness,” and hoped that “the Almighty, who in so many instances has mercifully interposed to preserve these Kingdoms from destruction, may put it into the heart of our gracious King to chuse such able, and virtuous Ministers, that Parliament may adopt

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their measures, and support them in carrying them into full execution; and that all the subjects of the realm may be of one heart and mind to contribute to the support of the british Empire, & the preservation of our most excellent Constitution in Church, & State.”34 Grenville was certainly not the only member of the ruling class who believed that these plebeian protests imperiled the domestic political order. The ministry itself was surprised by the depth and extent of discontent among the lower classes. Remarking on “the spirit of discontent and riot which broke out in many parts of the kingdom, but was most serious in and about the metropolis,” Grafton was especially troubled by the fact that “artisans of almost every denomination also combined for an advance of wages, and their discontents and disobedience to the laws, led them to join often, in numbers, those mobs which the consequence of the election for Middlesex frequently produced.”35 Although statesmen and officials worried about the links between plebeian protest and Wilkesite radicalism, they were uncertain what measures should be taken to deal with widespread social discontent. The plebeian strikes and riots disturbed both the landed elite and the radical political leaders of the urban middling sort. Beckford spoke against the London sailors’ strike before the House of Commons in May 1768: “They are Masters of the Port of London. Many men have been with me about the trade. The Bakers say, if Flower can’t be brought, the City of London will be starved. The Sailors don’t pay for their provisions, the Merchants do . . . let us unite, the Kingdom is in danger. They want more money for less labour done. They take example from their betters. They who raise mobs, raise the Devil, and they know not how to lay him again. If these Sailors are not resisted, all labourers will come upon you. If your own ships can’t go out, Trade can’t come in.”36 These sentiments were typical among the wealthy commercial leadership of radical Whiggism. While these leaders went to great lengths to challenge the institutions and policies of the landed political establishment, most of them were not prepared to link their cause with the social concerns of the plebeian classes. The outbreak of strikes and riots among the lower orders in the late 1760s shifted many wealthy and middling-sort members of the radical Whig and Wilkesite movements away from popular politics and into support for the ministry and the Court. The Grafton ministry proved incapable of dealing successfully with the Wilkes affair and the growth of social protest and radical politics that accompanied it. Grafton fell from power in January 1770, and Lord North formed a new administration. The North ministry was faced with deepening social and political discontent at home as well as with the growth of colonial resistance

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in British North America. “One suspects that there were times during the 1760s and 1770s,” E. P. Thompson remarks, “when a part of the English people were more ready to secede from the Crown than were the American colonists, but they had the misfortune not to be protected from it by the Atlantic ocean.”37 The ruling class feared that political discontent at home and in the colonies would merge into a unified challenge to the established order. On the eve of the War for American Independence, government officials believed that there were links between the colonial cause and domestic plebeian discontent.38 Drawing together conservative Whigs, Tories, and supporters of George III, the North ministry deepened and strengthened the New Tory turn in British politics. The government was committed to preserving the landed parliamentary political order and to defending the absolute supremacy of Parliament over the Atlantic empire, even going so far as to wage full-scale war in the American colonies to uphold the principle of parliamentary sovereignty in the face of radical claims regarding “no taxation without representation.” Amid radical discontent at home and abroad, the North ministry was able to rally the oligarchic order around the government and to remain in power for the next twelve years. Throughout the 1770s and 1780s, Britain’s landed elite were increasingly committed to the New Tory imperialism. The government appointed former Scottish Jacobites to administrative and military positions throughout the empire. Many of these former Jacobites held despotic notions of imperial rule and reinforced the tendency toward authoritarian governance.39 The new imperialism that had first emerged under the Bute and Grenville ministries during the early 1760s was deepened and strengthened under Lord North. It was clear to informed observers that the maritime “empire of liberty” was being transformed into an autocratic and tributary empire. The New Tory imperial project, with its extractive political economy and its commitment to militarized rule, was in the ascendant. By the early 1770s, the East India Company’s administrative and military expenditures in northeastern India outpaced its territorial revenue. Clive’s prediction that the Company would be able to use local revenue to cover all its Indian expenditures and still remit £2 million to London proved far from accurate. The costs of territorial empire were much greater than the “heavenborn general” anticipated. When news of the EIC’s financial difficulties and the Bengal famine of 1769 arrived in the metropole, Clive’s radical Whig opponents took advantage of the disgust expressed in the public sphere and waged a propaganda campaign against him and his Indian measures.40 In

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1772, a parliamentary select committee headed by John Burgoyne was formed to conduct a thorough inquiry into the Company’s affairs going back to 1756. The investigation continued throughout 1772 and early 1773 as hostility to the EIC and its management of Indian affairs grew in the public sphere and the extra-parliamentary political arena.41 Burgoyne used the information gathered by the select committee to press the case against Clive, and, in May 1773, he put forward a series of motions in the House of Commons designed not only to condemn the Baron of Plassey’s activities in India but also to confiscate the wealth that he had received from Bengal’s nawabi regime. “We have had in India revolution upon revolution, extortion upon extortion,” Burgoyne proclaimed in Parliament; “in the whole history of mankind, I defy mankind to produce such a continued system of oppression.”42 Burgoyne’s measures received the backing of radical Whigs and other political factions, including the Johnstones and their allies. Although the effort to condemn Clive met with initial success, the Rockinghamites and the King’s Friends rallied to his cause. On May 21, Burgoyne’s resolution—that Clive “had abused the powers with which he was entrusted, to the evil example of the servants of the public”— was defeated. “Lord Clive has thus come out of the fiery trial much brighter than he went into it,” Edmund Burke observed; “his gains are now recorded, and not only not condemned, but actually approved by Parliament.”43 The final radical Whig assault on Clive’s reputation and program was defeated. At the same time that the parliamentary select committee was investigating Clive’s imperial activities as well as that of other returned “Nabobs,” the government was grappling with the crisis of the Company’s finances. After the EIC approached the ministry for financial support in 1772, Lord North decided that the corporation would receive assistance in return for substantial reforms in its Indian government. In 1773, the ministry secured a loan of £1.4 million for the Company and passed the Tea Act. This legislation attempted to restore the corporation’s profitability by permitting it to export tea directly to North America. The EIC remitted its post-diwani territorial revenue to the metropole in part through purchasing tea in China and selling it to London merchants. By the early 1770s, over eighteen million pounds of unsold tea lay in the corporation’s London warehouses. The Tea Act allowed the Company to unload this surplus by selling it directly to the colonies. The Act confirmed the remaining Townshend duty on tea imported into the colonies and allowed the Company to export tea duty-free from Britain and, thus, to undersell legitimate merchants and tea smugglers in North America. As a result, it reignited colonial resistance to imperial authority. In

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the fall of 1773, protests spread throughout colonial ports in an effort to prevent the sale of the East India Company’s tea in North America. “At present the Spirits of the People in the Town of Boston are in a great ferment,” Thomas Hutchinson, the governor of Massachusetts, reported to the Earl of Dartmouth about the importation of the EIC’s tea; “[t]he same principle prevails with by far the greatest part of the Merchants, Who tho in general declare against Mobs and Violence yet they as generally wish the Teas may not be imported[.]”44 Organized protests prevented the successful landing of the Company’s tea in Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia. Governor Hutchinson refused to bend to the demands of colonial radicals, thus provoking protests and meetings throughout Boston. “I am sorry to inform you that since the arrival of the Tea in this Harbour exported by the East India Company; this Town and Country for some Miles round appear to be in Anarchy and confusion,” Rear Admiral John Montagu remarked to Philip Stephens in December 1773; “Town Meetings have been called, in which such inflammatory Speeches were made against Government and its Laws and such Resolves passed in consequence thereof, (Namely) That the Teas already arrived, and all such as may arrive shall remain on Board the several Ships and not be Suffered to be landed in this Country.”45 These protests ultimately culminated in the Boston Tea Party in December, when members of the Sons of Liberty boarded the ships holding the Company’s tea and emptied their cargoes into Boston Harbor. The North ministry responded by closing the port of Boston and passing the Intolerable Acts. Thus the Tea Act led to the renewal of serious and sustained tensions between the colonial resistance movement and imperial authorities. In preventing the importation of the EIC’s tea, radical Whigs in the Sons of Liberty were not merely defending the interests of local smugglers and legitimate merchants but also protesting the emergence and development of the New Tory imperialism. The Tea Act was in part designed to uphold the Townshend duty on tea and, with it, Parliament’s right to levy taxes on the colonists without their consent. Furthermore, the revenue from this duty was used to pay the salaries of imperial officials, thus freeing them from financial dependence on colonial assemblies. The duty was an essential step toward establishing an imperial state that ruled above colonial society instead of through it. Moreover, the Tea Act benefited the East India Company and its autocratic and tributary empire in South Asia, which radical Whigs in the American colonies viewed as the very embodiment of “arbitrary power” and taxation without consent. When they dumped the Company’s tea into Boston Harbor, the colonial radicals were in

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part protesting the political authoritarianism and extractive political economy that characterized post-1760 British imperialism. In return for the government’s loan and the passage of the Tea Act, the North ministry made the EIC implement reforms in its imperial state. While the government carried out a second parliamentary intervention into the Company’s affairs—an intervention that was protested by many EIC directors and proprietors—its objective was not to transform the political-economic organization of Britain’s emerging Indian empire but rather to consolidate Bengal’s status as a tributary province responsible for servicing the fiscal and military needs of the metropolitan oligarchic order. North’s intervention into the Company’s affairs led to the passage of the Regulating Act of 1773, which left the EIC’s chartered privileges intact and confirmed its control over Bengal’s commercial affairs. The Act was the first serious government regulation of the corporation’s burgeoning empire. Control over the civilian and military affairs of the Company’s Indian provinces was transferred to the new office of Governor-General and a four-member council appointed by the EIC and the government. The North ministry did not intervene in the Company State’s affairs in order to reform its extractive political economy but rather to stabilize and to consolidate it. The EIC’s mismanagement of its Indian provinces left it in financial peril. The Company not only failed to make its annual £400,000 payment to the government but also was unable to pay its creditors and shareholders. If the EIC collapsed, it would inevitably send financial shockwaves throughout the oligarchic order in the City and the state. The reforms of the Regulating Act were ultimately designed to secure the administration and collection of Bengal’s territorial revenue and its transfer to Britain. Thus, the government’s intervention was undertaken in order to consolidate Bengal’s status as a tributary province. The North ministry reinforced the New Tory political-economic order established by Grenville and Clive. During the 1760s and 1770s, the political-economic structures governing the next hundred years of British imperial rule in India were laid down. The relationship between the Company and the state underwent further transformations in 1784 and in the early nineteenth century, and the British government’s control over the Raj’s civilian and military affairs significantly increased. However, the Indian empire remained a tributary province responsible for remitting revenue to the metropole and for supplying self-financing patronage resources to Britain’s landed elite. The Company State established in Bengal, and which eventually spread over the subcontinent, extracted territorial revenue in order to pay for the administrative and military expenses of

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imperial rule, to pay dividends to EIC shareholders, and to repay the Raj’s creditors. As P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins remind us, “the main problem addressed by successive generations of administrators was not how to open India to British manufactures, but how to secure the revenue base of Britain’s rule.”46 The Company consolidated a fiscal-military state devoted to squeezing land revenue out of an indigenous peasantry directly in control of the means of subsistence. This revenue maintained a large standing army capable of projecting British power throughout Asia and the Near East. This army and the EIC’s imperial administration provided substantial patronage resources for Britain’s landed families.47 When the Company’s fiscal resources proved inadequate for repaying creditors and for paying out dividends to shareholders, the Raj’s military power was deployed to acquire additional territory and revenue. The EIC’s imperial state reinforced landed and traditional hierarchies in South Asia in order to stabilize its rule and to maximize the collection of revenue. The “neo-traditionalism” of the British Empire in India stemmed from its political-economic function as a tributary dominion. The Company’s administrators and military commanders were opposed to economic innovations since they feared that such measures might introduce instability in imperial rule and revenue collection. The foundation of the Raj marked a major departure in British imperialism. While the maritime “empire of liberty” was a vehicle for metropolitan commercial and industrial expansion and for self-sustaining economic growth, the EIC’s despotic state served the short-term fiscal and political interests of Britain’s ruling elite. A new form of social imperialism was born in the 1760s and 1770s. The imperial reforms imposed on the Atlantic colonies and the consolidation of a territorial empire in Bengal during the 1760s stemmed from the same metropolitan political impulse. This impulse continued to inform governmental measures throughout the 1770s and 1780s. Rather than being part of a maritime “empire of liberty,” northeastern India and the American colonies were to be integrated into an imperial hierarchy designed to maximize revenue extraction on the colonial periphery. “The late vast addition to the British possessions in Asia, and the wealth of the inhabitants, open a rich prospect . . . of revenue to the state,” averred the New Tory imperial architect William Knox in a pamphlet of 1768. “The inhabitants, therefore, of the East-India company’s possessions,” he continued, are “equally bound with the people of Maryland to contribute to the burdens of the state; and the sovereign power over the whole empire, is equally obliged to require them so to do. . . . these

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accessions of revenue, drawn from the several members of the empire, would render the charge of the peace establishment no longer an oppressive burden upon the people of Great-Britain.”48 The commercial expansionism and rampant licentiousness threatening the empire were to be contained within the boundaries established by the landed parliamentary state and its authoritarian imperial administrations. While the New Tory imperialism suffered defeat on the Atlantic, it was ultimately successful in building a bridgehead on the Indian subcontinent. The structures of illiberal imperialism laid down in this period continued to haunt radicals and reformers well into the nineteenth century. The conquest and consolidation of control over three provinces in northeastern India constituted an epoch-making departure in Britain’s long imperial history. The First British Empire gave way to the Second as large swathes of heavily populated territory in northeastern India were brought under the direct rule of the East India Company and, eventually, of the British state. The EIC’s conquest of Bengal witnessed the creation of a fiscal-military state devoted to the extraction of revenue from indigenous peasants and landlords via an extensive bureaucratic and military apparatus.49 The mercantile corporation emerged as a sovereign government whose “large and politically influential armies in the ‘garrison states’ of southern Asia created their own momentum for domineering and conquest.”50 Although Britain’s trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope continued to flourish, its imperial expansion in Asia was now accompanied by military conquest, territorial annexation, and political dominion. As we saw in chapter 4, a new commercial nexus accompanied this militarized imperialism. The Company had been shipping bullion to the Bay of Bengal for over a century in return for its prized cotton and silk piece-goods. The British corporation was not alone in doing so; Bengal’s high-quality and low-cost production of muslins, chintzes, and calicoes, along with its rich supply of saltpetre and raw silk, drew commercial companies and private traders from all over Africa, Asia, and Europe. The extensive production and transport of these goods, made possible by the agricultural fertility of the province and by convenient commercial access to its interior (via the riverine networks of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra), established Bengal as a vibrant center of trade and investment.51 “The abundance of advantages peculiar to this country,” asserted Robert Orme, Clive’s confidant and the prominent historian of early British India, has “induced the eastern world to call it the paradise of India; and the western, without hyperbole, the rich kingdom of Bengal.”52

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The Bay of Bengal’s central location in the commercial networks extending from the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea gave it a privileged place in the Asian trading world. The EIC was but one economic actor in this global zone of (pre-capitalist) commerce. In its new role as an imperial power, the Company sought to transform its trading arrangements in the region. During the later 1760s, the corporation began to fund its exports from Asia with the territorial revenue accruing to it as Bengal’s Diwan. Wealth derived from Bengali land taxes was used to purchase the EIC’s annual investment of indigenous manufactures and to provide resources for the corporation’s commercial activities in the Far East. No longer the repository of New World gold and silver, northeastern India was effectively subjected to an imperial pattern of “unrequited trade” during the 1760s. While the overarching goal of EIC commercial policy was to stabilize this pattern of unrequited trade, by the 1770s financial difficulties at home and escalating military expenses in India undermined this aim. Successful wars with South Asian rivals and territorial annexations gave the Company control over new sources of revenue, but its expenditures grew at a faster pace. Between 1792 and 1809, the EIC’s imperial state generated a deficit of ₤8 million.53 Recurrent warfare, the difficulties encountered by Company officials in collecting revenue, and devastating famine in Bengal ruined any possibility that East India House would realize the immense post-diwani financial benefits promised by Clive. Nevertheless, the landed wealth of Bengal was now devoted to the maintenance of an imperial state whose central purposes were to provide for internal order and external defense and—crucially—to maximize the collection of territorial revenue as well as the purchase of indigenous goods. Those goods were in turn sold in London and re-exported throughout Europe and the New World. The post-diwani imperial state was ultimately responsible to EIC directors and shareholders, and, through them, to the ministers and officials of the Board of Control. Following 1765, northeastern India was fully integrated into imperial political and economic structures centered in Britain. The advent of the Company’s imperial rule led to Bengal’s transformation into a corporate fiefdom responsible for paying tribute to Britain’s oligarchic order. The commercial profits that accrued from this territorial empire flowed into the hands of London’s wealthy merchants, financiers, professionals, and government employees in the form of both bi-annual dividend payments to the corporation’s shareholders and interest payments to holders of its shortterm debt.54 The EIC and its shareholders passed a portion of their profits to

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the Treasury via loans and grants, which in turn underwrote the British state’s fiscal-military operations. These loans and grants formed part of the everexpanding national debt, the maintenance and supply of which was crucial for meeting the military needs of the state and for the proper functioning of the oligarchic order.55 Thus the EIC was not only a commercial corporation but also a key element in the system of public credit, the London stock market, the fiscal-military state, and the ministerial machine that managed Parliament and the populace.56 The Company was, as Cain and Hopkins contend, “the most impressive overseas manifestation of the alliance between land and finance in the eighteenth century.”57 When the EIC reoriented Bengal’s economic activity in order to maximize its tributary revenue flow to Britain, it did so in the service of a wide range of metropolitan sociopolitical interests.58 The rise and consolidation of the Company’s dominion in Bengal in the 1760s irreversibly linked metropolitan politico-economic structures to territorial imperialism on the Indian subcontinent. The EIC’s entanglement in direct rule over vast populations inevitably drew British statesmen and officials into imperial management since the corporation played a vital role in Britain’s post-1688 political and financial institutions. The web of interests connecting the Company to the City’s commercial houses and insurance agencies as well as the shipping industry meant that the wider London business community was as invested as the national government in the corporation’s affairs. If the EIC’s territorial empire was threatened by internal revolt or external assault, the Company’s stock fell and panic spread throughout the City; such panic invariably undermined investor confidence in the London stock market, the public debt, and the national government. “With regard to the fall of the Company’s stock, whenever there shall be a war it will fall,” Edmund Burke proclaimed on the floor of the House of Commons in 1768. “What would the nation suffer by the fall of East-India stock?” he queried; “what it has often suffered within my memory; the other national stocks would fall together with it: the East-India stock could not receive a blow, without affecting every other stock.”59 Many metropolitan observers concluded that the British state was now irreversibly dependent on the EIC’s territorial empire in Bengal. “Be the conduct of persons interested in the [East India] company and its affairs still such as it has been; be the conduct of men in power what it will . . . the feelings of mankind in general are at last roused to a state of alarm; they apprehend the danger to the state[,]” observed the former governor of Massachusetts Thomas Pownall in 1773. “People now at last begin to view those Indian affairs, not simply as beneficial appendages

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connected to the Empire; but from the participation of their revenues being wrought into the very composition and frame of our finances; from the commerce of that country being indissolubly interwoven with our whole system of commerce; from the intercommunication of funded property between the company and the state, people in general from these views begin to see such an union of interest, such a co-existence between the two,” Pownall averred, “that they tremble with horror even at the imagination of the downfall of this Indian part of our system; knowing that it must necessarily involve with its fall, the ruin of the whole edifice of the British empire.”60 The Company’s financial and commercial tentacles stretched throughout British politics and society, and its imperial endeavors were of interest far beyond the boardrooms of East India House. Not surprisingly, Sir Eyre Coote, commander-in-chief of EIC forces in India, viewed victory in the Second Anglo-Mysore War as vital not only to the Company but also to Britain and the empire as a whole. Facing the well-organized armies of Hyder Ali, “whose rapid Success has Strengthened his Cause with the Natives to an alarming degree,” Coote informed the EIC Select Committee at Fort St. George that “every Individual of our little Army, seemed to feel, the Critical Situation of our National Concerns, dependant on this Country.”61 While the Company’s territorial empire ultimately did not secure the vast revenue surpluses that Clive claimed it would, it did provide two vital extraeconomic services for Britain’s ruling elite. First, the EIC’s empire became an important source of “politically-constituted private property” for Britain’s landed classes.62 The recurrent warfare and territorial conquests undertaken in order to maintain a British dominion on the Indian subcontinent created a vast bureaucratic and military apparatus, and the appointments it provided were an important source of patronage for the Company and its ministerial allies. In this sense, the EIC’s imperial state was akin to the great absolutist tax-office states of pre-1789 continental Europe, extracting an economic surplus from a peasantry in direct control of the means of subsistence and providing offices for the landed elite and their connections. As the Company’s territories expanded in the later eighteenth century, it provided an increasing number of lucrative administrative and military posts for Britain’s aristocracy and gentry.63 P. J. Marshall notes that the entry of the landed classes into the Company’s service “was carried forward very rapidly indeed after Plassey as stories of great fortunes being made in India induced many upper-class families to try their luck there.”64 While East India House was able to offer its political and business allies a wide range of administrative

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and commercial employment throughout the first half of the eighteenth century, these resources grew enormously from the 1760s forward. As a free merchant in Patna in the early 1770s, Pitt Lethieullier pleaded with one of his patrons for an appointment in the Company’s service, without which he felt he could not turn a profit. “I have had the mortification every Year, to find the Court of Directors of the E: I: Company, breaking through their Absolute Rules, & Orders, so that One or other, are coming out appointed as Senior, or Junior Merchants, & Factors annually, thro’ the Intst: of some or other,” Lethieullier remarked. “I am told Lord North [the prime minister] has such an Influence, with the Court of Directors, that they will not refuse his recommendations, if properly Supported.”65 Although Lethieullier and his friends were not successful in their quest to obtain one of the “many Lucrative emploiments, that have generally been filled up thro’ Recommendations from home,” there were plenty of well-connected Britons who were more fortunate.66 Facing social discontent and the renewal of political radicalism in the wake of the French Revolution, the British landed oligarchy pursued legislation that reformed the state, eliminating various aspects of the patronage and place system built up over the course of the previous century by the great Whig families. Seeking to stave off reform from below (or, worse yet, revolution), ministries began cleansing the oligarchic state of the worst elements of “Old Corruption.” During this era, when “economical reform” reducing Crown patronage and aristocratic sinecures passed through Parliament, a vast field of imperial patronage opened in South Asia. The EIC and the ministry were able to use this patronage both to support the families and connections of the landed elite and to expand the government’s political base.67 This system was a vital resource for the maintenance of the narrowly oligarchic character of the British state from the 1760s onward, when mass politics developed in fits and starts. The second important (yet far less obvious) extra-economic function of the Company’s post-1765 territorial imperialism was the politico-military underpinnings it provided for the British investing public’s confidence in the corporation’s long-term viability.68 Such underpinnings were vital not only for EIC directors, shareholders, and administrators whose salaries and dividends depended on the Company’s continuing existence in South Asia, but also for the many soldiers, servants, and private traders operating beyond the Cape of Good Hope. The wealth acquired by private British actors in the East was typically not transmitted directly to Britain, but rather deposited in the treasury of the EIC’s imperial state in Bengal. In return for these deposits, individuals received the Company’s bills of exchange payable at East India

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House in London. Therefore, whether they were Company servants, private merchants plying the lucrative trade from Calcutta to Canton, or soldiers providing their services to indigenous rulers at a good price, most individuals were able to realize rewards on their activities only through the medium of the EIC and its bills of exchange. If the Company’s headquarters in London did not have the financial resources necessary to meet the obligations entailed in these bills, wealth acquired in Asia would be difficult to transfer to Britain. Such a state of affairs bound the economic success of many servants, traders, financiers, and soldiers to the Company’s prospects in the East; their livelihood was tied up with the corporation’s profitability and viability. In order to better grasp the strength of these connections, it is worth quoting Holden Furber’s magisterial study of the early workings of the EIC’s empire in India at some length: In so far as the English or other European East India companies were concerned, payment of such a fortune [that is, bills of exchange as well as the interest payments they entailed] came out of the resources those companies then had available in Europe. More often than not, much of the money on which a Madras military officer took his ease in the Scottish Highlands was money borrowed in London, Paris, or Amsterdam. He owed his fortune not directly to India, but to the continued confidence, not only of his fellow Britons, but of his fellow Europeans, in future profits to be derived from the European connection with India . . . The more firmly Englishmen believed that an ever broader stream of wealth was pouring into England from India, the more secure his fortune would be, and the more opportunity he would have to set impecunious relatives upon the same path. The East India Company’s credit had to be maintained at all costs.69 British men and women who relied on remittances from the East were ultimately dependent on the Company’s viability and therefore required assurances of its long-term prosperity and survival. Crucially, ministers and civil servants viewed these concerns as vital for the state’s well-being since the economic success of private individuals as much as of the EIC bolstered the City’s profits and investments and, through them, the system of public credit. “How many millions of money have been brought from India, exclusive of what has been brought by public persons, since the year 1759,” exclaimed George Grenville in a 1768 parliamentary debate on Company affairs; “if these millions had not been so brought, where would this country have been,

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in regard to its finances?”70 Private British actors throughout Asia were eager to transmit their accumulated wealth back to London, and the state was anxious to help them do so. Both parties were committed to securing the EIC’s long-term financial viability by any means necessary. The acquisition of the diwani and the full commitment to sovereignty in Bengal that it entailed must be seen in this light. The consolidation of the Company’s imperial dominion signaled the fact that the territorial revenue of northeastern India was now in the corporation’s permanent possession. Although this revenue proved difficult to collect—let alone to increase—it nevertheless could be used to make commitments to future repayment, thus underwriting the EIC’s fiscal-military state. The Company could draw on loans and run up debt in order to fund its vital short-term operations— political, military, and commercial—if it was able to demonstrate its longterm capacity to meet its obligations. The revenue derived from the EIC’s politico-military control of Bengal provided the corporation with a permanent fund to meet the interest payments on its debts, thus securing the longterm confidence of those individuals and groups bound up in its complicated financial, commercial, and political networks. These calculations were important to politicians like Grenville who strongly backed Clive’s return to Bengal in 1764 and who, in 1768, supported his call to strengthen the Company’s political and military position in India.71 As long as the EIC and the British state were committed to the military defense of the corporation’s territory against all rivals—European and South Asian—the revenue of Bengal could underwrite and secure the Company’s long-term credit. The imperial state established by the EIC during the 1760s was fundamentally different in character from the British state. The Company’s political dominion was ultimately dependent on the extraction of a surplus from a peasantry in direct control of the means of subsistence. The successful extraction of this surplus, as well as the defense of Bengal from external threats, required ever-increasing politico-military capabilities that, in turn, required the extraction of even larger surpluses. This vicious circle created a dynamic of imperial expansion and territorial conquest that was fundamentally anathema to long-standing metropolitan practices and ideals. The EIC state that emerged in 1757, was consolidated in 1765, and was subsequently reformed and regulated by Britain’s Parliament in 1773 and 1784, was the central pillar of the Second British Empire in Africa and Asia. Its vast war machine was the lever of imperial expansion beyond the Cape of Good Hope. After subduing the subcontinent, the EIC’s armies went on to

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conquer new territories in Southeast Asia and to force open markets throughout the region.72 Beyond the military platform it provided for British activities throughout the East, the Company’s state was also a prototype for the bureaucratic-military despotisms erected by Britain throughout its empire in the later eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. The political authoritarianism and militarism that characterized Clive’s second Bengal governorship in 1765 served as a model for other regions.73 These developments heralded the birth of a new kind of imperialism, one in which a European-dominated bureaucratic state, fueled by agrarian revenue and devoted to the maintenance of a large army, relied upon nonEuropean peasant production.74 The British conquest of South Asia led to the establishment of what Ralph Austen aptly describes as a “bureaucratic, public revenue-oriented Beamtenstaat.”75 It was the first in a series of states comprised of “more-or-less despotic regime[s] of professional colonial bureaucrats” who fostered peasant production in order to extract revenue.76 The British Raj did not preserve a feudal-absolutist Indian order; it was a despotic regime wielding the most advanced techniques of modern statecraft. The new subcontinental state taking shape during this period lacked both indigenous political (as opposed to administrative) participation and the critical oversight provided by a developed public sphere and civil society. That the EIC’s conquest of Bengal constituted a radical departure from Britain’s long-standing maritime “empire of liberty” was a fact not lost on contemporaries. Josiah Tucker, the advocate of a mid-eighteenth-century political economy that emphasized the productive potential of human labor and the possibilities for infinite growth, decried the territorial aggrandizement that took place in North America and South Asia during the Seven Years’ War. “Princes expect to get by successful Wars, and a Series of Conquests, either more Territory, or more Subjects, or a more ample Revenue,” the Anglican divine averred, but this objective was undermined because “the indisputable Fact is, that an ill-peopled Country, though large and extensive, neither produces so great a Revenue as a small one well cultivated and populous; nor if it did, would the neat Produce of such a Revenue be equal to that of the other because it is, in a manner, swallowed up in Governments, Guards, and Garrisons, in Salaries and Pensions, and all the consuming Perquisites and Expences attendant on distant Provinces.” The very fact that such assertions required repeating astonished Tucker, for he thought it quite clear that only increases in labor productivity and reductions in cost allowed British goods to conquer foreign markets. The polemicist pithily summarized his own position

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when he asserted that “trade will always follow Cheapness, and not Conquest.”77 In the lead-up to the 1772 parliamentary inquiry into the Company’s affairs, Horace Walpole, the Whig politician and famed novelist, proclaimed that the “groans of India have mounted to heaven, where the heaven-born general Lord Clive will certainly be disavowed.” Astonished at the reports of famine and plunder that were filling London coffeehouses and pubs in the later 1760s, Walpole declared that the British “have outdone the Spaniards in Peru!” He believed that Britain “beat Rome in eloquence and extravagance; and Spain in avarice and cruelty: and like both, we shall only serve to terrify schoolboys, and for lessons of morality! ‘Here stood St Stephen’s Chapel; here young Cataline spoke; here was Lord Clive’s diamond house; this is Leadenhall Street, and this broken column was part of the palace of a company of merchants who were sovereigns of Bengal! They starved millions in India by monopolies and plunder . . . Conquest, usurpation, wealth, luxury, famine— one knows how little farther the genealogy has to go!”78 For Walpole and his co-thinkers, the establishment of a British territorial empire in India was a historical regression without precedent.79 The EIC’s conquest of Bengal was central to a radical political imagination widespread in Britain and the colonies that interpreted the metropolitan government’s post-1763 Atlantic imperial reforms as an attempt to establish an “arbitrary power” over North America. Radicals viewed the aristocraticoligarchic state’s efforts to tax the American colonies without the consent of their assemblies and without granting them parliamentary representation in Britain as the imperial recrudescence of Stuart absolutism: that is, as an attempt by the state to rule above civil society instead of through it. In the seventeenth century, the Crown had sought to govern England independently of the wishes of Parliament and the people by levying taxes without legislative consent. From the radical standpoint, this project was being revived in an altered form in the 1760s: the king and Parliament were seeking to govern the colonies independently of their populations by levying taxes without the consent of local assemblies. Defending the colonial resistance movement in the House of Commons in October 1775, the radical Whig MP and fierce critic of the New Tory imperialism George Dempster remarked: [I]n my conscience I think the claim of the Americans is just and well founded, to be left in the free exercise of the right of taxing themselves in her several provincial assemblies . . . [b]y this beautiful part of our constitution, our wise ancestors have bound together the different and

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distant parts of this mighty empire; by this single principle heretofore inviolate, they have diffused in a most unexampled manner the blessings of liberty and good government through our remotest provinces. Look, Sir, into the history of the provinces of other states, of the Roman provinces in ancient time; of the French, Spanish, Dutch and Turkish provinces of more modern date, and you will find every page of it stained with acts of oppressive violence, of cruelty, injustice and peculation: but in the British provinces, the annual meetings of their little assemblies have constantly restrained the despotism, and corrected the follies of their governors; they watch over the administration of justice, and from time to time enact such salutary regulations as tend to promote their happiness and well-being. And what, Sir, I beseech you, could insure the regular meetings of those assemblies, ever troublesome to governors, but their retaining in their own hands, like us at home, the power of granting the funds necessary for defraying the current expense of government. Were your provincial assemblies deprived of this power, I cannot see wherein the government of America would differ from that of Indostan. And has our enquiries, in a former session, into the administration of Bengal, made us in love with the eastern species of government? Do we seriously wish to transplant the rapine and cruelties of India to America?80 According to many of the colonial American merchants, shopkeepers, farmers, lawyers, and artisans bitterly opposed to the imperial taxation and regulation measures put in place during the 1760s, the British state was pursuing a politically autocratic and economically extractive imperialism not seen since the reign of King James II in the later 1680s. The triumph of New Tory political economy—that is, of the executive’s absolute, extra-parliamentary authority over commodity exchange and the division of labor—was nowhere more evident for the radical Whigs of the American colonies than in the case of the East India Company’s newly won territorial empire. In northeastern India, the EIC ruled entirely without the consent of the governed. Taxation without representation was an accomplished fact in Bengal. In remarks on Clive’s death in 1775, the radical Whig and future revolutionary Thomas Paine portrayed the Barron of Plassey’s second governorship of Bengal as an embodiment of arbitrary power: “But alas! not satisfied with uncountable thousands, I accompany [Clive] again to India. . . . Fear and terror march like pioneers before his camp, murder and rapine follow in the rear.

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Resolved on accumulating an unbounded fortune, he enters into all the schemes of war, treaty, and intrigue. . . . Thousands of men or money are trifles in an India bargain. The field is an empire, and the treasure almost without end. The wretched inhabitants are glad to compound for offences never committed, and to purchase at any rate the privilege to breath; while he, the sole lord of their lives and fortunes, disposes of either as he pleases, and prepares for Europe.”81 The New York Sons of Liberty, fierce opponents of Parliament’s 1773 Tea Act, charged the corporation with “a Barbarity scarce equaled even by the most brutal Savages, or Cortez, the Mexican Conqueror.”82 Casting themselves as the defenders of the Whig revolutionary inheritance of 1688, and the EIC’s emerging empire as the return of Stuart despotism, the Sons of Liberty asserted that “what the People then had in Apprehension [in 1688], we feel by sad Experience . . . that the East India Company would some Day or other have a baneful influence on the Politicks and Constitution of that Nation [England].”83 For these radicals, the British state’s effort to rule populations without their consent was successfully realized in Bengal. The EIC, an oligarchic and increasingly arbitrary power, levied taxes and maintained a standing army without the consent of the governed. The support offered to the Company’s despotic empire by the Crown and Parliament signaled the conversion of Britain’s political elite to the rule of arbitrary power. This broad ideological background explains why, as Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. argued over a century ago, the American Revolution was in part an “uprising against the East India Company.”84 The EIC’s territorial conquests were nakedly coercive in character, and radical Whigs viewed them as a threat to the development of commercial society and the maritime “empire of liberty” as well as a reversion to barbaric modes of expansion. “The horrid scene that is now acting by the English government in the East-Indies,” Paine declared in his 1791 revolutionary manifesto The Rights of Man, “is fit only to be told of Goths and Vandals, who, destitute of principle, robbed and tortured the world they were incapable of enjoying.”85 In 1790, the New York resident Bartholomew Burges recalled his travels to Calcutta, where he claimed to have conversed with Cojah Petrus, Jenoniah D’Ameida, and several of Clive’s other friends and backers. “Lord Clive, a star of the first magnitude in the East . . . declared in Council and openly, that all acquisitions made under the commission of any body politic, were legal, and that it was neither immoral or irreligious to exact contribution, and establish subordination, and that it was the nature of mankind to contend for superiority and dominion,” Burges informed his readers, “and added, that

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the innumerable and successive instances related since the creation, of men arriving to glory, and barbarous nations to civilization, by adopting belligerent maxims and conducting themselves with craft and policy towards the people they had to deal with, sufficiently demonstrated the laws of conquest to be justifiable, as having a general tendency towards the improvement of mankind; that the sword conquered more passions than starched philosophic documents, study, or strenuousness; adverting that by that right, and no other, did our ancestors come to their estates.”86 The veracity of this account is beside the point. Burges related this information to the post-revolutionary American reading public because it confirmed themes that were widespread in colonial newspapers and pamphlets from the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the conclusion of the War for American Independence. Namely, that the takeover of Bengal by the EIC and its agents—above all Clive—represented the overthrow of an empire of liberty in favor of one of conquest. American politicians and opinion-makers including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin—as well as their radical colleagues in Britain such as James Burgh, Richard Price, and Richard Priestley—argued that the creation of an autocratic Indian empire with the support of British ministers signaled an end to the empire of trade and liberty, thus justifying colonial resistance to metropolitan authority and, eventually, revolution.87 Those politicians and writers who viewed Britain’s maritime “empire of liberty” as an emancipation from the brutal and self-defeating territorial expansionism practiced from ancient Rome to sixteenth-century Spain invariably viewed the Company’s conquest of Bengal as a major historical regression.88 While the maritime “empire of liberty” sought to limit coercion on the world stage, weaving the globe’s population together in mutually beneficial arrangements, the new EIC expansionism was extra-economic and coercive in character. “Empire in India,” Marshall contends in his account of eighteenth-century imperial transformation, “was the total antithesis of all ideals for a British empire that was characterized by freedom.”89 For many Britons, in particular domestic and colonial radicals, the Company’s imperialism was a reversion to the violent and overt domination that commercial society was supposed to have overcome (or, at least, to be overcoming). The EIC’s imperial state in Bengal was not an anomaly but rather a harbinger of the future.90 For it was the acquisition of the diwani and the consolidation of an autocratic and tributary territorial empire on the Indian subcontinent in 1765, and not the loss of the American colonies in 1783, that ultimately signaled the shift from the First to the Second British Empire. The political authoritarianism

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and extractive political economy of the Company’s territorial state anticipated the imperial despotisms erected by Britain in the era of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and then again amid the Great Power rivalry of the late nineteenth century. The Second British Empire in Africa and Asia was not characterized by political freedoms and economic development but rather by conquest, dominion, and tribute. The willingness of Britain’s ruling class not only to accept but to embrace the Company’s territorial dominion signaled its effective abandonment of the Whiggish and radical ideals of an empire of trade and liberty. From there, it was only a short step to the military effort to coerce the Atlantic colonies into submission and the War for American Independence. The outbreak of hostilities at Lexington and Concord was a consequence of events taking place in Calcutta and Madras as well as in Boston and Philadelphia. Contra Whig historiography, the central political conflict of the 1760s and 1770s did not revolve around a struggle between Crown and Parliament but rather around the character of the parliamentary settlement achieved in 1688. Was 1688 the end of Britain’s political evolution, or was it a revolutionary prelude to the kingdom’s ever-increasing liberalization and democratization? Did “British liberty” simply entail the preservation of the unreformed parliamentary political order achieved in 1688, or did it mean something more expansive? Was the Revolution Settlement the beginning or the end of the processes of liberalization and democratization in Britain? The New Tory political project that emerged in the decade following George III’s accession did not seek to restore royal absolutism but rather to preserve the post-1688 political order in the face of more democratic challenges and demands. However, given the crisis of the fiscal-military state, the growth of social discontent, and the emergence of radical Whiggism, the New Tories could not simply maintain the political status quo. They were forced to reconsolidate the oligarchic order on a new basis, with measures and policies designed to deal with the crises of the 1760s and 1770s. Central to these new measures was the transformation of the British Empire. The consolidation of the Company’s territorial dominion in northeastern India was fundamentally bound up with the emergence and development of the New Tory imperialism. The EIC’s imperial state in Bengal was not born in “a fit of absence of mind” but rather in the midst of a profound politicaleconomic crisis in Britain and its empire. The development of Britain’s territorial dominion in India was not an accident but a symptom. It was the expression of fundamental transformations in British political life and in the relations between the kingdom and the wider world. Throughout the seventeenth and

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early eighteenth centuries, Britain’s parliamentary elite were at the forefront of the struggle against royal absolutism and the spread of arbitrary power. During the 1760s and 1770s, this was no longer the case. British politics was entering a profoundly conservative phase, and the country’s ruling class was in the vanguard of the European effort to suppress revolution and republicanism. Thus, well before 1789, Britain’s landed elite mobilized a reactionary defense of the established order at home and abroad. This political transformation found its greatest and most lasting expression in the transition from the First to the Second British Empire.

Epilogue

The Abbé Raynal’s A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies was one of those Enlightenment treatises that blazed like a comet across the night sky of the ancien régime. Widely translated and published, with twenty official and fifty illegal editions produced between 1770 and 1796, Raynal’s multivolume history of European overseas expansion—written in secret collaboration with a number of philosophes, most importantly Denis Diderot—was banned by the Bourbon monarchy. France’s Catholic establishment declared the author “one of the most seditious writers among modern unbelievers.”1 The powers of church and state were not able to thwart the spread of Raynal’s tomes, which were, according to Jonathan Israel, “more widely read than any other Enlightenment work.”2 While the Philosophical History was a bestseller throughout the Atlantic world, it was particularly widely discussed and debated in Britain and its empire, especially after the first English-language edition was published in 1774.3 The work was the most detailed and critical examination to date of European overseas expansion, and it was avidly read in Britain—where it most famously influenced Adam Smith while he was in the final stages of composing An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations—because the kingdom was in the throes of an imperial crisis that stretched from its colonial settlements in North America all the way to its commercial outposts in Asia. 232

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Raynal’s tomes were immediately incorporated into an ongoing and farranging debate over the nature and purposes of the British Empire. “The work gained as much fame in the New World as in the Old,” Lynn Hunt reminds us, where “American colonists read it as a defense of the rights of man” against the pretensions of British ministers and imperial authorities.4 The Philosophical History was viewed as an effort not merely to understand the world of European imperialism but also to change it, and “many readers, reactions suggest, grasped the work’s revolutionary implications at the time and early on it was recognized as one of the most decisive publishing events in all history.”5 Fundamental to the work’s message was Raynal’s historical interpretation of the aspirations created by the English Revolution and their betrayal in the period following the Seven Years’ War. The central argument of Raynal and the other philosophes was that world history as such was coming into being for the first time in the history of the world. The denizens of the salons and coffeehouses of Amsterdam, Paris, Philadelphia, and London were informed that the discoveries, transformations, and upheavals of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries had constituted a universal historical process that encompassed the planet and bound all of humanity to a common fate. This process entailed the formation of a global commercial society based upon the universal exchange of labor and its products: “No event has been so interesting to mankind in general, and to the inhabitants of Europe in particular, as the discovery of the new world, and the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope. It gave rise to a revolution in the commerce, and in the power of nations; and in the manners, industry, and government of the whole world. At this period, new connections were formed by the inhabitants of the most distant regions, for the supply of wants they had never before experienced. The productions of climates situated under the equator, were consumed in countries bordering on the pole; the industry of the north was transplanted to the south; and the inhabitants of the west were clothed with the manufactures of the east: a general intercourse of opinions, laws and customs, diseases and remedies, virtues and vices, was established among men.” The emergence of global commercial society entailed both the overseas expansion of Europe and its fundamental transformation at home. “Since America and the passage by the Cape has been known, some nations that were of no consequences are become powerful,” Raynal averred; “others, that were the terror of Europe, have lost their authority.”6 In effect, one of the central purposes of this philosophical and political history of commercial and colonial expansion was to inform the reading public that the signal achievements

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of post-Renaissance Europe were the result of the fact that regions of the continent were transforming into the nexus of a global commercial and manufacturing society; a society that fused the cultural and intellectual inheritances of world civilizations together and that created a dynamic, cosmopolitan sociality. For Raynal and his collaborators, the eighteenth-century Enlightenment was inseparably bound up with the emergence of the world as such and, thus, with the emergence of world history. It was precisely for this reason—the potential for the rise and development of a genuinely cosmopolitan civil society—that Raynal and his fellow philosophes set pen to paper. It was the emergence and expansion of global commercial society—what Enlightenment writers generally referred to as the achievement of “universal commerce”—that the Philosophical History sought to develop a greater awareness of in the republic of letters. The transnational commercial society of the eighteenth century had the potential to serve as a powerful instrument in overcoming scarcity, achieving human mastery over nature, and expanding individual and social freedom on a global scale. According to Raynal, developments in the eighteenth century were fulfilling and dramatically transcending the historical promise of commercial and maritime communities going back to the ancient civilizations of the Near East and North Africa. “The commercial states have civilized all others,” the Philosophical History confidently declared before triumphantly recounting the history of the trading and seafaring Phoenician city-states, “whose extent of country and influence were extremely limited” but who nevertheless “acquired by their genius for naval enterprises, an importance which ranked them foremost in the history of ancient nations . . . happy in possessing so few natural advantages, since the want of these awakened that spirit of invention and industry, which is the parent of arts and opulence!” It was the commercial, maritime, and urban world of the Phoenicians—and not the vast agrarian empires built on conquest—that provided historical antecedents for the emergent cosmopolis of the eighteenth century. “It must be confessed, that the situation of the Phoenicians was admirably adapted to extend their commerce to every part of the world,” Raynal enthused, “by inhabiting, as it were, the confines of Africa, Asia, and Europe, if they could not unite the inhabitants of the globe in one common interest, they had it at least in their power, by a commercial intercourse, to communicate to every nation the enjoyments of all climates.” And it was the Phoenician trading and maritime communities that founded Carthage, the North African city-state that might have drawn the world into a web of universal exchange “had the Roman power

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never existed . . . but the ambition of one nation excited all the rest to relinquish the arts of commerce for those of war, and either to conquer or to perish.”7 Raynal reinterpreted the history of Europe from the standpoint of the developing transnational commercial society of the eighteenth century. The economic improvement and growing enlightenment of the world around him were the products neither of the Greco-Roman tradition nor of Christianity and medieval European civilization, but rather of the potential for “universal commerce” that had been developing since the trading and maritime communities of the ancient world. From this perspective, the Roman Empire and its barbarian aftermath were little more than criminal enterprises. “The Romans, formed for conquest, though they dazzled the world with an appearance of grandeur,” Raynal observed, “promoted an intercourse between different nations, not by uniting them by the ties of commerce, but by imposing upon them the same yoke of subordination. They ravaged the globe, which, when reduced to subjection, they left in a state rather of lethargy than tranquility. Their despotism and military government oppressed the people, extinguished the powers of genius, and degraded the human race.” The highest achievement of ancient civilization lay in its potential, contained within city-states such as Athens and Carthage, to establish “universal commerce.” The great agrarian empires were redeemable insofar as they served the purpose of helping to foster global trade. Otherwise, the “progress” over savagery entailed in the rise and development of civilization was at best ambiguous. It was on this basis that the Philosophical History interpreted the victory of Rome in the Punic Wars as a world-historical defeat for humanity. “Carthage, after a long and glorious contest for the empire of the world, was forced to submit to the all-subduing genius of Rome,” Raynal lamented; “[t]he subversion of a republic, which gloried in its industry, and owed its power to its skill in useful arts, was, perhaps, a misfortune to Europe, and to the world in general.”8 The Philosophical History and similar contemporary treatises contended that the global commercial society coming into being in the eighteenth century represented both the fulfillment of the potential contained within the early maritime communities and the radical transcendence of such potential insofar as it made possible the development of a cosmopolitan order unimaginable in the ancient world. For Raynal, such a cosmopolitan civil society had become achievable only in the eighteenth century. “But the ancients whom we have so often excelled, though we have derived much useful knowledge from them,” he observed, “had not means sufficient to enable them to establish an

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universal commerce.”9 The commercial and manufacturing society of the eighteenth century, based upon the increasingly global exchange of labor and its products, represented both the culmination of civilization and its liquidation and overcoming by a historically unprecedented, dynamic form of human sociality. The “universal commerce” that was coming into view in the eighteenth century, and that Raynal and his collaborators were struggling to promote a greater awareness of, was much more than a quantitative increase in world trade. It had the potential for a qualitative transformation of the globe. The world might be made anew. Raynal’s magisterial treatise and the developing theorization of commercial society in the discourse of political economy with which it was bound up were intended not to praise the world of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment but to task it. For many of the radical philosophes, the emancipatory potential that emerged with the breakdown of late medieval civilization and the subsequent commercial and colonial expansion of Western Europe was the result of a contingent, not an inevitable, process. Men and women only became conscious of and sought to realize this emancipatory potential in the wake of the Dutch Revolt (c. 1568–1648) and England’s seventeenth-century revolutionary upheavals (c. 1641–1689). Furthermore, for radical Enlightenment thinkers such as Diderot and Raynal, the achievements of the Dutch and English revolutions in promoting an awareness of the potential for emancipation contained in “universal commerce” were in danger of being undermined and lost in the eighteenth-century world of enlightened absolutism and increasingly conservative British and Dutch regimes.10 If those achievements were to be secured for the future, they had to be advanced in the present. Raynal’s history tasked the eighteenth-century Enlightenment with understanding its own conditions of possibility and, in doing so, with advancing “universal commerce.” Based on his detailed study of recent overseas expansion, Raynal was by no means optimistic about European civilization’s prospects for contributing to the advance and development of global commercial society: If we consider that the Europeans have the advantage of all the knowledge of the Greeks, that their commerce is infinitely more extensive, that since the improvements in navigation, their ideas are directed to greater, and more various objects; it is astonishing that they should not have the most palpable superiority over them. But it must be observed, that when these people arrived at the knowledge of the arts and of

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trade, they were just produced as it were from the hands of nature, and had all the powers necessary to improve the talents she had given them: whereas the European nations had the misfortune to be restrained by laws, by government, and by an exclusive and imperious religion. In Greece the arts of trade met with men, in Europe with slaves. Whenever the absurdities of our institutions have been pointed out, we have taken pains to correct them, without daring totally to overthrow the edifice. We have remedied some abuses, by introducing others; and, in our efforts to support, reform and palliate, we have adopted more contradictions and absurdities in our manners, than are to be found among the most barbarous people. For this reason, if the arts should ever gain admission among the Tartars and Iroquois, they will make an infinitely more rapid progress among them, than they can ever do in Russia and Poland. The point of the Philosophical History was neither to praise nor to describe European overseas expansion but rather to provoke greater awareness of the fact that a global commercial society was emerging that contained significant emancipatory potential for humanity. While the achievement of greater individual and collective freedom might entail political struggle and social change, any project of this sort was only possible if there was greater awareness of what made individual and collective freedom possible in the first place—that is, the conditions and dynamics of commercial society. “The Europeans have founded colonies in all parts, but are they acquainted with the principles on which they ought to be formed?” Raynal queried. “They have established a commerce of exchange, of the productions of the earth and of manufactures. This commerce is transferred from one people to another. Can we not discover by what means, and it what situations this has been effected . . . how comes it to pass that those to whom Nature has been most liberal, are not always the richest and most flourishing?”11 In calling for a systematic inquiry into the principles of “the wealth of nations,” Raynal and his collaborators were seeking to provoke a greater awareness of the very commercial society that they were a product of and that made the Enlightenment possible. They aimed to promote a wider public understanding of commercial society so that men and women, acting on the basis of such an understanding, could realize that society’s emancipatory potential—and fulfill the project of “universal commerce.” The Philosophical History was published on the eve of the democratic revolutions that rocked Western Europe and North America and whose effects

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rippled throughout the world. It was a time when many leading thinkers felt that the achievement of a cosmopolitan civil society—a society that was based not on the domination of Europe but on “universal commerce”—was on the not-too-distant horizon. It was the hope and expectation of many intellectuals and writers that the world market and the global division of labor would soon free humanity from scarcity, poverty, and coercion while spreading the benefits of reason, liberty, and prosperity to all regions. The long nineteenth century, stretching from the outbreak of the democratic revolutions in 1776 and 1789 to the First World War, both fulfilled and thwarted these radical aims and aspirations. The consolidation of the world market and the global division of labor were certainly two of the century’s achievements—and, in that sense, the project of a “universal commerce” was partially fulfilled—but the aspirations for a cosmopolitan civil society that delivered perpetual peace, boundless and widely diffused prosperity, liberal regimes based on the rights of self-determining individuals, and everexpanding social freedom came to naught. By century’s end, the uneven development of the global capitalist economy had created an advanced industrialized core in Europe and North America and a colonial and semicolonial agrarian periphery across much of the rest of the world. The processes of industrialization and proletarianization in the West gave rise to a society in which many members of the new urban-based working class toiled for unprecedented hours in factories while a significant number of their fellows went unemployed and were thus rendered socially superfluous and dependent. Rather than achieving a perpetual peace based on universal exchange—and, with it, the withering away of the state and its military means of coercion—the long nineteenth century witnessed the growth of authoritarian state forms with large bureaucracies and standing armies steeled for combat in ever-more destructive wars and for imperial conquest and dominion overseas. While the consolidation of the world market and the global division of labor during the long nineteenth century—and, with it, the emphatic constitution of world history—certainly transformed the planet, it is not altogether clear that it freed humanity. One of the greatest examples of the radical Enlightenment’s unrealized and thwarted aspirations for a cosmopolitan civil society is European expansion in Asia during the later eighteenth century. Up to that point, the most important development in the centuries-long encounter between Europe and Asia was the rise of the British Indian empire. For philosophes such as Diderot and Raynal, hope for the future lay in the rise of a commercial cosmopolis that

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would integrate and reorganize human activity on a world scale and thus tap the potential for infinite wealth and boundless freedom that “slumbered in the lap of social labor.” The project of “universal commerce” that they sought to advance intellectually did not entail the domination, division, and redivision of the world by the European Great Powers in the service of their own geopolitical interests and economic development. Radical Enlightenment thinkers believed that the mercantile and manufacturing worlds of Asia and Europe held out the greatest prospects for the advance of “universal commerce” and for the creation of the cosmopolitan civil society they envisioned. And those worlds became directly linked in the later eighteenth century when the British East India Company transformed from a trading corporation into a territorial empire in northeastern India. As a consequence, the most dynamic commercial and manufacturing society of the Western world, Britain and its Atlantic empire, collided with one of the richest and most economically buoyant regions of the Indian Ocean, the Mughal province of Bengal. It was clear for writers like Raynal that the imperial connection between Britain and Bengal, and the fusion of their commercial worlds, had great potential for generating a cosmopolitan civil society. But, as the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth, such potential went unfulfilled. The nineteenth-century British Raj in India was an extractive, bureaucratic, and military despotism that loomed large over an increasingly agrarian and racially divided society. The imperial state did not rule through colonial society but above it, with no significant indigenous political representation or checks on its authority. This autocratic political order preserved and transformed traditional hierarchies and customs, fusing them with modern techniques of statecraft and political economy in order to maintain a coercive apparatus that extracted revenue. It stifled the economy, propped up a landed and financial oligarchy in Britain as well as traditional elites in India, and supported the forces of counter-revolution throughout Europe and the world. The consolidation of the East India Company’s imperial state in Bengal during the 1760s and 1770s was not simply one episode among others. The Company’s authoritarian and extractive state was very much the prototype for the reinvigorated aristocratic, autocratic, and military forms of rule that characterized the Second British Empire and the European imperialism that flourished globally during the epoch of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.12 Furthermore, the illiberal imperialism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was the most important forerunner of the New Imperialism of the 1880s and 1890s, which carved up the world into Great Power-dominated

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military and economic blocs.13 The Raj was one of the most profound expressions of the failure to achieve the radical Enlightenment’s aspirations for a cosmopolitan civil society. Raynal and his collaborators on the Philosophical History were, already in the 1770s, expressing their dismay at the failure of the EIC’s emerging imperial state to realize the potential for integrating Bengal’s and Britain’s commercial and manufacturing societies—and, in doing so, merging the trading worlds of Asia and Europe. Broadly put, they were developing a systematic critique of the growing illiberalism of the British Empire in Asia and throughout the world. Neither their dismay nor their critique stemmed from concern with the Company’s growing political power on the subcontinent. Rather, they were deeply troubled by the way that political power was deployed to prop up the corporation’s short-term commercial interests and the British state’s short-term fiscal-military needs at the expense of a liberalizing imperial impulse that might reorganize Bengali commercial and manufacturing society, fully integrating it into Britain’s worldwide empire of trade and liberty. Raynal thought that the EIC’s presence in Asia had the potential to fuse the commercial worlds of Britain and India because the corporation’s directors had pursued the “sufficiently enlightened” policy of allowing “the private traders of their own nation” to pursue the port-to-port and upcountry trade in Asia largely unimpeded. The Company servants and free merchants who traded on their own private accounts throughout the Indian Ocean world had introduced a new dynamism into European operations in Asia and had developed commercial relations far beyond the traditional confines of the monopoly companies and their prized markets.14 Thus, emerging within the EIC’s trading networks and settlements in the East was a dynamic commercial sphere characterized by entrepreneurship and mobility rather than monopoly and stasis. This zone of private trade stretched across the Indian Ocean world and deeply penetrated the commercial and manufacturing centers of the Coromandel Coast and the Bay of Bengal. If the Company’s limitations on this commercial sphere were lifted and if its trade and settlements were opened to the free play of private interests—that is, if the EIC’s public infrastructure was transformed from the property of a monopoly company into a vehicle for the expansion of free trade within Asia as well as between East and West—then a Eurasian civil society with Calcutta as its capital might develop. While the outcome of the Seven Years’ War in India and Robert Clive’s victory over the Nawab of Bengal at Plassey in 1757—and, consequently, the

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growing political power of the EIC in South Asia—might have provided the military bridgehead for the development of such a Eurasian civil society around Calcutta, the authors of the Philosophical History maintained no illusions about the economically extractive despotism that the Company was actually putting in place, starting with Clive’s return to Bengal in 1764 and culminating with his acquisition of the diwani from the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II in 1765. In the early 1760s, Raynal observed, the Emperor was “[a]bandoned by his subjects, betrayed by his allies, without support, without any army” and “allured by the power of the English” who “promised to conduct him to Delhi, and reestablish him on his throne[.]” Despite the commitments made by the EIC’s agents to restore the Mughal Empire and to overcome the political fragmentation of the subcontinent, under Clive’s direction “they began by causing him [Shah Alam II] to cede beforehand the absolute sovereignty over Bengal” by transferring the right to collect revenue to the British corporation, which was “made by an authentic act, and attended with all the formalities usually practiced throughout the Mogul empire.” Although the Company was now in control of Bengal, Raynal commented wryly, its forces abandoned the Emperor and sought to obscure the fact that power had changed hands in northeastern India: The English, securely possessed of this title [the diwani], which was to give a kind of legitimacy to their usurpation, at least in the eyes of the vulgar, soon forgot the promises they had made. They gave the Mogul to understand that particular circumstances would not suffer them to be concerned in such an enterprise . . . and to make up for all his losses, they assigned him a pension of six millions . . . upon which that unfortunate prince was reduced to subsist himself in one of the principal towns of the province of Banarez, where he has taken up residence. . . . The English, thus become sovereigns of Bengal, have thought it incumbent on them to keep up the shadow of ancient forms, in a country where they have the lead and, perhaps, the only power that is likely to be secure and lasting. They govern the kingdom still under the name of a nabob, who is of their nomination and in their pay and seems to give his orders. It is from him that all public acts seem to proceed and issue, though the decrees in fact of the council at Calcutta; so that the people, notwithstanding their change of masters, have for a considerable time been induced to believe, that they still submitted but to the same yoke.15

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The growing British political and military power on the subcontinent was not wielded to create a liberal regime that could further improve Bengal’s commercial society and fuse it with Britain’s global trading empire. Instead, the Company’s new means of coercion—that is, the territorial empire—were deployed in the service of its narrow oligarchic interests. Raynal and his collaborators were clear about the fact that the EIC’s territorial empire posed greater obstacles to the development of Bengal’s commercial society than had the previous Mughal and nawabi regimes. For the Company’s state not only preserved many of the abuses and privileges of traditional elites and practices in Bengal but incorporated them into a new political-economic imperial order that transformed northeastern India into a tributary province designed to prop up a European monopoly company and, through it, the revenue-hungry British political establishment. “This new arrangement of matters without having wrought any sensible change in the exterior form of the English company,” the Philosophical History observed, “has essentially changed their object . . . no longer a trading body, they are a territorial power which farms out its revenues in aid of a commerce that formerly was their sole existence, and which, notwithstanding the extension it has received, is no more than an additional object in the various combinations of their present real grandeur.”16 The territorial revenue that the EIC accrued as the Diwan of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa was now the primary object of its concern. The Company no longer imported New World gold and silver but rather used the proceeds of the land tax to make its large-scale purchases of Bengali silk and cotton piece-goods. Thus, Indian textiles, now produced and sold under the corporation’s imperial rule, became the means for remitting territorial revenue to London and for maintaining a monopoly company that was a key pillar of Britain’s fiscal-military state. The EIC was now a tax-collecting behemoth that drew its sustenance from Bengal’s peasants and landlords, whose wealth maintained a vast bureaucracy and military that supported Britain’s expanding empire in the East. Raynal contended that the EIC’s territorial empire was not laying the groundwork for a Eurasian civil society because it was not building a state designed to further “universal commerce” (that is, the unlimited and unimpeded exchange of labor and its products) between European traders and Asian weavers and merchants. Rather, through its monopolistic and monopsonistic practices, the emerging Company state was establishing conditions inimical for the creation of a civil society of self-determining individuals who could freely dispose of their labor and property as they saw fit:

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[The EIC has] had the duties augmented, and, to conclude all, have obtained an edict, which has been published, to forbid all private Europeans trading in the interior parts of Bengal, and leaving it open and lawful only for the English. When we reflect on such a barbarous prohibition, it seems as if it had been contrived only to exhaust all the powers of doing mischief to that unfortunate country, whose prosperity, for their own sake, ought to be the only object of the English company. . . . But still in the midst of this overbearing conduct, so contrary to the advantage of their constituents, these treacherous agents have attempted to disguise themselves under the mask of zeal. It was necessary, say they, to export to England a quantity of merchandise proportioned to the extent of her commerce, but the competition of private traders was prejudicial to the purchases of the company. Under the same pretext, and in order to extend this exclusion to the foreign settlements while they appear to respect their rights, they have of late years ordered more merchandise than Bengal could furnish. At the same time the weavers have been forbidden to work for other nations until the English orders were completed. Thus the workmen, not being any longer at liberty to choose among the several purchasers, have been forced to deliver the fruits of their labour at the price they were pleased to give for them [emphasis mine]. The British territorial empire protected the EIC’s monopoly private property and did not expand the freedom of labor and its exchange among Bengali “workmen” nor among independent European and Asian merchants. By undermining free labor and the private property generated on its basis, the EIC not only squandered the potential to build an emancipated civil society in India but also struck at the foundations of wealth creation that were already present in Bengal. Under the auspices of the Mughal Empire “industry, agriculture, and population, have been carried to such length in the province of Bengal,” Raynal averred, “one would think they might still be carried further under the government of a free people, friends to humanity; but the thirst of money, the most devouring, the most cruel of all passions, has given rise to a pernicious and destructive government.”17 In Britain, the royal executive was limited by Parliament and the law. Thus, it was forced to rule through civil society instead of above it. In British North America, royal governors and imperial officials were constrained by colonial assemblies. However, the features of this “empire of liberty” in the

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British Atlantic world—an empire based on the rule of law and the rights of private property—were not extended to South Asia. No local councils or legislatures constrained the EIC’s neo-absolutist despotism. While in Britain the means of coercion provided the public framework for the ceaseless development of civil society, such conditions did not exist in the Company’s Indian empire. The Philosophical History made this situation clear to its readers: “We must allow that the corruption to which the English have given themselves up from the first beginning of their power, the oppression which has succeeded it, the abuses every day multiplying, the entire loss of principle; all these circumstances together form a contrast totally disagreeing with their past conduct in India, and the real constitution of their government in Europe . . . the English government considering the conquest of Bengal but as a help towards increasing numerically the revenue of Great Britain, gave up to the company for 9,000,000 livres per annum, the destiny of twelve millions of people.”18 While the EIC was subject to parliamentary regulation and the rule of law in Britain—and, thus, to the country’s civil society—its imperial state in Bengal operated under no such constraints. Furthermore, in return for a portion of the tribute that the Company extracted from its Indian provinces, Britain’s Parliament declined to assume direct control and supervision of the corporation’s emerging Asian empire. Thus, the EIC’s dominion in Bengal was effectively sealed off from the critical-political scrutiny of Britain’s public sphere and civil society. The “empire of liberty” was not extended beyond the Cape of Good Hope. The territorial empire that the Company consolidated during the 1760s and 1770s was the forerunner of the heavily militarized and autocratic imperialism of the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because it was an authoritarian and reactionary but nevertheless modern state. It did not preserve traditional, feudal, and mercantilist practices so much as codify, reinscribe, and integrate them within a sociopolitical order that was based on modern techniques of governance and the economic integration of Bengal into global capitalism. Under such conditions, traditional forms of arbitrary power were radically transformed and extended. “The exactions are become general and stated, the oppression continual and absolute,” Raynal contended; “the destructive art of monopolies is carried to perfection, and new ones have been invented . . . [the Company] have altered and tainted the public sources of confidence and happiness.”19 While the EIC’s dominion had all the tools of a modernizing statecraft at its disposal, it had none of the checks and critical oversight provided by a modernizing civil society. Although the Company’s

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state politically mediated the integration of Bengal into the world market and the global division of labor, it did little to expand the province’s commercial and industrial capacities. Over the course of the nineteenth century, the British Raj used the techniques and instruments of a modernizing industrial society in Britain to reinforce and maintain the privileges and hierarchies of agrarian civilization in India. “Who would ever have imagined that this same company, by an immediate alteration of conduct, and change of system should soon make the people of Bengal regret the despotism of their ancient masters,” queried the Philosophical History. “That fatal revolution has been too sudden and too real,” Raynal averred; a “settled tyranny has taken the place of arbitrary authority.”20 The potential of Bengal’s commercial society was not realized, and entirely new and powerful obstacles to its future realization were created. These obstacles could not be attributed to the Mughals, the nawabi regime, or previous agrarian empires. Given these developments, how stood the project of a cosmopolitan civil society based on “universal commerce”? If the political and intellectual agenda of Raynal and his fellow philosophes was to be successful, it would have to grapple with the problem of the Company Raj. The rise and consolidation of Britain’s Indian empire posed difficult and fundamental questions for the radical Enlightenment. Raynal hoped that, despite the ongoing catastrophe of British imperialism in India, the era might yet come when “the English respecting the rights of humanity . . . rid these countries of the oppression under which they have continued to groan for so many ages.” He believed that the British territorial empire in Bengal was capable of transforming into a political order that established the rule of law, that protected and expanded the rights of private property, and that generalized free labor and exchange. “Then Calcutta, far from being an object of terror to the Indians, would be rendered a tribunal always open to the complaints of those unhappy sufferers whom tyranny should dare to molest,” the Philosophical History argued, and “property would grow into respect, so that the treasure which has been buried so long would be drawn out of the bowels of the earth, and fulfill its destined purpose.” Raynal wanted not only to restore the Bengali commercial and manufacturing capacities ruined by the Company’s state but also to awaken the potentialities that “slumbered in the lap of social labor” in India: “Agriculture and manufactures be encouraged to such a degree, that the objects of export would become from day to day more considerable, and the company by following maxims such as these, instead of being

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driven to the necessity of lessening the tributes which they found established, might possibly find means to bring about an augmentation consistent with the general satisfaction of the natives.” The expansion of Britain’s “empire of liberty” to northeastern India, and its fusion with the trading world of Asia, would unlock the infinite wealth-creating potential of human labor. The transformation of political-economic relations within Bengal, and between Bengal and the British Empire, would lay the basis for a Eurasian civil society that might serve as the midwife to a genuinely cosmopolitan civil society. If the EIC’s imperialism was to serve such a purpose, the Philosophical History informed Britain’s reading public, “then shall the friends of humanity applaud your success . . . they will pardon in you those usurpations, which have been only for the despoiling of tyrants, and they will invite you to new conquests, when they see the influence of your sublime constitution of government extending itself even to the very extremities of Asia, to give birth to liberty, property and happiness.”21 By the early 1770s, Raynal and his collaborators were well aware that Asian liberty, property, and happiness were not being pursued in the Company’s London headquarters or in its Calcutta settlement. The EIC was successful in consolidating an extractive despotism and, thus, in stabilizing its existing monopoly structure and its financial relationship with Britain’s oligarchic order. The corporation’s emerging territorial empire faced less and less opposition on the ground in Bengal and in the boardrooms of East India House as merchants, stockholders, employees, and private traders adjusted to the new reality. For matters to take a different course, forces beyond the Company and its Bengal fiefdom would have to intervene. Who or what had the political power capable of transforming the EIC’s imperial state into the public infrastructure necessary for extending Britain’s civil society into Bengal and for creating a new Eurasian civil society? What institution could carry out this revolutionary transformation of British imperialism in northeastern India? Raynal and his fellow philosophes looked to the institution that most clearly embodied Britain’s historical struggles against arbitrary power—the institution that ensured that the British monarchy and its government ruled through civil society instead of above it: Parliament. “Happy for this portion of our fellow-creatures [in Bengal], a revolution of a peaceable nature is at hand,” Raynal enthused; “the nation has been struck with such enormous excesses . . . [and] heard the groans of such a number of victims sacrificed to the avarice and passions of some individuals.” News of the Company’s “excesses” had reached the British public sphere, turning Parliament’s attention toward the emerging Indian empire:

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The parliament is already employed on this great object. Every detail of that administration is under their inspection, every fact will be cleared up, every abuse unveiled, the reasons of them inquired into and removed. What a sight to be presented to Europe! What an example to be left to posterity! The hand of liberty is going to weigh the destiny of a whole people in the scale of justice. Yes, august legislators, ye will make good our expectations! Ye will restore humanity to her rights, ye will put a curb on avarice, and break the yoke of tyranny. The authority of law, which is not to be shaken, will every where take place of an administration purely arbitrary. At sight of that authority, the monopolist, that tyrant over industry, will for ever disappear. The fetters which private interest has riveted on commerce ye will make to give way to general advantage.22 Raynal and his collaborators were of course not calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the EIC’s affairs but rather registering the fact that one was fully underway in 1772. It was the hope of Enlightenment radicals across the Atlantic world that the British House of Commons, the institutional heir to the seventeenth-century revolutionary struggles against royal absolutism, would curb the corporation’s despotism, transform the political economy of British imperialism in Asia, and unlock the potential of commercial society and social labor in India. The legislature that had conquered Stuart despotism would break the Company’s chains on Bengal and unleash the forces of civil society in the Indian empire. In an important sense, Parliament remained the last best hope for the project of “universal commerce” and cosmopolitan civil society. This hope was ultimately dashed with the conclusion of the parliamentary inquiry into the EIC’s affairs in 1773. When the House of Commons passed the proposals of Lord North’s ministry into law, it was clear to all observers that the fundamental political-economic structures of the EIC’s autocratic empire would remain in place. Over the next decades, the Company’s state developed into a vast tax-collecting, territory-conquering leviathan that fostered a society of landlords, peasants, bureaucrats, and soldiers in South Asia. During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic era, the Raj came into its own as a global bulwark of counter-revolution. Over the course of the nineteenth century, British India—more than any other European colony or imperial outpost—came to embody the West’s subjugation of “the rest,” the development of an inequitable world economy with an industrialized core and underdeveloped peripheries, and the defeat and failure of the radical Enlightenment’s aspirations for a cosmopolitan civil society.

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In retrospect, it can be said that the outcome of the 1772–1773 parliamentary inquiry was of world-historical significance. The dynamic civil society of Britain and its “empire of liberty”—the greatest achievement of the midseventeenth-century civil wars and Interregnum and of the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689—did not come to Asia. The global expansion of the English Revolution was thwarted. The radical Enlightenment’s aspirations for a cosmopolitan civil society were not fulfilled. The specter of those failed aspirations continues to haunt the present.

Notes

A B B R E V I AT I O N S

BL FWIHC IOL IOR NLW OIOC WLCL

British Library Fort William–India House Correspondence and Other Contemporary Papers Relating Thereto (Public Series) India Office Library, Oriental and India Office Collections, British Library India Office Records, Oriental and India Office Collections, British Library National Library of Wales Oriental and India Office Collections, British Library William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan INTRODUCTION

1. Quoted in Mark Bence-Jones, Clive of India (London, 1974), 216. 2. Quoted in H. V. Bowen, Revenue and Reform: The Indian Problem in British Politics, 1757–1773 (Cambridge, 1991), 15. 3. Clive’s successful performance in British military campaigns against French and native forces on the Indian subcontinent during the later 1740s and early 1750s, in particular his leadership of the expedition that seized Arcot, won him widespread fame at home and abroad. As a result, his return to Britain in 1753 was an occasion of popular celebration. William Pitt the Elder famously praised him as the “heaven-born general.” 4. C. A. Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World, 1780–1830 (New York, 1989), 8–9. 5. For classic liberal interpretations of the Second British Empire as a form of industrialization-driven overseas expansion, see Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of

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6. 7.

8.

9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16.

notes to pages 4–6 the Second British Empire, 2 vols. (London, 1952 and 1964); John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, “The Imperialism of Free Trade,” Economic History Review, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1953): 7–14. For world-systems analysis and its attempt to account for the transformation of European imperialism in the eighteenth century, see Andre Gunder Frank, World Accumulation, 1492–1789 (New York, 1978); Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System, vol. 2: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World Economy, 1600–1750 (New York, 1980). Rudrangshu Mukherjee, “Trade and Empire in Awadh, 1765–1804,” Past and Present, no. 94 (1982): 85–102; Rudrangshu Mukherjee, “Early British Imperialism in India: A Rejoinder,” Past and Present, no. 106 (1985): 169–173. Such interpretations fail to explain why a costly coercive apparatus—in this case, the British Indian empire—was necessary to capture markets for the sale of industrial goods and the purchase of raw materials. For refutations of the industrializationdriven imperialism thesis as it has been applied to the British conquest of India, see P. J. Marshall, “Early British Imperialism in India,” Past and Present, no. 106 (1985): 164–169; P. J. Marshall, The New Cambridge History of India, vol. 2, 2: Bengal: The British Bridgehead: Eastern India, 1740–1828 (Cambridge, 1987), 104–115. The EIC occasionally played a direct role in Bengali textile manufacturing, especially when it managed to assert control over weavers. However, rather than fostering capitalist production, it usually fixed wages, coerced weavers, and monopolized market access. As Marshall asserts, “in its methods of doing business in Bengal the Company can hardly be regarded as the sharp competitive edge of a new industrial society. It relied on well-tried practices from the past, reinforced by the use of new political powers. It preferred to control labour, fix prices and establish monopolies, rather than trust to its superior efficiency.” Marshall, Bengal: The British Bridgehead, 115. Marshall, 113–115. Marshall, 112. P. J. Marshall, “The British in Asia: Trade to Dominion, 1700–1765,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 2: The Eighteenth Century, ed. P. J. Marshall (Oxford, 1998), 498–499. For the most detailed examination of these sub-imperialist activities during the 1740s and 1750s, see J. D. Nichol, “The British in India, 1740–63: A Study of Imperial Expansion into Bengal” (PhD diss., University of Cambridge, 1976). See also Sushil Chaudhury, The Prelude to Empire: Plassey Revolution of 1757 (New Delhi, 2000). Marshall, “The British in Asia,” 498–499. C. A. Bayly, The New Cambridge History of India, vol. 2, 1: Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire (Cambridge, 1988), 2–3. J. R. Seeley, The Expansion of England (Chicago, 1971), 143 and 165; The Cambridge History of India, vol. 5: British India, 1497–1858, ed. H. H. Dodwell (Cambridge, 1929), 106–108. For overviews of this literature, see Bayly, Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire, 7–78; D. A. Washbrook, “Progress and Problems: South Asian Economic and Social History, c. 1720–1860,” Modern Asian Studies 22, no. 1 (1988): 57–96.

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17. Muzaffar Alam, The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India: Awadh & the Punjab, 1707–1748 (Oxford, 1986). 18. Burton Stein, “State Formation and Economy Reconsidered, Part One,” Modern Asian Studies 19, no. 3 (1985): 387–413. 19. C. A. Bayly, “The British Military-Fiscal State and Indigenous Resistance: India 1750–1820,” in An Imperial State at War: Britain from 1689 to 1815, ed. Lawrence Stone (London, 1994), 322. 20. Robert Travers, “The Eighteenth Century in Indian History,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 40, no. 3 (2007): 492–508. 21. The phrase is used by Bayly in his analysis of such approaches. Bayly, “The British Fiscal-Military State and Indigenous Resistance,” 324. 22. Peter Marshall, “British Expansion in India in the Eighteenth Century: A Historical Revision,” in The East India Company: 1600–1858, vol. 5: Warfare, Expansion and Resistance, ed. Patrick Tuck (London, 1998), 17. 23. “Although the Company’s servants may not have devised systematic schemes for using their military ascendancy to establish a territorial empire,” Marshall observes, “they were willing to use it to extract concessions from Indian rulers whose cumulative effect was to weaken and eventually to destroy those states that came within the British orbit.” Marshall, “British Expansion in India,” 18. 24. Maya Jasanoff, Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750–1850 (New York, 2005), 23–31. Although Jasanoff recognizes that “it was not until 1765 that Clive would consolidate his victory in Bengal by gaining the diwani from the emperor,” she nevertheless contends “it was at the battle of Plassey that the East India Company irrevocably and victoriously asserted itself as a military and ruling power in the Mughal domains” (30). The problem with such an analysis is that it assumes that the post-diwani imperial state was the inevitable outcome of Plassey and, as a consequence, fails to interrogate how, by whom, and why that imperial state was consolidated. 25. Lucy Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics (Oxford, 1952). 26. Bowen, Revenue and Reform; Bruce Lenman and Philip Lawson, “Robert Clive, the ‘Black Jagir,’ and British Politics,” Historical Journal 26, no. 4 (1983): 801–829. 27. In praise of Lucy Sutherland’s work, Lewis Namier contends that “Indian affairs impinge all along on British domestic history during the first twenty-five years of the reign of George III” and that “it was high time that they were elucidated and worked into the pattern of which they are an essential part.” Lewis Namier, “The East India Company,” in Namier, Crossroads of Power: Essays on Eighteenth-Century England (London, 1962), 162–163. Sutherland’s framework for analyzing British politics in the second half of the eighteenth century is heavily based on Namier’s approach to the subject. 28. The locus classicus of this view is contained in Lewis Namier, The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (London, 1957). It should be noted that Namier wrote this book, which offers a major historical revision of mid-eighteenth-century British politics, largely as a preface to his work on the crisis of the British Empire during the

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29. 30.

31. 32.

33. 34. 35.

36. 37.

notes to pages 9–19 1760s and 1770s. His primary concern was not the structure of politics itself but the way in which the imperial crisis developed within the confines of this structure. See Namier, The Structure of Politics, ix-xi. Namier, The Structure of Politics, 2. Although J. H. Plumb was critical of Namierite historiography in many respects, he came to similar conclusions with regard to the character of metropolitan politics after the 1720s. See J. H. Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in England, 1675–1725 (London, 1979). P. J. Marshall, “Empire and Authority in the Later Eighteenth Century,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 15, no. 2 (1987): 105. Bowen, Revenue and Reform; John Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 1766–1768 (London, 1956); John Brooke and Lewis Namier, Charles Townshend (London, 1964); Philip Lawson, George Grenville, A Political Life (Oxford, 1984); Philip Lawson, The Imperial Challenge: Quebec and Britain in the Age of the American Revolution (Montreal, 1989); Lenman and Lawson, “Robert Clive, the ‘Black Jagir,’ and British Politics”; Martyn J. Powell, Britain and Ireland in the Eighteenth-Century Crisis of Empire (New York, 2003); Peter D. G. Thomas, British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis: The First Phase of the American Revolution (Oxford, 1975); Peter D. G. Thomas, The Townshend Duties Crisis: The Second Phase of the American Revolution, 1767–1773 (Oxford, 1987); Peter D. G. Thomas, Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution, 1773–1776 (Oxford, 1991). Lewis Namier, England in the Age of the American Revolution (London, 1963), 40–41. Bowen, Revenue and Reform, 5. Bowen, 11–12. See also H. V. Bowen, “British India, 1765–1813: The Metropolitan Context,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, 2:530–551, where it is claimed that British politicians and opinion-makers gave “an almost unanimous ex post facto seal of approval” to “the dramatic transformation of the East India Company from trader to sovereign” (530). Seeley, The Expansion of England, 143. Robert Travers contends that “histories of British India have sometimes sought to downplay the ideological motivations of empire, emphasizing the unplanned or ad hoc characteristics of expansion.” He successfully demonstrates that there were significant ideological debates and discussions regarding the EIC’s conquest of Bengal in both northeastern India and Britain. Travers, Ideology and Empire in Eighteenth-Century India: The British in Bengal (Cambridge, 2007), 14. See also Robert Travers, “Ideology and British Expansion in Bengal, 1757–72,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 33, no. 1 (2005): 7–27. CHAPTER 1. THE FIRST BRITISH EMPIRE, THE WHIG S U P R E M A C Y, A N D T H E E A S T I N D I A C O M PA N Y

1. Robert Brenner, “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in PreIndustrial Europe,” and “The Agrarian Roots of European Capitalism,” in The Brenner

notes to pages 19–22

2.

3. 4. 5.

6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18.

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Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, ed. T. H. Aston and C. H. E. Philpin (Cambridge, 1987), 10–63 and 213–327. C. G. A. Clay, Economic Expansion and Social Change: England, 1500–1700, vol. 1: People, Lands and Towns (Cambridge, 1984), 67–141; D. C. Coleman, The Economy of England, 1450–1750 (Oxford, 1977), 111–130; Joan Thirsk, Economic Policy and Projects: The Development of a Consumer Society in England (Oxford, 1978); Charles Wilson, England’s Apprenticeship, 1603–1763, 2nd ed. (London, 1984), 20–35. Robert Brenner, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550–1653 (London, 2003), 577–632. John C. Appleby, “War, Politics, and Colonization, 1558–1625,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 1: The Origins of Empire: British Overseas Enterprise to the Close of the Seventeenth Century, ed. Nicholas Canny (Oxford, 1998), 55–78. Conrad Russell, “Parliament and the King’s Finances,” in The Origins of the English Civil War, ed. Conrad Russell (London, 1973), 91–116. For the relationship of these Stuart administrative and fiscal developments to previous Elizabethan governance, see Frederick C. Dietz, English Public Finance, 1558–1641 (New York, 1932). David Thomas, “Financial and Administrative Developments,” in Before the English Civil War, ed. Howard Tomlinson (London, 1984), 103–122. Ronald G. Asch, “The Revival of Monopolies: Court and Patronage during the Personal Rule of Charles I, 1629–1640,” in Princes, Patronage and the Nobility: The Court at the Beginning of the Modern Age, 1450–1650, ed. Ronald G. Asch and Adolf M. Birke (Oxford, 1991), 357–392. Daniel A. Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy, 1689–1815,” International History Review 10, no. 1 (1988): 37–39. J. P. Sommerville, Royalists and Patriots: Politics and Ideology in England, 1603–1640 (London, 1999). Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, 316–374 and 393–459. Michael J. Braddick, “The English Government, War, Trade, and Settlement, 1625– 1688,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, 1:286–308. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, 541–557. Brenner, 707–709. “Although the Civil Wars weakened the English Empire, they resulted, in England, in a more assertive, republican, government that was in a position to mobilize and assert power,” Jeremy Black observes; “indeed, by 1650, the English navy had become the largest in the world, a development that was to be continued by the subsequent Cromwellian regime.” Jeremy Black, Crisis of Empire: Britain and America in the Eighteenth Century (London, 2008), 7. Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy,” 37. J. E. Farnell, “The Navigation Act of 1651, the First Dutch War, and the London Merchant Community,” Economic History Review, n.s., 16, no. 3 (1964): 439–454. Charles M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, vol. 4: England’s Commercial and Colonial Policy (New Haven, CT, 1938), 1–49. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, 607.

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19. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, 602–608 (quotation, 603). See also Charles M. Andrews, British Committees, Commissions, and Councils of Trade and Plantations, 1622–1675 (Baltimore, 1908). 20. Christopher Hill, From Reformation to Industrial Revolution (New York, 1967), 157. 21. Perry Anderson, “Origins of the Present Crisis,” New Left Review 1, no. 23 (1964): 29. 22. While I agree with Steve Pincus’s assertions that “before the outbreak of the Civil War, English monarchs had precious few infrastructural resources” and imperial “expansion was the work of private or semiprivate actors,” I disagree with his central claim that “there was no imperial state structure prior to Oliver Cromwell’s Western Design of 1655.” Cromwell’s government consolidated and extended the imperial state forged by the Commonwealth regime. Steve Pincus, “Rethinking Mercantilism: Political Economy, the British Empire, and the Atlantic World in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” William and Mary Quarterly 69, no. 1 (2012): 16–17. 23. Charles P. Korr, Cromwell and the New Model Foreign Policy: England’s Policy toward France, 1649–1658 (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1975), 138–147. 24. Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy,” 38–39. 25. It should be emphasized that Charles II and James II sought to rule without dependence on Parliament and not without Parliament altogether. While their father Charles I aimed to more or less eliminate Parliament’s role in the state, both Charles II and James II at various points in their reigns sought either to free themselves from financial dependence on Parliament or to rule with a pliant Parliament that offered little to no opposition to their policies. 26. Philip Lawson, The East India Company: A History (Harlow, Essex, UK, 1993), 49–50. 27. James M. Vaughn, “The Politics of Empire: Metropolitan Socio-Political Development and the Imperial Transformation of the British East India Company, 1675–1775” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2009), chapter 2. 28. Lawson, The East India Company, 45–46. 29. Stephen Saunders Webb, The Governors-General: The English Army and the Definition of the Empire, 1569–1681 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1979), 447–459. 30. Richard S. Dunn, “The Glorious Revolution and America,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, 1:448–454. 31. Stephen Saunders Webb, 1676: The End of American Independence (Syracuse, NY, 1984), 340–354; Stephen Saunders Webb, “The Strange Career of Francis Nicholson,” William and Mary Quarterly 23, no. 4 (1966): 513–548. 32. J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1981), 269. 33. Vaughn, “The Politics of Empire,” chapter 2. 34. Dunn, “The Glorious Revolution and America”; Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, CT, 2009), 386–388; Vaughn, “The Politics of Empire,” chapter 3. 35. For England, see John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783 (Cambridge, MA, 1990), 143–154. For the North American colonies, see David S. Lovejoy, The Glorious Revolution and America (Hanover, NH, 1972), 334–374.

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36. Brewer, The Sinews of Power, 88–134. 37. John Shy, “The American Colonies in War and Revolution, 1748–1783,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 2: The Eighteenth Century, ed. P. J. Marshall (Oxford, 1998), 301. 38. Brewer, The Sinews of Power, 27–87. 39. William Thomas Morgan, “An Eighteenth-Century Election in England,” Political Science Quarterly 37, no. 4 (1922): 585–604; William Thomas Morgan, “The Ministerial Revolution of 1710 in England,” Political Science Quarterly 36, no. 2 (1921): 184–210; William Thomas Morgan, “The South Sea Company and the Canadian Expedition in the Reign of Queen Anne,” Hispanic American Historical Review 8, no. 2 (1928): 143–166; Stephen Saunders Webb, Marlborough’s America (New Haven, CT, 2013), 212–253. 40. Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989), 19–22. 41. Patrick K. O’Brien, “Inseparable Connections: Trade, Economy, Fiscal State, and the Expansion of Empire,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, 2:53–76. 42. Lucy Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics (Oxford, 1952), 14–48. 43. Sutherland, 15. 44. The increasing ideological unity of Tory and Whig elites in London and in the country at large was in part made possible by the underlying sociopolitical assumptions they shared. “The Whig and Tory parties shared certain social assumptions and political aims which caused them to moderate their ideology after the Glorious Revolution,” H. T. Dickinson remarks; “in the decades after 1688 the Whigs became less radical and the Tories gradually abandoned their loyalty to direct divine ordination and indefeasible hereditary succession. Increasingly, both parties put their trust in the ancient constitution, recognized the legislative sovereignty of Crown, Lords and Commons, and urged subjects to submit to the post-Revolution establishment in which political power was still confined to the property-owning élite.” H. T. Dickinson, Liberty and Property: Political Ideology in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London, 1977), 123–124. 45. J. H. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of the Development of English Society (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK, 1950), 14. 46. Lawson, The East India Company, 66–71. 47. Lawson, 73. 48. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, 4:1–49; Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy,” 37–39; Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, 577–632; Hill, From Reformation to Industrial Revolution, 157; Pincus, “Rethinking Mercantilism,” 16–17. 49. Nuala Zahedieh, The Capital and the Colonies: London and the Atlantic Economy, 1660–1700 (Cambridge, 2010), 44–45. 50. Dunn, “The Glorious Revolution and America”; Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance, 269; Pincus, 1688, 386–388; Webb, The Governors-General, 447–459; Webb, 1676, 340–354; Webb, “The Strange Career of Francis Nicholson.” 51. For the Whig-led “revolution in political economy,” see Pincus, 1688, 366–399.

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52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64.

65.

66.

notes to pages 30–34 For a detailed account, see Vaughn, “The Politics of Empire,” chapters 2 and 3. Lawson, The East India Company, 73–79. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 28–29. Anon., A Collection of Papers Relating to the East India Trade, etc. (London, 1730), vi. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 30. Sutherland, 25. George Rudé, Hanoverian London, 1714–1808 (Gloucestershire, UK, 2003), 146. Quoted in Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 21. The Craftsman, 7 September 1728, no. 114. Vaughn, “The Politics of Empire,” chapters 2 and 3. For the origins and evolution of the concept of the First British Empire, see P. J. Marshall, “The First British Empire,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 5: Historiography, ed. Robin W. Winks (Oxford, 1999), 43–53. P. J. Marshall, “Britain and the World in the Eighteenth Century: I, Reshaping the Empire,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th Series, no. 8 (1998): 5. This ideological characterization of the British Empire as essentially non-coercive should not be viewed as hypocritical or false despite the fact that the exploitation of African slave labor and the expropriation of territory from the indigenous peoples of the New World were key features of British imperial expansion. While West Africans were coercively transported across the Atlantic and New World indigenous peoples were often forcefully displaced from their lands, African and Native American polities were not militarily conquered and subjected to direct imperial rule. Since Britain did not formally rule African and Native American populations and territories, it was possible for eighteenth-century Britons to assert that their empire—especially in comparison to ancient, medieval, and other early modern empires—was one of liberty rather than conquest. It should be noted that early modern Europeans understood their relations with the populations of Africa and the Americas to be of a fundamentally different character from their relations with the populations of Asia, particularly those of China and India. On this point, see Dorinda Outram, The Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1995), 66–67 and 72–79. Rather than simply pointing to brutal forms of coercion such as slavery and territorial expropriation in order to dismiss early modern understandings of the First British Empire as an “empire of liberty,” we must attempt to grasp how such understandings arose in the first place. For instance, Britain’s East India trade exported large amounts of New World silver and gold acquired in Amsterdam, Cadiz, and other cities. In addition to the economic links between English imperial endeavor in the Atlantic and Asian maritime worlds, Philip Stern draws attention to important political, ideological, and social connections. Philip J. Stern, “British Asia and British Atlantic: Comparisons and Contrasts,” William and Mary Quarterly 63, no. 4 (2006): 693–712. The classic account of the Company’s pre-imperial (or commercial) phase is provided in K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company, 1660–1760 (Cambridge, 1978). For an important contrasting interpretation, see Philip J. Stern, The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundation of the British Empire in India (New York, 2011).

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67. David Washbrook, “India, 1818–1860: The Two Faces of Colonialism,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Andrew Porter (Oxford, 1999), 401–404. 68. For a contrasting interpretation of the fundamental distinctions between the First and Second British Empire, see Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire, 2 vols. (London, 1952 and 1964). Harlow argues that the focus of British imperial expansion shifted from territory and dominion to markets and industry in the later eighteenth century. The problem with such an interpretation is that it cannot adequately account for the rise and development of Britain’s empire in India, which was among the most important aspects of the kingdom’s overseas expansion following 1763. 69. C. A. Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World, 1780–1830 (New York, 1989), 8–9. 70. P. J. Marshall, “ ‘A Free though Conquering People’: Britain and Asia in the Eighteenth Century,” in P. J. Marshall, ‘A Free though Conquering People’: Eighteenth-Century Britain and Its Empire (Aldershot, UK, 2003), 1–19. 71. P. J. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750–1783 (Oxford, 2005), 4–5. Marshall, who persuasively argues that the loss of the thirteen North American colonies and the acquisition of a territorial empire in India should be viewed as simultaneous and interrelated processes, criticizes historical interpretations that make a firm distinction between a first British empire centered on the Atlantic and a second based in Asia. However, such a distinction, properly modified, remains useful for grasping the differences between British imperialism before 1750 and following 1780. 72. T. H. Breen contends that this was a central and widely understood aim of British imperial expansion long before the American Revolution. The “innovative element in the eighteenth-century discourse [of empire] was not long-distance trade but rather a commerce organized around an expanding market for British manufactured goods.” T. H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (Oxford, 2004), 72. 73. O’Brien, “Inseparable Connections,” 53–54. 74. Zahedieh, The Capital and the Colonies, 17–54. 75. In this paragraph and the next, I draw heavily from: Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘BlueWater’ Policy, 1689–1815,” 33–58; Daniel A. Baugh, “Maritime Strength and Atlantic Commerce: The Uses of ‘A Grand Marine Empire,’ ” in An Imperial State at War: Britain from 1689 to 1815, ed. Lawrence Stone (London, 1994), 185–223; Jeremy Black, A System of Ambition?: British Foreign Policy, 1660–1793 (London, 1991), 85–86 and 110–115. 76. John Brewer, The Sinews of Power, 168. 77. Voltaire, “Letters concerning the English Nation,” in Margaret C. Jacob, The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents (Boston, 2001), 123. 78. The Monthly Review; Or, Literary Journal, February 1764. 79. Marie Peters, “The Myth of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Great Imperialist, Part I: Pitt and Imperial Expansion, 1738–1763,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 21, no. 1 (1993): 55.

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notes to pages 38–40

80. Peters’s essays on Pitt and eighteenth-century imperialism provide a corrective to the emphasis on commercial and colonial expansion in the historiography on midHanoverian British foreign policy. See also Marie Peters, “The Myth of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, Great Imperialist, Part II: Chatham and Imperial Reorganization, 1763–78,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 22, no. 3 (1994): 393–431. Peters criticizes the “mercantilist interpretation” developed by Baugh because it underestimates the role of Europe in British strategic thinking and overvalues the importance of Atlantic trade, settlement, and warfare. Peters, “Myth of William Pitt, Great Imperialist, Part I,” 55–56 and 57, n. 4. While Peters is right to emphasize the geopolitical repercussions of anti-Bourbon ideology in Britain, as well as the imperatives of realpolitik imposed by the European multistate system, she tends toward a distinction without a difference. Baugh’s work does indeed emphasize the maritime and commercial character of British foreign policy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but he views the “maritime-imperial system” as an instrument in the country’s efforts to prevent the emergence of a hegemon on the continent. He contends that “the Atlantic empire was a ‘back-yard’ in which sinews of war were generated for use in the ‘front-yard,’ that is to say, in Europe and European seas.” Baugh, “Maritime Strength and Atlantic Commerce,” 203. Peters demonstrates that British statesmen viewed commercial expansion as an “intrinsic part” of European conflict, while Baugh’s work suggests that European conflict was seen as an intrinsic part of a global struggle for commerce and colonies. The containment and defeat of France required enormous fiscal and military resources; resources that were generated by a maritime empire that opened markets while avoiding the burdens of territorial conquest and imperial administration. Since France was Britain’s leading commercial and colonial rival, its defeat promised to make the world safe for British merchants and manufacturers. The antipathy toward Bourbon France in Britain’s Whig political culture was both political and economic in character. The Bourbon monarchy was viewed as a despotism opposed to British liberties; such liberties were understood to include private property and free exchange. 81. Barbara Arneil, “Trade, Plantations, and Property: John Locke and the Economic Defense of Colonialism,” Journal of the History of Ideas 55, no. 4 (1994): 591–609. 82. Baugh, “Maritime Strength and Atlantic Commerce,” 186. 83. The Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1737. 84. Voltaire, “Letters concerning the English Nation,” 122. 85. The Spectator, 19 May 1711, no. 69. 86. George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, A Rough Draught of a New Model at Sea (London, 1694), 4–5. 87. George Savile, Marquis of Halifax, 4–5. For the origins and evolution of this “new political creed, which saw the sea as the true British Empire,” see Richard Koebner, Empire (Cambridge, 1966), 77–85 (quotation, 82). 88. Quoted in Arneil, “Trade, Plantations, and Property,” 606. 89. Quoted in Bob Harris, “ ‘American Idols’: Empire, War and the Middling Ranks in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain,” Past and Present, no. 150 (1996): 127. 90. The Monthly Review; Or, Literary Journal, February 1764.

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91. The Abbé Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies, vol. 5, trans. J. Justamond (London, 1776), 461–462. 92. David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge, 2000), 173. 93. Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT, 1992), 55–101. 94. For the key factors that led to the emergence of the Whig oligarchy, see J. H. Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in England, 1675–1725 (London, 1979). 95. For the very real threat of civil war and sociopolitical breakdown as late as the early 1720s, prevented in the short term by Walpole’s emergency authoritarian measures and in the long term by the successful consolidation of Whig oligarchic rule, see Eveline Cruickshanks and Howard Erksine, The Atterbury Plot (Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK, 2004), 56–170. 96. W. A. Speck, Stability and Strife: England, 1714–1760 (Cambridge, MA, 1977), 143–166. 97. Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Boston, 1967), 22–29. 98. For a detailed exploration of the capitalist character of Britain’s landed elite, and of the implications of that character for domestic sociopolitical development, see Perry Anderson, English Questions (London, 1992), 130–136. 99. Eric Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire: From 1750 to the Present Day (New York, 1999), 59. See also Roy Porter, English Society in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1991), 57–58. 100. P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism, 1688–2000 (London, 2002), 62–103. 101. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, 709–716. 102. Harold Perkin, The Origins of Modern English Society, 1780–1880 (London, 1971), 67. 103. Benno Teschke, The Myth of 1648: Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations (London, 2003), 249–262. 104. Colley, Britons, 62–64. 105. Porter, English Society in the Eighteenth Century, 49–50. 106. John Rule, The Vital Century: England’s Developing Economy, 1714–1815 (London, 1992), 93. 107. Frank O’ Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History, 1688–1832 (London, 2007), 109. 108. Daniel Defoe, A Plan of the English Commerce. Being A Compleat Prospect of the Trade of this Nation, as well the Home Trade as the Foreign (London, 1728), 74–75. 109. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 109. 110. For excellent surveys of this culture, see Peter Clark, British Clubs and Societies, 1580– 1800: The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford, 2000); Brian Cowan, The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse (New Haven, CT, 2005). 111. Roy Porter, Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (London, 2001), 30–47. 112. Geoffrey Holmes, British Politics in the Age of Anne (London, 1987). 113. Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in England.

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notes to pages 44–48

114. Reed Browning, Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (Baton Rouge, LA, 1982). 115. The Annual Register, or a View of History, Politicks, and Literature, for the Year 1758 (London, 1759), 11. 116. Colley, Britons, 56–71. 117. J. V. Beckett and Michael Turner, “Taxation and Economic Growth in EighteenthCentury England,” Economic History Review, n.s., 43, no. 3 (1990): 377–403; O’Brien, “Inseparable Connections,” 53–77. 118. Brewer, The Sinews of Power; P. G. M. Dickson, The Financial Revolution in England: A Study of the Development of Public Credit, 1688–1756 (New York, 1967). 119. Rudé, Hanoverian London, 52–56. 120. Dickson, The Financial Revolution in England, 295; Henry Roseveare, The Financial Revolution, 1660–1760 (New York, 1991), 68–69. 121. Roseveare, The Financial Revolution, 64–65. 122. John Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” in Three British Revolutions: 1641, 1688, 1776, ed. J. G. A. Pocock (Princeton, NJ, 1980), 337–338. 123. Annual Register . . . for the Year 1758, 10. 124. Thomas C. Barrow, “Archibald Cummings’ Plan for a Colonial Revenue, 1722,” New England Quarterly 36, no. 3 (1963): 383–393. 125. Quoted in Thomas Campbell, The Annals of Great Britain, from the Ascension of George III, to the Peace of Amiens, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1807), 121. 126. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 82–83. 127. While many scholars of eighteenth-century Britain view the anti-oligarchic program of the Hanoverian Tory Party as, in the words of Roy Porter, a “pilfering of liberal clothes” by conservatives who were in no way “Enlightenment men,” others see the Tories’ positions as forward-looking and sincere commitments. Porter, Enlightenment, 33. For the contrasting interpretation, see Linda Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party, 1714–1760 (Cambridge, 1982). 128. Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman (Cambridge, MA, 1959); J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, NJ, 1975). 129. Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” 329. 130. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 79–83. 131. Langford, A Polite and Commercial People, 25–27. 132. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 82–84. 133. Gerald Jordan and Nicholas Rogers, “Admirals as Heroes: Patriotism and Liberty in Hanoverian England,” Journal of British Studies 28, no. 3 (1989): 201–224; Kathleen Wilson, “Empire, Trade and Popular Politics in Mid-Hanoverian Britain: The Case of Admiral Vernon,” Past and Present, no. 121 (1988): 74–109. 134. Langford, A Polite and Commercial People, 49–53. 135. For the relationship between Britain’s popular political culture and commercial imperialism during the 1730s and throughout the eighteenth century, see Kathleen Wilson, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture, and Imperialism in England, 1715– 1785 (Cambridge, 1995).

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136. Quoted in Langford, A Polite and Commercial People, 51. 137. Langford, 53–57; O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 82–83. 138. Nicholas Rogers, Whigs and Cities: Popular Politics in the Age of Walpole and Pitt (Oxford, 1989), 13–129. 139. Langford, A Polite and Commercial People, 194–197; O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 87–89. 140. Bob Harris, Politics and the Nation: Britain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 2002). 141. Colley, Britons, 87–92. 142. Quoted in Black, Crisis of Empire, 59. CHAPTER 2. BOURGEOIS RADICALISM AND THE “EMPIRE OF LIBERTY” IN THE AGE OF PITT

1. Lewis Namier, England in the Age of the American Revolution (London, 1963), 40–41. 2. See the excellent discussion of ideology formation—in the context of the Holocaust and modern anti-Semitism—contained in Moishe Postone, “The Holocaust and the Trajectory of the Twentieth Century,” in Catastrophe and Meaning: The Holocaust and the Twentieth Century, ed. Moishe Postone and Eric Santner (Chicago, 2003), 81–116. 3. Sir George Lyttelton to William Lyttelton, 4 December 1759, in Memoirs and Correspondence of George, Lord Lyttelton, from 1734 to 1773, ed. Robert Phillimore (London, 1845), 619–620. 4. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, vol. 15: 1753–1765 (London, 1813), 948. 5. Sir Andrew Mitchell to William Pitt, 15 January 1760, in Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, vol. 2, ed. William Stanhope Taylor and Captain John Henry Pringle (London, 1839), 14–15. 6. Bob Harris, Politics and the Nation: Britain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 2002); Nicholas Rogers, Whigs and Cities: Popular Politics in the Age of Walpole and Pitt (Oxford, 1989). 7. Sir Benjamin Keene to William Pitt, 26 September 1757, in Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, vol. 1, ed. William Stanhope Taylor and Captain John Henry Pringle (London, 1838), 269. 8. The Earl of Holdernesse to Colonel Adlercron, 4 April 1755, British Library [BL], Egerton MS. 3,488, ff. 67v–68r. 9. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 94–104. 10. John Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III (Cambridge, 1976), 96–111. 11. “The resignation or rather deprivation of the popular ministry, only increased their popularity, and the general discontent; the people could not believe that good measures could be pursued when those, in whom alone they confided, were not employed; almost all the corporations of the kingdom presented the deprived ministers with their freedom, and addressed them in the warmest manner, testifying the most entire approbation of their conduct, and the sincerest concern to see them out of

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12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

notes to pages 54–60 employment. This conflict between the old established interest and the torrent of popularity, continued for a long time, and the nation was almost ruined by it.” The Annual Register, or a View of History, Politicks, and Literature, for the Year 1758 (London, 1759), 12. See also Paul Langford, “William Pitt and Public Opinion, 1757,” English Historical Review 88, no. 346 (1973): 54–80. Frank O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century: British Political and Social History, 1688–1832 (London, 2007), 93. E. P. Thompson, Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture (New York, 1993), 28. For a contrasting interpretation of Pitt’s relationship to the extra-parliamentary political arena, see Marie Peters, Pitt and Popularity: The Patriot Minister and London Opinion during the Seven Years War (Oxford, 1980). For examples, see the addresses and speeches in Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 15:947–955. Lord William Wildman Barrington to Sir Andrew Mitchell, 14 January 1760, in Correspondence of William Pitt, 2:14, n. 1. Eliga H. Gould, The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC, 2000), 35–71. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 176–178; Harris, Politics and the Nation, 115–116. Harris, Politics and the Nation, 117. The Annual Register . . . for the Year 1758, 12. For this interpretation and much of what follows in this paragraph and the next, see Isaac Kramnick, Bolingbroke and His Circle: The Politics of Nostalgia in the Age of Walpole (Cambridge, MA, 1968). The Examiner, 2 November 1710, no. 13. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 80. John Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” in Three British Revolutions: 1641, 1688, 1776, ed. J. G. A. Pocock (Princeton, NJ, 1980), 330. Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, CT, 2009), 366–399. Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard, Cato’s Letters; or, Essays, on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and other Important Subjects, vol. 3 (Berwick, UK, 1754), 184. Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” 330–342. Brewer, 337. John Almon, Anecdotes of the Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, etc. (London, 1778), 340. Lord William Wildman Barrington to Sir Andrew Mitchell, 14 January 1760, in Correspondence of William Pitt, 2:14, n. 1. Sir George Lyttelton to William Lyttelton, 4 December 1759, Memoirs and Correspondence of George, Lord Lyttelton, 621–622. Anon., “On the necessity of raising supplies within the year,” and “The same subject continued,” in John Almon, A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters, from the Public Papers, etc., vol. 1 (London, 1767), 5–6.

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33. John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783 (London, 1989), 114. 34. Peters, Profiles in Power, 83–121. 35. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 109–110. 36. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 181. 37. “Pitt’s Speech on the Convention with Spain, 1738,” in The Modern Orator (London, 1847), 5–8. 38. George Rudé, Hanoverian London, 1714–1808 (Gloucestershire, UK, 2003), 163–164. 39. Anon., A Political Analysis of the War: The Principles of the Present Political Parties Examined, etc. (London, 1762), 11. 40. Kate Hotblack, Chatham’s Colonial Policy: A Study in the Fiscal and Economic Implications of the Colonial Policy of the Elder Pitt (Philadelphia, 1980), 11–27. 41. Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT, 1992), 61. 42. Hotblack, Chatham’s Colonial Policy, 17–18; Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 111–112. 43. Quoted in Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 111. 44. Hotblack, 15–16. 45. Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989), 340. 46. The struggle against Bourbon hegemony dominated Whig foreign policy from the Glorious Revolution until the rise of Walpole. 47. Brendan Simms, Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714–1783 (London, 2007), 422–462. 48. William Beckford to William Pitt, 11 September 1758, Correspondence of William Pitt, 1:353. 49. Peter D. G. Thomas, George III: King and Politicians, 1760–1770 (Manchester, UK, 2002), 29. 50. For a retrospective statement of this ideological program, see The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 6 November 1762, no. 381. 51. Beckford on the Address, 1761, BL, Additional MS. 38,334, ff. 29v–30r. 52. Daniel A. Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy, 1689–1815,” International History Review 10, no. 1 (1988): 58. 53. Anon., “Letters on behalf of the Administration, in answer to Anti-Sejanus, etc.,” in John Almon, A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters, from the Public Papers, etc., vol. 2 (London, 1767), 85. 54. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 114–116. 55. J. H. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of the Development of English Society (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK, 1950), 112. 56. Beckford on the Address, 1761, BL, Additional MS. 38,334, ff. 30v–31r. 57. Anon., A Political Analysis of the War, 13. 58. John Almon, Biographical, Literary, and Political Anecdotes, of Several of the Most Eminent Persons of the Present Age, vol. 2 (London, 1797), 85. 59. John Shovlin persuasively argues that “[e]conomic objectives were almost never the sole, and rarely the principal, end of war in Europe before the middle of the eighteenth century.” Shovlin, “War and Peace: Trade, International Competition, and

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63. 64. 65. 66.

67. 68.

69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81.

notes to pages 66–72 Political Economy,” in Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and Its Empire, ed. Philip J. Stern and Carl Wennerlind (Oxford, 2014), 307. The Pittite imperial project of the later 1750s waged economic warfare in an attempt to achieve perpetual peace by making Britain an unrivaled global power and, thus, ending the Anglo-French struggle for supremacy dating back to 1689. Brewer, The Sinews of Power, 124. Horace Walpole, Memoirs of King George II, vol. 3: 1758–1780, ed. John Brooke (New Haven, CT, 1985), 51–52. The opposition of George III and the Earl of Bute to Pitt’s measures stemmed from their deep antipathy toward the radical political notions and aggressive commercial imperialism espoused by the Great Commoner. George III and Bute were among the leaders of a conservative-reactionary political movement that sought to reconcile Tories and conservative Patriots with authoritarian elements in the Whig establishment. O’Gorman, The Long Eighteenth Century, 185. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 27 November 1762, no. 382. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 11 September 1762, no. 373. For an example of this protracted process of ideological radicalization, see Marie Peters, “The ‘Monitor’ on the Constitution, 1755–1765: New Light on the Ideological Origins of English Radicalism,” English Historical Review 86, no. 341 (1971): 706–727. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 11 September 1762, no. 373. For examples of the evolution of this commercial expansionism into a vigorous, wideranging critique of British politics, see The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 14 August 1762, no. 369; 21 August 1762, no. 370; 25 September 1762, no. 375; 4 December 1762, no. 383; 11 December 1762, no. 384; 18 December 1762, no. 385; 25 December 1762, no. 386; 1 January 1763, no. 387; 8 January 1763, no. 388; 15 January 1763, no. 389. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 93–106. Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” 339. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 124; Thomas, George III, 85–86. John Wilkes, The North Briton, 26 March 1763, no. 43. King George III to the Earl of Bute, 30 March 1763, in Letters from George III to Lord Bute, 1756–1766, ed. Romney Sedgwick (London, 1939), 207–208. Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” 338. Anon., “Oppressive Duty upon Beer Considered,” in John Almon, A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters, 2:153–154. London Evening-Post, 4 to 7 April 1761, no. 5,216. Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics, 206. Rudé, Hanoverian London, 162; Lucy Sutherland, “The City of London in EighteenthCentury Politics,” in Lucy Sutherland, Politics and Finance in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Aubrey Newman (London, 1984), 41–66. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 2 October 1762, no. 376. Rudé, Hanoverian London, 164. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 12 May 1764, no. 458.

notes to pages 72–79

265

82. Robert Brenner, “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in PreIndustrial Europe,” and “The Agrarian Roots of European Capitalism,” in The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, ed. T. H. Aston and C. H. E. Philpin (Cambridge, 1987), 10–63 and 213–327. 83. Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, and J. H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England (Bloomington, IN, 1982). 84. Peter Borsay, The English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660–1770 (Oxford, 1989); Penelope J. Corfield, The Impact of English Towns, 1700–1800 (Oxford, 1982); Rogers, Whigs and Cities; Kathleen Wilson, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture, and Imperialism in England, 1715–1785 (Cambridge, 1995). 85. Quoted in Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics, 212. 86. Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” 346. 87. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (New York, 1977), 280. For the full elaboration of Marx’s argument with regard to the sphere of circulation as both the productive site and point of departure for bourgeois ideology, see Marx, Capital, 1:270–280; Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy, trans. Martin Nicolaus (London, 1973), 239–250. 88. Marx, Grundrisse, 245. 89. Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trans. Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, MA, 1989), 27. 90. Beckford on the Address, 1761, BL, Additional MS. 38,334, ff. 29r–v. 91. Isaac Kramnick, Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism (Ithaca, NY, 1990), 1–40. 92. Beckford on the Address, 1761, BL, Additional MS. 38,334, f. 29r. 93. “Regulus; or a View of the present State of public Affairs: with certain Proposals, addressed to the independent Electors of Great-Britain,” The Political Register, January 1768, no. 9. 94. “Regulus; or a View of the present State of public Affairs.” 95. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century, 115. 96. Lucy Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics (Oxford, 1952), 14–30. 97. The best analysis of the Company’s financial operations in the pre-imperial era, and of its relations with the government and London’s business community, is provided in K. N. Chaudhuri, The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company, 1660–1760 (Cambridge, 1978). 98. Although the directors of the three major monied corporations—the Bank of England, the East India Company, and the South Sea Company—did not significantly overlap, they were nevertheless all members of the intertwined City financial and commercial elite. Furthermore, by mid-century the Bank of England was the leading short-term lender to the EIC. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 22–23. 99. Henry Roseveare, The Financial Revolution, 1660–1760 (New York, 1991), 68. 100. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 19–20. 101. Anon., A Collection of Letters Relating to the East India Company, And to a Free Trade (London, 1754), ii. See also, in the same tract: “A Letter to the People of Britain,” 13–16; “To the Honourable ***.***. Esq.; one of the *** of ***,” 21–23.

266

notes to pages 79–84

102. Harris, Politics and the Nation, 117. 103. Adam Smith’s powerful critique of the East India Company—as both a commercial monopoly and an emerging territorial empire—was the ideological offspring of the radical opposition to the Company that developed at the time of the Glorious Revolution, and that re-emerged with the radical Whig politics of the later 1750s and 1760s. See Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan (Chicago, 1976): vol. 1, 82 and 470–472; vol. 2, 141–158, 254, 270–278, 343–344, and 484–485. 104. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, vol. 14: 1747–1753 (London, 1813), 1218–1219. 105. “To Sir J———L———,” in Anon., A Collection of Letters Relating to the East India Company, And to a Free Trade, 9–10. 106. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 14:1233. 107. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 14:1220. 108. “To Sir J———L———,” in Anon., A Collection of Letters Relating to the East India Company, And to a Free Trade, 11–12. 109. “To———B———, Esq.; one of the Aldermen of the City of London,” in Anon., A Collection of Letters Relating to the East India Company, And to a Free Trade, 24–25. 110. Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1:82. 111. It should be noted that, during the 1750s and early 1760s, radical Whigs were deeply opposed to British territorial expansion on the subcontinent insofar as it was undertaken by the East India Company in order to acquire revenue. After Clive’s acquisition of the diwani in 1765, when it became clear in the public sphere that some form of British political dominion on the Indian subcontinent was inevitable, radical Whigs shifted away from their long-standing opposition to territorial imperialism in favor of a liberal imperialism that sought to integrate British conquests into the commercial and maritime “empire of liberty.” They wanted to abolish the EIC, to open the trade of British India to all European and Asian merchants, and to settle colonies on the subcontinent. The radical Whig vision of a liberal Indian empire, developed during the later 1760s and 1770s, grew out of the mid-century project that sought to establish a string of British free-trade enclaves and settlements in Asia. That midcentury project was in turn a renewal of the radical aspirations for an open trade to India that emerged in England during the seventeenth century. 112. Henry Dodwell, Dupleix and Clive: The Beginnings of Empire (London, 1920). 113. Robert Orme, “Reflections on the Disputes, subsisting between the Companies of France and England trading to the East Indies,” 24 November 1753, BL, Egerton MS. 3,489, f. 36r. This treatise was composed and given to Holdernesse while Orme was visiting Britain in 1753. 114. The Earl of Holdernesse to the Earl of Albemarle, 11 April 1754, BL, Egerton MS. 3,486, f. 17r. 115. The Annual Register . . . for the Year 1758, 13. For an ideologically richer and exaggerated depiction of the Black Hole and the cruelty of the Nawab’s troops, see the narrative of the EIC servant J. Z. Holwell in The Annual Register . . . for the Year 1758, 278–287.

notes to pages 84–90 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127.

267

Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 15:265–270. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 30–31. Sutherland, 31. The Secret Committee of the East India Company to Henry Fox, 19 May 1756, BL, Oriental and India Office Collections [OIOC], India Office Records [IOR], Home Miscellaneous Series, 94:11–12. The Secret Committee of the East India Company to Henry Fox, 18 August 1756, BL, OIOC, IOR, Home Miscellaneous Series, 94:21. P. J. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750–1783 (Oxford, 2005), 125–126. Hotblack, Chatham’s Colonial Policy, 88–89; George K. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company: The Life of Laurence Sulivan (London, 2006), 58. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires, 128. Hotblack, Chatham’s Colonial Policy, 88. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 58–62. Hotblack, Chatham’s Colonial Policy, 87–88 and 92–93. Quoted in McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 59. CHAPTER 3. THE PLASSEY REVOLUTION IN BENGAL A N D T H E C O M PA N Y ’ S C I V I L WA R I N B R I TA I N

1. On the abuse of dastaks by EIC employees trading on their own private accounts, and the role this practice played in destabilizing British relations with the nawabi regime, see Sushil Chaudhury, The Prelude to Empire: Plassey Revolution of 1757 (New Delhi, 2000), 53–55; Kalikinkar Datta, Studies in the History of the Bengal Subah, 1740–1770, vol. 1: Social and Economic (Calcutta, 1936), 301–310. 2. For divergent British and Mughal conceptions of Calcutta’s role in the province and in the Mughal Empire as a whole, see Rajat Kanta Ray, “Calcutta or Alinagar: Contending Conceptions in the Mughal-English Confrontation of 1756–1757,” in Ports and Their Hinterlands in India, 1700–1950, ed. Indu Banga (New Delhi, 1992), 45–61. 3. Quoted in Datta, Studies in the History of the Bengal Subah, 1:303. 4. Robert Orme to Robert Clive, 25 August 1752, British Library [BL], Oriental and India Office Collections [OIOC], India Office Library [IOL], Private Papers, Orme MS., O.V. 19, 1. 5. Quoted in Datta, Studies in the History of the Bengal Subah, 1:302. 6. The breakup of the Mughal Empire and the emergence of post-Mughal successor kingdoms was a far more uneven and complex process than traditional imperial historiography suggested. Scholarly research on early modern South Asia over the past four decades makes traditional assumptions regarding “subcontinental anarchy” untenable. Even in the midst of warfare and imperial fragmentation, post-Mughal successor kingdoms provided durable political frameworks for social and economic life on the subcontinent. See C. A. Bayly, The New Cambridge History of India, vol. 2, 1: Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire (Cambridge, 1988), 7–44. 7. Datta, Studies in the History of the Bengal Subah, 1:436–438.

268

notes to pages 90–94

8. Ray, “Calcutta or Alinagar,” 48–50. 9. Quoted in Chaudhury, The Prelude to Empire, 52. 10. Siraj-ud-daula to Coja Wajid, 1 June 1756, in Bengal in 1756–1757: A Selection of Papers Dealing with the Affairs of the British in Bengal during the Reign of Siraj-ud-daula with Notes and Historical Introduction, vol. 1, ed. S. C. Hill (Delhi, 1905), 4. 11. M. Renault to M. the Marquis Dupleix, 4 September 1757, in Bengal in 1756–1757: A Selection of Papers Dealing with the Affairs of the British in Bengal during the Reign of Sirajud-daula with Notes and Historical Introduction, vol. 3, ed. S. C. Hill (Delhi, 1905), 251. 12. Robert Clive to the Earl of Hardwicke, 21 August 1757, BL, Additional MS. 35,595, ff. 78r-v. 13. Mark Bence-Jones, Clive of India (London, 1974), 154–156 (quotation, 154). 14. Robert Clive to the Earl of Hardwicke, 30 December 1758, BL, Additional MS. 35,595, f. 320r. 15. John Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, vol. 1 (London, 1836), 273–430; vol. 2 (London, 1836), 1–143. 16. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 166–167. 17. General Caillaud to John Holwell, 29 May 1760, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor [WLCL], Shelburne Papers, 99:1–2. 18. This is one of the central conclusions of J. D. Nichol’s remarkable thesis on British commercial and military activity in Bengal before and immediately following Plassey. J. D. Nichol, “The British in India, 1740–63: A Study of Imperial Expansion into Bengal” (PhD diss., University of Cambridge, 1976). 19. Ian Bruce Watson, Foundation for Empire: English Private Trade in India, 1659–1760 (New Delhi, 1980). 20. P. J. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes: The British in Bengal in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1976). 21. During the first half of the eighteenth century, Company servants and free merchants who were members of pan-imperial Scottish trading networks were at the forefront of the European port-to-port trade in Asia. See Andrew MacKillop, “Accessing Empire: Scotland, Britain, Europe, and the Asia Trade, 1695-c. 1750,” Itinerario 29, no. 3 (2005): 7–30. 22. Søren Mentz, The English Gentleman Merchant at Work: Madras and the City of London, 1660–1740 (Copenhagen, 2005). 23. Marshall, East Indian Fortunes, 58. 24. For example, see Richard Rolt, An Impartial Representation of the Conduct of the Several Powers of Europe Engaged in the Late General War, etc. (London, 1749), 4 vols. 25. Robert Travers, “Ideology and British Expansion in Bengal, 1757–72,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 33, no. 1 (2005): 11–12. 26. See the detailed and excellent analysis of this in Spencer A. Leonard, “A Fit of Absence of Mind?: Illiberal Imperialism and the Founding of British India” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2010). 27. “A general view of the charges and expenses of the Company for 3 years before the war with France broke out in India, and for 6 years since the restitution of Madras,” BL, OIOC, India Office Records [IOR], Home Miscellaneous Series, 94:97.

notes to pages 95–98

269

28. George K. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company: The Life of Laurence Sulivan (London, 2006), 63. 29. Lucy Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics (Oxford, 1952), 49–80. 30. Quoted in P. J. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750–1783 (Oxford, 2005), 124–125. 31. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 64–66. 32. Court of Directors to President and Council at Fort William in Calcutta, 23 March 1759, in Fort William—India House Correspondence and Other Contemporary Papers Relating Thereto (Public Series) [FWIHC], vol. 2: 1757–1759, ed. H. N. Sinha (Delhi, 1957), 142. 33. Court of Directors to President and Council at Fort William in Calcutta, 1 April 1760, in FWIHC, vol. 3: 1760–1763, ed. R. R. Sethi (Delhi, 1968), 38. 34. Laurence Sulivan to Colonel Eyre Coote, 16 March 1761, BL, OIOC, IOR, Home Miscellaneous Series, vol. 808, 182. 35. For a contemporary interpretation of the motives informing Vansittart’s replacement of Mir Jafar with Mir Qasim, see The London Chronicle, 16 June 1761, no. 699. 36. P. J. Marshall, The New Cambridge History of India, vol. 2, 2: Bengal: The British Bridgehead; Eastern India, 1740–1828 (Cambridge, 1987), 83–85; Narendra K. Sinha, The Economic History of Bengal: From Plassey to the Permanent Settlement (Calcutta, 1956), 10–14. 37. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 66–68. Bullion exports fell from an annual total of £795,007 in 1757 to £27,089 in 1764 before rising again to £315,161 in 1766. McGilvary, 67. 38. Sulivan’s efforts to increase the export of British manufactures to Asia should be seen in light of his alliance with Pitt and the growth of radical Whiggism, which advocated the aggressive expansion of British trade and industry. Sulivan’s support for the export of British manufactures to the East Indies comported well with his policy of reducing bullion shipments, and allowed him to address long-standing criticisms of the EIC’s adverse effects on British manufacturing. 39. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 81–83. 40. Laurence Sulivan to William Pitt, 27 July 1761, BL, OIOC, IOR, Home Miscellaneous Series, vol. 808, 186–187. 41. Sulivan’s ideological suspicion of the autocratic and militarist politics associated with territorial imperialism, as well as his opposition to the costs and burdens of political dominion, continued to inform his policy recommendations in the late 1760s. For example, see “Mr. Sulivan’s Sentiments upon East India Affairs submitted with great Deference to the Earl of Shelburne,” WLCL, Shelburne Papers, 90:79–86. 42. Henry Vansittart to Robert Clive, 18 November 1761, BL, OIOC, IOR, Home Miscellaneous Series, vol. 808, 193. 43. H. V. Bowen, Revenue and Reform: The Indian Problem in British Politics, 1757–1773 (Cambridge, 1991), 7. 44. Momtaz o’ Dowla Ferzund Cawn Buxy to John Carnac, 15 December 1763, in Henry Vansittart, A Narrative of the Transactions in Bengal, 1760–1764, ed. Anil Chandra Banerjee and Bimal Kanti Ghosh (Calcutta, 1976), 530.

270

notes to pages 98–105

45. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 74–75. 46. Sudipta Sen, Empire of Free Trade: The East India Company and the Making of the Colonial Marketplace (Philadelphia, 1998), 85. 47. The pronouncements of John Johnstone, a member of the Calcutta council who traded extensively throughout the region on his own private account, were particularly scathing. For example, see “Mr. Johnstone’s Opinion,” in Vansittart, A Narrative of the Transactions in Bengal, 385–387. 48. “Memorandum in Laurence Sulivan’s hand on Governor Vansittart’s support of Cossim Ally over issue of EIC servants trade,” WLCL, Shelburne Papers, 99:1–2. 49. Anon., The History of the Administration of the Leader in the India Direction, etc. (London, c. 1765), 7. 50. Travers, “Ideology and British Expansion in Bengal, 1757–72,” 13. 51. “A Narrative of the Principal occurrences & revolutions at the Court of Shahjehanabad from the reign of Mahmud Shah,” 20 January 1762, WLCL, Shelburne Papers, 99:30–31. 52. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 22–67. 53. “To Miss A———, who has Interest in the East India Stock,” in Anon., A Collection of Letters Relating to the East India Company, And to a Free Trade (London, 1754), 17–19. 54. Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 1:131. 55. The Earl of Powis to Robert Clive, 11 November 1757, BL, Additional MS. 35,595, ff. 104r-v. 56. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires, 129. 57. The Diaries of a Duchess: Extracts from the Diaries of the First Duchess of Northumberland (1716–1776), ed. James Greig (London, 1926), 12. 58. C. H. Philips, “Clive in the English Political World, 1761–64,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 12, no. 3/4 (1948): 697–698. 59. Quoted in Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:119–123. 60. The relationship between these political leaders and the emergence and development of the New Toryism is discussed in detail in chapters 4 and 5. 61. Scrafton and Clive often collaborated in making political interventions in the public sphere. For example, see Robert Clive to John Walsh, 4 September 1763, BL, OIOC, IOL, Private Papers, Ormathwaite Collection, MSS. Eur. D. 546, Bundle 5, ff. 90v–91r. 62. Luke Scrafton, Reflections on the Government of Indostan. With a Short Sketch of the History of Bengal, from 1739 to 1756; and an Account of the English Affairs to 1758 (London, 1763), 120. 63. Robert Travers, Ideology and Empire in Eighteenth-Century India: The British in Bengal (Cambridge, 2007), 57. 64. Scrafton, Reflections on the Government of Indostan, 119–120. 65. In 1761, Clive’s close confidante Robert Orme wrote an address to the Earl of Bute regarding the Dutch East India Company’s empire in Asia. He suggested that the Dutch position was militarily weak and that British forces could easily conquer their territories (and, with their territories, their trade). Robert Orme, “Batavia, Intended

notes to pages 106–117

66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76.

77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83.

84.

85.

271

to be delivered to Lord Bute by Lord Clive, 1761,” BL, OIOC, IOL, Private Papers, Orme MS., India 1, 142–161. Clive suggested that Orme write this address on the state of the Dutch empire. See “Accounts of Events, Countries & Places in the East Indies, out of Indostan, Robert Orme,” BL, OIOC, IOL, Private Papers, Orme MS., O.V. 45, 17. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 195–196; Sutherland, The East India Company in EighteenthCentury Politics, 81–82. Quoted in Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:133. Clive evinced disdain for Vansittart as well as Sulivan. For example, see Robert Clive to John Walsh, 4 September 1763, BL, OIOC, IOL, Private Papers, Ormathwaite Collection, MSS. Eur. D. 546, Bundle 5, f. 90r. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 195. C. H. Philips, “Clive and the English Political World, 1761–64,” 696. Quoted in Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:126. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 58–60. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 84. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 196. Quoted in Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 90. This interpretation is widespread in British domestic and imperial historiography. For examples, see Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 81–137; Peter D. G. Thomas, George III: King and Politicians, 1760–1770 (Manchester, UK, 2002), 86–87 and 106–107. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 94. Sutherland, 103–107. Sutherland, 101–103. The limits placed on the increase of the land tax stemmed from the government’s need to secure its political base in a landlord-dominated parliamentary system. After 1714, the British state shifted from raising taxes on the land to increasing excise taxes. For this, see the detailed discussion of party politics and political economy in Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, CT, 2009), 366–399. Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (New York, 2001), 514–515. Although I disagree with several of its conclusions, the best blow-by-blow account of the Company’s negotiations with the Bute ministry in the lead-up to the Treaty of Paris is provided in Lucy Sutherland, “The East India Company and the Peace of Paris,” in Lucy Sutherland, Politics and Finance in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Aubrey Newman (London, 1984), 165–176. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 95. Sulivan’s absence from the Court of Directors in 1762 was not due to a loss of power within the EIC. Since the corporation’s rules prevented any individual from serving as a director for more than four years in a row, he did not seek re-election to the Court of Directors in 1762. Nevertheless, he remained the leading power in the Company and wielded considerable influence over his many allies among the corporation’s management. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 96.

272

notes to pages 118–123

86. John Wilkes, A North Briton Extraordinary, 7 April 1763. This newspaper was written in April 1763 but not published until 1765. See Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 95, n. 3. 87. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 97. 88. Sutherland, 91–92. 89. Laurence Sulivan to the Duke of Newcastle, 2 March 1762, BL, Additional MS. 32,935, f. 158r. 90. Bute and George III did not seek to eliminate the oligarchic order tout court but rather to wrest control of it away from the Old Corps Whigs. See K. W. Schweizer, “A Lost Letter of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, to George Grenville, 13 October 1761,” Historical Journal 17, no. 2 (1974): 435–442. 91. John Wilkes, A North Briton Extraordinary, 7 April 1763. 92. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 97. 93. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 100–101; Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 98–99. 94. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 101. 95. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires, 124. 96. “Notes on the Preliminary Treaty of Paris by the Duke of Newcastle, Claremont,” 18 October 1762, BL, Additional MS. 32,944, f. 30v. 97. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 101. 98. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 98–100. 99. Philips, “Clive and the English Political World, 1761–64,” 699. 100. See Robert Orme, “Reflections on the preliminary Articles regarding India sent to Lord Holdernesse,” 1763, BL, OIOC, IOL, Private Papers, Orme MS., India II, 448. 101. Robert Orme, “Idea of a treaty for India, drawn at Condover at the request of Lord Clive and with his assistance, sent by him to Lord Bute,” August 1762, BL, OIOC, IOL, Private Papers, Orme MS., India II, 504. 102. Philips, “Clive and the English Political World, 1761–64,” 699. 103. Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:197. 104. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, vol. 15: 1753–1765 (London, 1813), 1273. 105. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 100. 106. Philips, “Clive in the English Political World, 1761–64,” 699. 107. Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 1 December 1761, BL, Additional MS. 32,931, ff. 368r-v. 108. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 103–104. 109. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 15:1273. For Dempster’s radical political views, see George Dempster to James Boswell, 23 August 1763, Beinecke Library, Yale University, Boswell Collection, James Boswell Papers, Correspondence, Gen. MS. 89, series no. II, box no. 20, folder no. 456, C/931, ff. 1v–3r. 110. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 100–101 and 103. 111. The Johnstones were one of the most important familial networks in the eighteenthcentury British Empire, with four brothers and three sisters managing and maintaining commercial ventures and plantations from the Floridas and the West Indies to

notes to pages 123–126

112. 113. 114. 115.

116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125.

126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133.

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Bengal. The profits they won from every corner of the empire were invested not only in their own estates but also in Scotland’s wider economy and infrastructure. See Emma Rothschild, The Inner Life of Empires: An Eighteenth-Century History (Princeton, NJ, 2011). McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 126. For an important example of the radical Whig critique of Bute’s supposed betrayal of Britain’s commercial interests and war aims, see John Wilkes, The North Briton, 22 January 1763, no. 34. J. H. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century: A Study of the Development of English Society (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK, 1950), 114–115. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, 15:1272–1273. It should be noted that although Beckford was not critical of Clive’s effort to take control of East India House in 1763, he remained deeply suspicious of the military commander. These suspicions went at least as far back as 1757. After Pitt declared Clive to be the “heavenborn general” in the House of Commons in December 1757, Beckford rose to speak and insulted Clive’s reputation. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 169. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 6 November 1762, no. 381. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century, 115. John Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III (Cambridge, 1976), 164. George Rudé, Wilkes and Liberty: A Social Study of 1763 to 1774 (Oxford, 1962), 17–36. John Wilkes, A North Briton Extraordinary, 7 April 1763. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 105. Thomas, George III, 86. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 101. Sutherland, 107. A contemporary took note that “a motion was made for giving Mr. Rous thanks for his prudent management and attention to the interests of the company, in the late negotiations for a peace with France; and, after a long and warm debate, the question was carried in the affirmative.” Tobias Smollett, Continuation of the Complete History of England, etc., vol. 5 (London, 1765), 209. Fourteen candidates were listed on both Sulivan’s and Rous’s slate of directors. The election was essentially a contest to fill the majority of the ten remaining spots on the Court of Directors. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 109. Philips, “Clive in the English Political World, 1761–64,” 700. Quoted in McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 127. Although Bute left office just before the election was held to the EIC’s Court of Directors in April 1763, his ministry secured support for Sulivan well in advance of the actual vote. Thomas, George III, 86. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 107. Thomas, George III, 86–87.

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notes to pages 126–134

134. McGilvary, Guardian of the East India Company, 127. 135. Thomas, George III, 106. 136. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 110. CHAPTER 4. CLIVE’S CONQUEST OF EAST INDIA HOUSE A N D T H E C O M PA N Y ’ S C O N Q U E S T O F B E N G A L

1. “Proprietors of East India Stock from Lord Clive’s Papers,” 19 May 1763, British Library [BL], Additional MS. 32,948, ff. 332r–337v; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 19 May 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,948, f. 338r; the Duke of Newcastle to Robert Clive, 22 May 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,948, f. 359r. 2. The Duke of Newcastle to Robert Clive, 30 June 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,949, ff. 244r-v; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 7 August 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,950, ff. 53r-v; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 5 September 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,950, f. 331r; the Duke of Newcastle to Robert Clive, 10 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,951, ff. 379r-v; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 14 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,951, ff. 424r–425v; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 31 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,952, ff. 154r-v; the Duke of Newcastle to Robert Clive, 5 November 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,952, f. 256r; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 6 November 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,952, ff. 268r-v; Robert Clive to the Duke of Newcastle, 9 November 1763, BL, Additional MS. 32,952, ff. 308r-v; Lucy Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics (Oxford, 1952), 112. 3. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 113–114; Peter D. G. Thomas, George III: King and Politicians, 1760–1770 (Manchester, UK, 2002), 106. 4. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 7 November 1763, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 10]. 5. Colin G. Calloway, The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America (Oxford, 2006), 12. 6. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 16 January 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 33r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 20 January 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 42r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 27 January 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 60r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 6 February 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, ff. 80r–82r. 7. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 1 February 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 72r. 8. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 111. 9. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 21 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 38,397, f. 72r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 25 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 38,397, f. 73r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 31 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 38,397, f. 74r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 22 November 1763, BL, Additional MS. 38,397, f. 75r. 10. The Briton, 11 September 1762, no. 16, in Tobias Smollett, Poems, Plays, and The Briton, ed. O. M. Brack Jr. (Athens, GA, 1993), 318–320.

notes to pages 134–140

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11. Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (New York, 2001), 512–513. 12. George Rudé, Wilkes and Liberty: A Social Study of 1763 to 1774 (Oxford, 1962), 25–31. 13. Thomas, George III, 102. 14. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 3 January 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 2r. 15. Thomas, George III, 103. 16. Quoted in Thomas C. Barrow, “Background to the Grenville Program, 1757–1763,” William and Mary Quarterly 22, no. 1 (1965): 96. 17. Jack P. Greene, “The Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution: The Causal Relationship Reconsidered,” in The British Atlantic Empire before the American Revolution, ed. Peter Marshall and Glyn Williams (London, 1980), 88. 18. Barrow, “Background to the Grenville Program, 1757–1763,” 93–104. 19. Peter Oliver’s Origin & Progress of the American Rebellion: A Tory View, ed. Douglass Adair and John A. Schutz (Stanford, CA, 1961), 46. 20. Greene, “The Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution,” 89–90. 21. The Earl of Halifax to George Grenville, 24 October 1763, BL, Additional MS. 57,808, f. 118r. 22. C. H. Philips, “Clive in the English Political World, 1761–64,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 12, no. 3/4 (1948): 701. 23. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 13 December 1763, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 11]. 24. Robert Clive to John Walsh, 12 December 1763, BL, Oriental and India Office Collections [OIOC], India Office Library [IOL], Private Papers, Ormathwaite Collection, MSS. Eur. D. 546, Bundle 5, f. 97r. 25. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 114–115. 26. Thomas, George III, 97. 27. Thomas, 100. 28. The Court of Directors continued to reject the overtures made by Clive and his supporters regarding the jagir. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 21 December 1763, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 32]. 29. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 13 December 1763, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 11]. 30. Philips, “Clive in the English Political World, 1761–64,” 701. 31. For an important interpretation of the 1764 election to the EIC’s Court of Directors that is complementary to the one presented in this chapter, see Spencer A. Leonard, “ ‘A Theatre of Disputes’: The East India Company Election of 1764 as the Founding of British India,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42, no. 4 (2014): 593–624. 32. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 115–116. 33. “Memorandum in Laurence Sulivan’s hand on Governor Vansittart’s support of Cossim Ally over issue of EIC servants trade,” William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor [WLCL], Shelburne Papers, 99:2–4.

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notes to pages 140–147

34. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 116. 35. Tobias Smollett, Continuation of the Complete History of England, etc., vol. 5 (London, 1765), 250. 36. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 120. 37. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 6 March 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 147r. 38. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 6 March 1764, f. 147r. 39. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 7 March 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 148r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 8 March 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,397, f. 78r. 40. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 14 March 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 159r; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 16 March 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 168r. 41. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 119. 42. Public Advertiser, 8 March 1764, no. 9,156; Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser, 9 March 1764, no. 10,915; Public Advertiser, 10 March 1764, no. 9,158; Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser, 12 March 1764, no. 10,917; Public Advertiser, 15 March 1764, no. 9,162; Public Advertiser, 16 March 1764, no. 9,163. 43. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 122. 44. Sutherland, 117–118 and 122–123; St. James’s Chronicle or the British Evening Post, 6 March 1764, no. 469. 45. For a detailed and persuasive analysis of the far-reaching political-economic program developed by these servants and private traders in Bengal, see Spencer A. Leonard, “A Fit of Absence of Mind?: Illiberal Imperialism and the Founding of British India” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2010). 46. Robert Clive, A Letter to the Proprietors of the East India Stock, from Lord Clive (London, 1764), 61–63. 47. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 117. 48. Sutherland, 117–118. 49. Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser, 7 March 1764, no. 10,913. 50. Smollett, Continuation of the Complete History of England, 5:254. 51. London Magazine, vol. 33 (London, 1764), 158–159. 52. Robert Clive to George Grenville, March 1764, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 26]. 53. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 126–127. 54. Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser, 2 April 1764, no. 10,915. 55. Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser, 6 April 1764, no. 10,939. 56. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 4 March 1764, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 30]; Robert Clive to George Grenville, February 1764, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 20]. 57. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 120; Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 8 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 224r. 58. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 119 and 122. 59. Mark Bence-Jones, Clive of India (London, 1974), 206. 60. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 12 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,397, f. 77r; Robert Clive to George Grenville, 13 April 1764, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 29].

notes to pages 147–153

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61. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 206; Sutherland, The East India Company in EighteenthCentury Politics, 129–130. 62. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 130. 63. Laurence Sulivan to Robert Palk, 22 May 1764, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS. Eng. hist. b. 190, Laurence Sulivan Papers, f. 1. 64. John Walsh to Robert Clive, 22 November 1764, BL, OIOC, IOL, Clive Papers, Eur. MSS. G. 37, Box 32, Miscellaneous Letters, 1764; George Amyand to Robert Clive, 14 February 1765, BL, OIOC, IOL, Clive Papers, Eur. MSS. G. 37, Box 33, Miscellaneous Letters, 1765, January to March; John Walsh to Robert Clive, 5 April 1765, BL, OIOC, India Office Records [IOR], Home Miscellaneous Series, vol. 808, 231–235. 65. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 207. 66. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 130. 67. Joseph Salvador to Charles Jenkinson, 22 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,202, f. 248r. 68. George Grenville to Charles Jenkinson, 29 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 38,191, f. 80r. 69. Charles Jenkinson to George Grenville, 1 May 1764, BL, Additional MS. 57,809, ff. 105r–106r. 70. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 131. 71. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 19 May 1764, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 27]. 72. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 207. 73. The Duke of Bedford to George Grenville, 25 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 57,811, ff. 15v–16r. 74. Lord Sandwich to George Grenville, 23 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 57,810, ff. 91r-v; Lord Sandwich to George Grenville, 25 April 1764, BL, Additional MS. 57,810, ff. 93r–95r. 75. Quoted in Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 207. 76. The Monitor, or British Freeholder, 19 May 1764, no. 459. 77. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 128. 78. Sutherland, 131. 79. George Dempster and George Johnstone, “To the Honourable the Court of Directors for the Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, 1 June 1764” and “The Memorial of George Johnstone and George Dempster, Proprietors of East India Stock,” in John Johnstone, A Letter to the Proprietors of East-India Stock, from John Johnstone, Esq. (London, 1766), 85–90. 80. Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 18 March 1764, in Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. 22, ed. W. S. Lewis (New Haven, CT, 1960), 210–211. 81. Lord Sandwich to Robert Clive, 8 January 1765, BL, OIOC, IOL, Clive Papers, Eur. MSS. G. 37, Box 33, Miscellaneous Letters, 1765, January to March. 82. James Oglethorpe to Robert Clive, 1 December 1764, BL, OIOC, IOL, Clive Papers, Eur. MSS. G. 37, Box 32, Miscellaneous Letters, 1764. 83. Quoted in G. R. Gleig, The Life of Robert, First Lord Clive (London, 1907), 239.

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notes to pages 153–157

84. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in Fort William–India House Correspondence and Other Contemporary Papers Relating Thereto (Public Series) [FWIHC], vol. 4: 1764–1766, ed. C. S. Srinivasachari (New Delhi, 1962), 337. 85. As a province of the Mughal Empire, Bengal’s government was traditionally divided between diwani (fiscal administration) and nizamat (general administration), the heads of which were appointed by the Emperor. The head of the latter, the Nazim, was responsible for regional military defense as well as the maintenance of law and order, while the chief of the former, the Diwan, was in charge of revenue collection. With the weakening of imperial authority following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, regional governments began to develop into autonomous states. In Bengal, the offices of Diwan and Nazim came under the control of Murshid Kuli Khan who, in combining them, established the independent nawabi regime that governed Bengal until 1757–1765. When Siraj-ud-daula, the Nawab of Bengal, was defeated by British forces at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, the provisions of the treaty with the province’s new ruler, the British-backed Mir Jafar, kept the nawabi regime intact, although some commercial and territorial concessions were made to the Company. Upon acquiring the diwani in 1765, the EIC technically returned Bengal to its pre-1716 form of government, with the British corporation acting as the Diwan and the Nawab acting as the Nazim responsible for internal order and external defense. However, with the Company’s military in complete control of the province, the nawabi regime was not capable of acting independently of British authority. The EIC collected the revenue of Bengal and directed its foreign and internal affairs, over which neither the Nawab nor the Emperor exercised significant control. The Company was now a sovereign state on the Indian subcontinent. 86. P. J. Marshall, The New Cambridge History of India, vol. 2, 2: Bengal: The British Bridgehead: Eastern India, 1740–1828 (Cambridge, 1987), 77–92. 87. Quoted in Henry Vansittart, A Narrative of the Transactions in Bengal, 1760–1764, ed. Anil Chandra Banerjee and Bimal Kanti Ghosh (Calcutta, 1976), xiv. 88. Laurence Sulivan to William Pitt, 27 July 1761, BL, OIOC, IOR, Home Miscellaneous Series, vol. 808, 186. 89. Momtaz o’ Dowla Ferzund Cawn Buxy to John Carnac, 15 December 1763, in Vansittart, A Narrative of the Transactions in Bengal, 531. 90. Nandalal Chatterji, Mir Qasim: Nawab of Bengal, 1760–1763 (Allahabad, India, 1935), 172–195 (esp. 179–180). 91. For newspaper reportage and debates, see J. Paul Thomas, “The British Empire and the Press, 1763–1774” (DPhil thesis, University of Oxford, 1982). 92. Robert Clive to William Pitt, 7 January 1759, quoted in John Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, vol. 2 (London, 1836), 119–120 and 122. 93. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 210. 94. Robert Clive to Thomas Rous, 17 April 1765, quoted in Sir George Forrest, The Life of Lord Clive, vol. 2 (London, 1918), 256–257. 95. Robert Clive to Luke Scrafton, 25 September 1765, National Library of Wales [NLW], Clive Papers, CR 3/1, Europe Letter Book, 1765, 19.

notes to pages 157–161

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96. Robert Clive to Joseph Salvador, 25 September 1765, NLW, Clive Papers, CR 3/1, Europe Letter Book, 1765, 24. 97. Marshall, Bengal: The British Bridgehead, 83–85; Narendra K. Sinha, The Economic History of Bengal: From Plassey to the Permanent Settlement (Calcutta, 1956), 10–14. The “investment” was the contemporary term used to describe the Company’s purchase of Bengali goods—most importantly, cotton and silk piece-goods and saltpetre. 98. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in FWIHC, 4:337. It should be noted that Clive’s objective of eliminating the export of bullion to Bengal proved illusory. For the trend in bullion exports both before and after the diwani grant, see H. V. Bowen, Revenue and Reform: The Indian Problem in British Politics, 1757–1773 (Cambridge, 1991), 110–111. 99. Marshall, Bengal: The British Bridgehead, 104. 100. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in FWIHC, 4:337–338. 101. H. V. Bowen, “Tea, Tribute and the East India Company, c. 1750-c. 1775,” in Hanoverian Britain and Empire: Essays in Memory of Philip Lawson, ed. Stephen Taylor, Richard Connors, and Clyve Jones (Woodbridge, UK, 1998), 163. 102. Robert Clive to William Smyth King, 29 September 1765, NLW, Clive Papers, CR 3/1, Europe Letter Book, 1765, 26. 103. The Abbé Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies, vol. 1, trans. J. Justamond (London, 1776), 360. 104. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in FWIHC, 4:339. 105. Warren Hastings, “General Considerations on the Natural Strength of Bengal,” [n.d.], WLCL, Shelburne Papers, 90:42–43. For an overview of the development of concepts of “Oriental despotism” in early modern European thought, see Franco Venturi, “Oriental Despotism,” Journal of the History of Ideas 24, no. 1 (1963): 133–142. 106. Robert Travers’s important work revises our understanding of Hastings’s ideas about despotic government. In Travers’s estimation, Hastings’s political views combined a “strong sense of sovereignty [that] carried the authentic traces of English Whiggism in the age of Blackstone” with an “idea of Mughal despotism” that defended “a reserved core of absolute power.” Robert Travers, Ideology and Empire in EighteenthCentury India: The British in Bengal (Cambridge, 2007), 100–140 (quotations, 139). 107. David Washbrook, “India, 1818–1860: The Two Faces of Colonialism,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Andrew Porter (Oxford, 1999), 399. 108. Robert Clive to the Court of Directors, April 1764, quoted in Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:315, 313, and 314. 109. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in FWIHC, 4:330. 110. Robert Clive to Rev. Dr. Adams, 29 September 1765, NLW, Clive Papers, CR 3/1, Europe Letter Book, 1765, 27.

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note to page 161

111. Clive’s opposition to commercial expansionism and his repeated denunciations of the Company servants’ “licentiousness,” “leveling,” and “luxury” are typically read as a straightforward critique of profiteering, bribery, and unfair business practices. This interpretation fails to grasp the politico-ideological character of Clive’s views. That the EIC’s employees used the corporation’s post-Plassey political and military advantages to their financial and commercial benefit—in the form of bribes, commodity monopolies, extortionate loans, etc.—is beyond doubt. However, Clive’s interpretation of those practices was fundamentally illiberal. Such illiberalism must be taken seriously as an ideology. This illiberal ideology informed Clive’s actions during his second Bengal governorship and shaped the early formation of the EIC’s territorial empire. In dismissing these illiberal sentiments as so much rhetoric, or as simple recitations of the facts in question, historians risk losing sight of the larger stakes at play in Clive’s policies. To illustrate this point, let us turn to Adam Smith’s reading of the crisis of post-Plassey Bengal and his interpretation of the Company servants’ practices—the very same practices that so enraged Clive. Smith acknowledged that post-Plassey events gave the EIC’s employees incredible political and military powers, which they wielded to the advantage of their private trade. According to Smith, they remained merchants whose primary goal was to buy low and sell high and, thus, they sought “to exclude as much as possible all rivals from the market where they keep their shop.” Smith emphasized the position that the Company servants occupied in larger social structures. He contended that “nothing can be more completely foolish than to expect that the clerks of a great counting-house at ten thousand miles distance, and consequently almost quite out of sight, should, upon a simple order from their masters, give up at once doing any sort of business upon their own account, abandon for ever all hopes of making a fortune, of which they have means in their hands, and content themselves with the moderate salaries which those masters allow them, and which, moderate as they are, can seldom be augmented, being commonly as large as the real profits of the company trade can afford.” Smith, although aware of the Company servants’ commercial abuses and their detrimental effects on Bengal’s economy, nevertheless argued that these abuses were the symptom of a larger political-economic contradiction—they were the product of a commercial corporation’s rapid acquisition of political power over a vast territory. “I mean not, however, by any thing which I have here said, to throw any odious imputation upon the general character of the servants of the East India company,” Smith remarked; “it is the system of government, the situation in which they are placed, that I mean to censure . . . they acted as their situation naturally directed, and they who have clamoured the loudest against them would, probably, not have acted better themselves.” Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, vol. 2, ed. Edwin Cannan (Chicago, 1976), 155 and 158. Smith’s analysis lacks any trace of Clive’s illiberalism, and his proposed solution to the Company’s problems was significantly different from the course of action actually pursued in Bengal. Smith, writing from the standpoint of radical Whiggism, called for the abolition of the EIC’s monopoly and the liberalization of the emerging territorial empire in India. For a contrasting historical interpretation that emphasizes the “unbelievable

notes to pages 161–167

112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120.

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greed of Englishmen that found expression in rampant abuse of political power to further private commercial gain,” see Lakshmi Subramanian, “ ‘East Indian Fortunes’: Merchants, Companies and Conquest, 1700–1800: An Exercise in Historiography,” in Bengal, Rethinking History: Essays in Historiography, ed. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay (New Delhi, 2001), 58. Robert Clive to Joseph Salvador, NLW, Clive Papers, CR 3/1, Europe Letter Book, 1765, 23. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in FWIHC, 4:331. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, 4:331. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in FWIHC, 4:339–340. The Select Committee to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, quoted in Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:337–338. Robert Clive to George Dudley, 29 September 1765, NLW, Clive Papers, CR 3/1, Europe Letter Book, 1765, 3. Robert Clive to George Dudley, 29 September 1765, 3. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 210–215; Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, 2:317–381. Sir Henry Cavendish’s Debates of the House of Commons, during the Thirteenth Parliament of Great Britain, etc., vol. 1: 10 May 1768–3 May 1770, ed. J. Wright (London, 1841), 264–265. CHAPTER 5. THE NEW TORYISM AND THE IMPERIAL R E AC T I O N AT T H E AC C E S S I O N O F G E O R G E I I I

1. The best articulation of this view remains the work of Sir Lewis Namier: The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III (London, 1957); England in the Age of the American Revolution (London, 1963). 2. J. H. Plumb, The Growth of Political Stability in England, 1675–1725 (London, 1979). 3. Namierite scholarship on British politics during George III’s early reign is too extensive to examine in detail here. For representative works, see H. V. Bowen, Revenue and Reform: The Indian Problem in British Politics, 1757–1773 (Cambridge, 1991); Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform (London, 1962); and Peter D. G. Thomas, George III: King and Politicians, 1760–1770 (Manchester, UK, 2002). 4. For an overview of the historical developments leading to this, see Robert Brenner, “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe,” and “The Agrarian Roots of European Capitalism,” in The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, ed. T. H. Aston and C. H. E. Philpin (Cambridge, 1987), 10–63 and 213–327. 5. “It is a strain on one’s semantic patience to imagine a class of bourgeois scattered across a countryside and dwelling on their estates,” Thompson remarks, “but if we forget the associations with the French model which the term introduces, and think rather of the capitalist mode of production, then clearly we must follow Marx in seeing the landowners and farmers as a very powerful and authentic capitalist

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6. 7. 8.

9.

10.

11.

12. 13. 14. 15.

16. 17.

18.

notes to pages 167–170 nexus.” E. P. Thompson, “The Peculiarities of the English,” in Socialist Register, 1965, ed. Ralph Miliband and John Saville (New York, 1965), 315–319. Paul Langford, Public Life and the Propertied Englishman, 1689–1798 (Oxford, 1991); Lawrence Stone and Jeanne C. Fawtier Stone, An Open Elite?: England, 1540–1880 (Oxford, 1984). P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism, 1688–2000 (London, 2002), 62–103; P. G. M. Dickson, The Financial Revolution in England: A Study in the Development of Public Credit, 1688–1756 (New York, 1967). J. V. Beckett and Michael Turner, “Taxation and Economic Growth in EighteenthCentury England,” Economic History Review, n.s., 43, no. 3 (1990): 377–403; John Brewer, The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783 (London, 1989). Such is the thrust of Paul Langford’s magisterial A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989). By the mid-eighteenth century, the manufacturing and commercial sectors of the economy may have accounted for as much as 50 percent of national income. John Rule, The Vital Century: England’s Developing Economy, 1714–1815 (London, 1992), 93. Peter Borsay, The English Urban Renaissance: Culture and Society in the Provincial Town, 1660–1770 (Oxford, 1989); Peter Clark, British Clubs and Societies, 1580–1800: The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford, 2000), 60–140; P. J. Corfield, The Impact of English Towns, 1700–1800 (Oxford, 1982). Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, and J. H. Plumb, The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England (Bloomington, IN, 1982); John Stobart, Andrew Hann, and Victoria Morgan, Spaces of Consumption: Leisure and Shopping in the English Town, c. 1680–1830 (London, 2007), 1–25; Lorna Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain, 1660–1760 (London, 1988). Geoff Eley, “Nations, Publics, and Political Cultures: Placing Habermas in the Nineteenth Century,” in Habermas and the Public Sphere, ed. Craig Calhoun (Cambridge, MA, 1992), 299. Nicholas Rogers, Whigs and Cities: Popular Politics in the Age of Walpole and Pitt (Oxford, 1989), 46–86; Kathleen Wilson, “Empire, Trade and Popular Politics: The Case of Admiral Vernon,” Past and Present, no. 121 (1988): 74–109. Linda Colley, In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party, 1714–1760 (Cambridge, 1982). Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT, 1992), 85–100; Bob Harris, Politics and the Nation: Britain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 2002); Kathleen Wilson, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture, and Imperialism in England, 1715–1785 (Cambridge, 1995). George Rudé, Wilkes and Liberty: A Social Study of 1763 to 1774 (Oxford, 1962). John Brewer, “English Radicalism in the Age of George III,” in Three British Revolutions: 1641, 1688, 1776, ed. J. G. A. Pocock (Princeton, NJ, 1980), 323–367; John Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III (Cambridge, 1976); Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 87–129. H. Porter to the Earl of Hardwicke, 29 June 1769, British Library [BL], Additional MS. 35,608, f. 377r.

notes to pages 170–174

283

19. Charles Townshend to George Viscount Townshend, 3 July 1765, BL, Additional MS. 34,713, ff. 253v–254r. 20. Commons Speech of Frederick Montagu, 17 May 1768, BL, Egerton MS. 215, f. 69. 21. Speech by George Grenville on the motion for expelling Wilkes, 3 February 1769, BL, Stowe MS. 372, ff. 39v–41v. 22. My views on this subject are diametrically opposed to the Namierite interpretation that sees no connection between metropolitan political conflict and the transformation of British imperial expansion in the eighteenth century. Ian Christie crisply summarizes this Namierite view when he argues that “the story of British colonial policy between 1763 and 1783 makes perfect sense if it is considered apart from the domestic issues concerning Wilkes and the press.” Christie, “Was There a ‘New Toryism’ in the Earlier Part of George III’s Reign?,” in Ian R. Christie, Myth and Reality in LateEighteenth-Century British Politics and Other Papers (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1970), 212. For a powerful critique of Christie’s argument, see Paul Langford, “Old Whigs, Old Tories, and the American Revolution,” in The British Atlantic Empire before the American Revolution, ed. Peter Marshall and Glyn Williams (London, 1980), 106–128. 23. The key pamphlets in question include: William Knox, The Claim of the Colonies to an Exemption from Internal Taxes Imposed by Authority of Parliament, Examined (London, 1765); William Knox, The Present State of the Nation (London, 1768); Thomas Whately, The Regulations Lately Made Concerning the Colonies, and the Taxes Imposed Upon Them, Considered (London, 1765); Thomas Whately, Considerations on the Trade and Finances of this Kingdom (London, 1766). Although these pamphlets were composed after Clive returned to Bengal in June 1764, they represent ideological crystallizations of political and imperial experience going back to the late 1750s. The pamphlets published by Grenville’s inner circle in the mid- to late 1760s were public articulations of policies and ideas they expressed in private memoranda and correspondence during the first half of the 1760s while in office under George III. The ideological positions expressed in these pamphlets informed their support for Clive’s return to Bengal. 24. Quoted in John L. Bullion, “ ‘To Know This Is the True Essential Business of a King’: The Prince of Wales and the Study of Public Finance, 1755–1760,” Albion 18, no. 3 (1986): 437. 25. It should be noted that this is not my interpretation but rather the conclusion reached by Grenville’s inner circle as well as by many members of Britain’s political elite. 26. William Knox, The Present State of the Nation (London, 1768), 32. 27. George Rudé, Paris and London in the 18th Century: Studies in Popular Protest (London, 1970), 201–221. 28. John Perceval, Earl of Egmont, Faction Detected, By the Evidence of Facts (Dublin, 1743), 2. The fact that Egmont became a staunch supporter of George III and Bute in the 1760s is not surprising. 29. John Gordon to the Duke of Newcastle, 6 April 1756, BL, Additional MS. 32,889, ff. 388r-v. 30. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 114–116.

284

notes to pages 174–178

31. Anon., “To Isaac Buckhorse, Esq.; from the E. of C.,” in John Almon, A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters, from the Public Papers, etc., vol. 2 (London, 1767), 264. 32. In many respects what I am describing here is an early phase of the political conservatism that dominated British public life in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. See Linda Colley, “The Apotheosis of George III: Loyalty, Royalty and the British Nation, 1760–1820,” Past and Present, no. 102 (1984): 94–129. 33. For an example of such views regarding radicalism, see Anon., The True Whig Displayed. Comprehending Cursory Remarks on the Address to the Cocoa-Tree. By a Tory (London, 1762). For an example of a prominent Tory and conservative Patriot who was fiercely loyal to Pitt earlier in the 1750s before becoming a strident critic of his policies and radical associations, see Lewis M. Knapp, “Smollett and the Elder Pitt,” Modern Language Notes 59, no. 4 (1944): 250–257. 34. Maurice Woods, A History of the Tory Party in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (London, 1924), 210–231. 35. Anon., An Address to the Cocoa-Tree from a Whig. And a Consultation on the Subject of a Standing-Army, etc. (London, 1763). 36. “The Life of Lord Loughborough,” in John Lord Campbell, The Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of England, vol. 6, 3rd Series (Philadelphia, 1848), 73. 37. Alexander Wedderburn to George Grenville, 3 April 1768, BL, Additional MS. 42,086, ff. 10v–11r. 38. The Duke of Bedford to Mr. Pitt, 1 September 1757, in Correspondence of John, Fourth Duke of Bedford, vol. 2, ed. Lord John Russell (London, 1843), 269. 39. Quoted in Bob Harris, Politics and the Nation, 331. 40. Charles R. Ritcheson, British Politics and the American Revolution (Norman, OK, 1954), 31. 41. I agree with James Sack’s important contention that “the whole question of the survival of orthodox Toryism after 1760 has somewhat obscured the very real post-1760 authoritarian, anti-Enlightenment, right-wing patronage and factional networks which grew up about ostensibly Whig politicians and which in many cases directly intersected with important constituents of the so-called Tory revival of the 1790s and beyond.” James Sack, From Jacobite to Conservative: Reaction and Orthodoxy in Britain, c. 1760–1832 (Cambridge, 1993), 74–75. 42. John Sekora, Luxury: The Concept in Western Thought, Eden to Smollett (Baltimore, 1977), 155–211. 43. The London Magazine, vol. 23 (London, 1754), 410. 44. The London Magazine, vol. 25 (London, 1756), 15–16. 45. The London Magazine, vol. 27 (London, 1758), 223. 46. Anon., “On domestic grievances, the dearness of provisions, etc.,” in Almon, A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters, 2:174. 47. Gentleman’s Magazine, Supplement, 1757, 591. 48. Quoted in Langford, “Old Whigs, Old Tories, and the American Revolution,” 124–125.

notes to pages 179–181

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49. John Brown, An Estimate of the Manners and Principles of the Times (London, 1757), 181. 50. Tobias Smollett, Continuation of the Complete History of England, etc., vol. 1 (London, 1762), 56 and 128. 51. The Briton, 11 September 1762, no. 16, in Tobias Smollett, Poems, Plays, and The Briton, ed. O. M. Brack Jr. (Athens, GA, 1993), 317. 52. John L. Bullion, “From ‘the French and Dutch are more sober, frugal and industrious’ to the ‘nobler’ position: Attitudes of the Prince of Wales toward a General Naturalization and a Popular Monarchy, 1757–1760,” in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 17, ed. John Yolton and Leslie Ellen Brown (East Lansing, MI, 1987), 159–172. 53. For example, see Anon., Considerations on Taxes, as They are Supposed to Affect the Price of Labour in Our Manufacturies (London, 1765). 54. By the early 1760s, the Treasury was fully aware of the extent to which colonial American commerce operated beyond the legal boundaries set by the laws of trade and navigation. Ritcheson, British Politics and the American Revolution, 16–18. 55. George Grenville, “Some Account of the Memorable Transactions since the Death of Lord Egremont,” in The Grenville Papers: Being the Correspondence of Richard Grenville, Earl Temple, K. G., and the Right Hon. George Grenville, their Friends and Contemporaries, vol. 2, ed. William James Smith (London, 1852), 193. 56. Israel Maudit, Considerations on the Present German War (London, 1760), 132. 57. Rogers, Whigs and Cities, 117. 58. K. W. Schweizer, “A Note on Israel Maudit’s Considerations on the Present German War,” Notes and Queries, n.s., 27, no. 1 (1980): 45–46. 59. John Almon, Anecdotes of the Life of the Right Honourable William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, vol. 1 (London, 1798), 405. 60. Bute and George III were deeply worried about the growth of the national debt and taxation. These concerns informed many of their early policy proposals. For more on this, see Bullion, “ ‘To Know This Is the True Essential Business of a King’: The Prince of Wales and the Study of Public Finance,” 429–454. 61. For evidence that Bute held Tory views on foreign policy, see K. W. Schweizer, “The Draft of a Pamphlet by John Stuart 3rd Earl of Bute,” Notes and Queries, n.s., 34, no. 3 (1987): 343–345; K. W. Schweizer, “Lord Bute and the Prussian Subsidy, 1762: An Unnoticed Document,” Notes and Queries, n.s., 36, no. 1 (1989): 58–61; K. W. Schweizer, “Lord Bute and British Strategy in the Seven Years War: Further Evidence,” Notes and Queries, n.s., 38, no. 2 (1991): 189–191. 62. The Earl of Fife to George Grenville, 3 September 1766, BL, Additional MS. 57,815, f. 39v. 63. Bute and Grenville were both opposed to continuing the war but they intensely disagreed over how to treat Britain’s conquests in the West Indies during the peace process with France. Bute was willing to make considerable concessions on this front in order to swiftly secure peace, while Grenville was adamantly opposed to the idea. 64. Anon., “Letters on behalf of the Administration, in answer to Anti-Sejanus, etc.,” in Almon, A New and Impartial Collection of Interesting Letters, 2:84.

286

notes to pages 181–191

65. Sack, From Jacobite to Conservative, 57. 66. For a good overview of Grenville’s political and economic principles, see Dora Mae Clark, “George Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1763–1765,” Huntington Library Quarterly 13, no. 4 (1950): 383–397. 67. For a contrasting interpretation to the one presented here, see Peter D. G. Thomas, British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis: The First Phase of the American Revolution, 1763–1767 (Oxford, 1975). 68. John L. Bullion, “ ‘The Ten Thousand in America’: More Light on the Decision on the American Army, 1762–1763,” William and Mary Quarterly 43, no. 4 (1986): 646– 657; John L. Bullion, “Security and Economy: The Bute Administration’s Plans for the American Army and Revenue, 1762–1763,” William and Mary Quarterly 45, no. 3 (1988): 499–509. 69. For an overview of how these reforms strongly interfered with colonial patterns of trade established during the long period of “Salutary Neglect,” see Jack P. Greene, “The Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution: The Causal Relationship Reconsidered,” in The British Atlantic Empire before the American Revolution, ed. Peter Marshall and Glyn Williams (London, 1980), 90–91. 70. Thomas C. Barrow, “A Project for Imperial Reform: ‘Hints Respecting the Settlement of our American Provinces,’ 1763,” William and Mary Quarterly 24, no. 1 (1967): 126. 71. Clark, “George Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer,” 393–394. 72. Barrow, “A Project for Imperial Reform,” 117, 122, and 123. 73. Clark, “George Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer,” 393. 74. Leland J. Bellot, William Knox: The Life and Thought of an Eighteenth-Century Imperialist (Austin, TX, 1977), 41. 75. George Grenville to Thomas Pownall, 17 July 1768, BL, Additional MS. 42,086, f. 68v. 76. Clark, “George Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer,” 397. 77. George Grenville to Dr. Spry, 19 August 1766, quoted in Clark, “George Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer,” 394, n. 55. 78. For a commentary on Orme’s dissertation that places it in the wider context of British political and social thought on the Mughal Empire, see Robert Travers, Ideology and Empire in Eighteenth-Century India: The British in Bengal (Cambridge, 2007), 58–59. 79. Robert Orme, A History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan, from the Year 1745, vol. 1 (London, 1763), 7–8. 80. Quoted in Sir George Forrest, The Life of Lord Clive, vol. 2 (London, 1918), 256–257. 81. Quoted in Forrest, 2:257. 82. Mark Bence-Jones, Clive of India (London, 1974), 211–215. 83. Robert Clive to Robert Orme, 5 February 1766, BL, Additional MS. 44,061, f. 11r. 84. Quoted in John Malcolm, The Life of Robert, Lord Clive, vol. 2 (London, 1836), 322.

notes to pages 191–203

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85. Quoted in Forrest, The Life of Lord Clive, 2:257. 86. Robert Clive to George Grenville, 30 September 1765, BL, Microfilm, RP/460, 1 [Letter 24]. 87. Lord Clive to George Grenville, 3 February 1766, BL, Additional MS. 42,084, ff. 9r–10r. 88. George Grenville to Robert Clive, 22 November 1766, BL, Additional MS. 42,084, f. 213v. 89. Robert Clive to the Directors of the East India Company, 30 September 1765, in Fort William–India House Correspondence and Other Contemporary Papers Relating Thereto (Public Series), vol. 4: 1764–1766, ed. C. S. Srinivasachari (Delhi, 1962), 21 and 34. 90. Bence-Jones, Clive of India, 226–239. 91. George Grenville to Robert Clive, 22 November 1766, BL, Additional MS. 42,084, ff. 213r–214r. 92. Robert Clive to Richard Clive, 25 September 1765, BL, Additional MS. 32,970, f. 71r. 93. The moderate Rockingham Whigs offered a “middle way” in politics, seeking to steer clear of the Scylla of conservative-reactionary New Toryism and the Charybdis of radical Whiggism. During the 1760s and 1770s, they were increasingly marginalized amid the political conflict between New Tories and radical Whigs. The Rockingham Whigs, and their spell in power from 1765 to 1766, cannot be adequately discussed here. 94. For an overview of this process, see Thomas, George III, 125–144. 95. Robert Orme to Colonel Richard Smith, 1 February 1766, BL, Oriental and India Office Collections, India Office Library, Private Papers, Orme MS., O.V. 222, 122. 96. For example, see Thomas Pownall, The Right, Interest, and Duty, of Government, as Concerned in the Affairs of the East Indies (London, 1773). 97. Anon., The Nature of a Quarantine, as it is Performed in Italy; to Guard Against that Very Alarming and Dreadful Contagious Distemper (London, 1767), vii-viii. 98. William Bolts, Considerations on India Affairs; Particularly Respecting the Present State of the Bengal Dependencies, etc. (London, 1772), 221–222. 99. Bolts, 219–220. CHAPTER 6. THE TRIUMPH OF THE NEW TORYISM AND THE SPIRIT OF THE SECOND BRITISH EMPIRE

1. Address to the Earl of Shelburne by Maurice Morgann, October 1766, “Advice on Shelburne’s party image, opinion critical of the Privy Council’s embargo on the exportation of corn,” William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor [WLCL], Shelburne Papers, vol. 168, f. 2v. 2. Address to the Earl of Shelburne by Maurice Morgann, 1766, ff. 4v–5v. 3. The Earl of Chatham to the Duke of Grafton, August 1766, in Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, K. G., ed. Sir William R. Anson (London, 1898), 102. 4. John Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 1766–1768 (London, 1956), 72.

288

notes to pages 203–209

5. For the traditional Namierite interpretation of this parliamentary inquiry, see Lucy Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics (Oxford, 1952), 140–176. 6. Beckford was not a member of the ministry but was serving as an MP for London. The fact that Pitt chose Beckford rather than a cabinet member to introduce the ministry’s East India motions in the House of Commons is important, and it is not adequately addressed in the existing historiography on the EIC during this crucial period. 7. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 74. 8. George Grenville to Lord Temple, 21 September 1766, British Library [BL], Additional MS. 42,084, f. 182v. 9. MS. given to the Earl of Shelburne by Maurice Morgann, 1766, “Paper considering problems facing England in political divisions in Parliament; Scotland, Ireland, India and America, West Indies; incomplete, beginning of discussion of Europe,” WLCL, Shelburne Papers, vol. 168, f. 1r. 10. MS. given to the Earl of Shelburne by Maurice Morgann, 1766, ff. 5r-v. 11. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 73. 12. While Pitt believed that the Company’s territorial dominion by right belonged to the Crown—that is, that a commercial company could not possess extensive territory—it is not clear what he intended to do on the basis of this right. Many historians conclude that Pitt simply intended to allow the EIC to remain in control of Bengal in return for a portion of the territorial revenue collected by the corporation. 13. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 90. 14. Brooke, 76–78. 15. Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 109. 16. The Earl of Chatham to the Duke of Grafton, 7 December 1766, in Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 110–111. 17. Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 110. 18. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 76–79. 19. Brooke, 87–88. 20. The Earl of Chatham to the Duke of Grafton, 10 January 1767, in Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 111–112. 21. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 91. 22. The Earl of Chatham to the Duke of Grafton, 23 January 1767, in Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 113–114. 23. The Earl of Chatham to the Duke of Grafton, 9 February 1767, in Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 116–117. 24. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 91–92 and 110–111. 25. William Beckford to the Earl of Chatham, 27 January 1767, in Correspondence of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, vol. 3, ed. William Stanhope Taylor and Captain John Henry Pringle (London, 1839), 177. 26. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 111–112.

notes to pages 209–219

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27. Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 124–125. 28. Brooke, The Chatham Administration, 116. 29. Brooke, 116. 30. George Rudé, Wilkes and Liberty: A Social Study of 1763 to 1774 (Oxford, 1962), 57–89. 31. John Brewer, Party Ideology and Popular Politics at the Accession of George III (Cambridge, 1976), 163–200. 32. Brewer, 22. 33. Rudé, Wilkes and Liberty, 90. 34. Commons Speech of Mr. Grenville, 19 May 1768, BL, Egerton MS. 215, ff. 121–122. 35. Autobiography and Political Correspondence of Augustus Henry, Third Duke of Grafton, 188–189. 36. Commons Speech of Alderman Beckford, 14 May 1768, BL, Egerton MS. 215, f. 27. 37. E. P. Thompson, Customs in Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture (New York, 1993), 93. 38. “Report on the striking shipwrights at Woolwich and progress of American agents in persuading them to go to New York,” 19 August 1775, WLCL, Rosslyn MS., Wedderburn Papers, vol. 2: 9, ff. 1r–2r. 39. Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, CT, 1992), 131–132. 40. Mark Bence-Jones, Clive of India (London, 1974), 270–271. 41. Bence-Jones, 280. 42. Quoted in Bence-Jones, 283. 43. Quoted in Bence-Jones, 288. 44. Thomas Hutchinson to the Earl of Dartmouth, 15 November 1773, WLCL, Rosslyn MS., Wedderburn Papers, vol. 2: 24, ff. 1r-v. 45. John Montagu [Rear Admiral] to Philip Stephens [Secretary of the Admiralty], 8 December 1773, WLCL, Rosslyn MS., Wedderburn Papers, vol. 2: 30, f. 1r. 46. P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism, 1688–2000 (London, 2002), 279. 47. Cain and Hopkins, 279–280. 48. William Knox, The Present State of the Nation (London, 1768), 39–41. 49. In recent decades, imperial British and South Asian historians have demonstrated the degree to which early British imperial rule relied on fiscal-military institutions developed in post-Mughal successor kingdoms. 50. C. A. Bayly, “The First Age of Global Imperialism, c. 1760–1830,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 26, no. 2 (1998): 34. 51. K. N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge, 1985), 93–94. 52. Robert Orme, A History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan, from the Year 1745, vol. 2 (London, 1778), 4. 53. P. J. Marshall, Problems of Empire: Britain and India, 1757–1813 (London, 1968), 84. 54. H. V. Bowen, “Investment and Empire in the Later Eighteenth Century: East India Stockholding, 1756–1791,” Economic History Review, n.s., 42, no. 2 (1989): 186–206.

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notes to pages 220–224

55. P. G. M. Dickson, The Financial Revolution in England: A Study in the Development of Public Credit, 1688–1756 (New York, 1967). 56. The Company’s integration into these financial, bureaucratic, and political arrangements took place during the first half of the eighteenth century. Sutherland, The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics, 14–48. In 1708/1709, the EIC lent its entire capital stock of £3.2 million to the government. While the Company could, with state sanction, acquire capital through greater shareholder investments in an expanded stock, its extensive business operations and administration required additional sources of investment. It thus began to raise trading capital by issuing shortterm bonds at low rates of interest. During the first half of the eighteenth century, the EIC’s stocks and bonds flourished on London’s financial market. 57. Cain and Hopkins, British Imperialism, 279. 58. The expansion of the tea trade to China in the wake of the diwani grant was a particularly important element in these processes of commercial reorientation. For more on this, see H. V. Bowen, “Tea, Tribute and the East India Company, c. 1750-c. 1775,” in Hanoverian Britain and Empire: Essays in Memory of Philip Lawson, ed. Stephen Taylor, Richard Connors, and Clyve Jones (Woodbridge, UK, 1998), 158–176. 59. Sir Henry Cavendish’s Debates of the House of Commons, during the Thirteenth Parliament of Great Britain, etc., vol. 1: 10 May 1768–3 May 1770, ed. J. Wright (London, 1841), 265. 60. Thomas Pownall, The Right, Interest, and Duty, of Government, as Concerned in the Affairs of the East Indies (London, 1773), 4. 61. Eyre Coote to Charles Smith, 6 July 1781, Center for Kentish Studies, Roper MS., U498 02/1, f. 4r. 62. This concept is Robert Brenner’s. For its use in the context of the mid-seventeenthcentury English Revolution, see Robert Brenner, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Traders, 1550–1653 (London, 2003), 670. 63. Cain and Hopkins, British Imperialism, 278–284. 64. P. J. Marshall, “ ‘A Free though Conquering People’: Britain and Asia in the Eighteenth Century,” in P. J. Marshall, ‘A Free though Conquering People’: Eighteenth-Century Britain and Its Empire (Aldershot, UK, 2003), 13. 65. Pitt Lethieullier to Thomas Lord Pelham, 1 January 1773, BL, Additional MS. 33,441, ff. 24v–25r. 66. Charles Grave Hudson to Thomas Lord Pelham, [1773/4], BL, Additional MS. 33,441, f. 29v. 67. The usefulness of such “colonial patronage” for the maintenance of the oligarchic state is one of the many insights of Cain and Hopkins’s interpretation of British imperialism. Cain and Hopkins, British Imperialism (quotation, 96). 68. In this paragraph and the next two, I draw heavily from: Holden Furber, John Company At Work: A Study of European Expansion in India in the Late Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, MA, 1951); Cain and Hopkins, British Imperialism, 275–284. 69. Furber, John Company At Work, 28–29. 70. Cavendish’s Debates of the House of Commons, 1:267.

notes to pages 224–228

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71. Cavendish’s Debates of the House of Commons, 1:266–267. “I could have wished that some step had been taken, upon this occasion, to secure our possessions,” Grenville asserted, “but not a single word has been said upon the subject, though those possessions are subjected to all the dangers so emphatically painted by the noble lord [Clive]” (quotation, 267). 72. David Washbrook, “India, 1818–1860: The Two Faces of Colonialism,” in The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3: The Nineteenth Century, ed. Andrew Porter (Oxford, 1999), 401. 73. The Second Empire abandoned the local representative institutions and lax economic regulations that characterized British overseas expansion up until the mid-eighteenth century in favor of new forms of imperial governance. As C. A. Bayly argues, the British dominions acquired in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century were ruled by “a form of aristocratic military government supporting a viceregal autocracy” that was characterized “by a well developed imperial style which emphasized hierarchy and racial subordination.” Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World, 1780–1830 (New York, 1989), 8–9. Important elements of this imperial style were already present in Clive’s second governorship of Bengal from 1765 to 1767. 74. It should be noted that the Dutch East India Company underwent an earlier imperial transformation, acquiring and expanding a territorial dominion in Java over the course of various military and commercial conflicts between the 1640s and the 1750s. 75. Ralph A. Austen, “The Road to Postcoloniality: European Overseas Expansion, Global Capitalism and the Transformation of Africa, the Caribbean and India,” unpublished paper. 76. Ralph A. Austen, “Market Integration through Peasantisation: The Economic Transformation of Africa, the Caribbean and India under Modern Colonialism,” unpublished paper. 77. Josiah Tucker, The Case of Going to War, for the Sake of Procuring, Enlarging, or Securing of Trade, Considered in a New Light. Being a Fragment of a Greater Work (London, 1763), 12, 19, and 41. 78. Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 5 March 1772, in Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. 23, ed. W. S. Lewis, Warren Hunting Smith, and George L. Lam (New Haven, CT, 1967), 387; Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 9 April 1772, in Walpole’s Correspondence, 23:400. 79. Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 12 February 1772, in Walpole’s Correspondence, 23: 379–382; Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 29 May 1773, in Walpole’s Correspondence, 23:483–485; Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 8 June 1773, in Walpole’s Correspondence, 23: 485–487; Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, 30 March 1781, in Walpole’s Correspondence, vol. 25, ed. W. S. Lewis, Warren Hunting Smith, and George L. Lam (New Haven, CT, 1971), 140–143. 80. Commons Speech of George Dempster, 27 October 1775, in Proceedings and Debates of the British Parliaments Respecting North America, vol. 6, ed. R. C. Simmons and P. D. G. Thomas (White Plains, NY, 1987), 140. 81. Thomas Paine, “Reflections on the Life and Death of Lord Clive,” in The Complete Writings of Thomas Paine, vol. 2, ed. Philip S. Foner (New York, 1945), 23–24.

292

notes to pages 228–241

82. The Alarm, 9 October 1773, no. 2. 83. The Alarm, 6 October 1773, no. 1. 84. Arthur M. Schlesinger, “The Uprising Against the East India Company,” Political Science Quarterly 32, no. 1 (1917): 60–79. 85. Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, Common Sense, and Other Political Writings, ed. Mark Philip (Oxford, 1995), 320. 86. Bartholomew Burges, A Series of Indostan Letters (New York, 1790), xxiv-xxv. 87. Robert E. Toohey, Liberty and Empire: British Radical Solutions to the American Problem, 1774–1776 (Lexington, KY, 1978). 88. Simon Schama, A History of Britain, vol. 2: The Wars of the British, 1603–1776 (New York, 2001), 524. 89. P. J. Marshall, The Making and Unmaking of Empires: Britain, India, and America, c. 1750–1783 (Oxford, 2005), 197. 90. The fact that the Company’s early imperial state in India was a model for the subsequent political-economic development of the British Empire in Asia and Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth century is acknowledged in recent historiography. For example, see Kavita Saraswathi Datla, “The Origins of Indirect Rule in India: Hyderabad and the British Imperial Order,” Law and History Review 33, no. 2 (2015): 321–350. Datla’s important conclusions regarding the consolidation of an economically extractive and military-driven British empire in India complement the conclusions presented here regarding the relationship between the victory of New Tory politics and political economy in Britain and the shift to the Second British Empire. E PI LO G U E

1. Lynn Hunt, ed., The French Revolution and Human Rights: A Brief Documentary History (Boston, 1996), 51–52 (quotation included). 2. Jonathan I. Israel, Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750–1790 (Oxford, 2011), 420. 3. Israel, 428–429 and 436–438. 4. Hunt, The French Revolution and Human Rights, 52. 5. Israel, Democratic Enlightenment, 420. 6. The Abbé Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies, vol. 1, trans. J. Justamond (London, 1776), 1–2. 7. Raynal, 3. 8. Raynal, 7–8 and 5. 9. Raynal, 4–5. 10. Israel, Democratic Enlightenment, 414–442. 11. Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History, 7 and 2. 12. C. A. Bayly, Imperial Meridian: The British Empire and the World, 1780–1830 (London, 1989). 13. Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875–1914 (New York, 1989), 56–83. 14. Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History, 347–348. 15. Raynal, 359.

notes to pages 242–247 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

Raynal, 360. Raynal, 366–367. Raynal, 379–380. Raynal, 365. Raynal, 365. Raynal, 363 and 381. Raynal, 380.

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Index

Anderson, Fred, 116 Anderson, Perry, 23 Armitage, David, 41 Aurangzeb (Emperor), 278n85 Austen, Ralph, 225

absolutism: and Enlightenment philosophy, 236; in France, 27–28, 30, 84; and Glorious Revolution, 9, 13–16, 26–27; of Stuart monarchy, 13–14, 30, 34, 43, 72, 79, 167, 226; and Whig Party, 113–114, 231 Act of Settlement (1701), 27 Act of Trade (1650), 22 Addison, Joseph, 39 African slave trade and labor, 29, 34, 38–39, 256n64 Albemarle, Earl of, 83 Alivardi Khan, 89, 90 Almon, John, 59, 65, 181 American colonies: loss of, 116, 257n71; and New Toryism, 196; and radical Whigs, 227; Salutary Neglect system in, 45, 116, 135, 186; smuggling in, 135, 180, 183, 285n54; taxation of, 226; tea importation by EIC, 215; and War for American Independence, 213, 228, 229, 230. See also British North America Amyand, George, 140

Bank of England, 27, 31, 78, 132, 133, 265n98 Barnard, John, 31, 78, 80, 84 Barré, Isaac, 209 Barrington, Lord, 54, 59 Baugh, Daniel, 22, 38, 64, 258n80 Bayly, C. A., 2, 6, 291n73 Beckford, Richard, 67 Beckford, William: on Clive, 273n115; on commercial expansion, 104–105, 113; EIC inquiry conducted by, 204–209, 288n6; on Pitt’s war effort against France, 63, 65; political radicalism of, 70–71, 75, 80, 84, 104, 105; and Treaty of Paris, 123; on workers’ strikes, 212 Bedford, Duke of, 117, 149, 176 Bellot, Leland, 184 Bence-Jones, Mark, 106–107

295

296

index

Bengal: and Anglo-French global warfare, 90; British trade in, 93; Company State in, 35, 36; diwani granted to EIC for, 1, 8, 153–164, 194–197; EIC conquest of, 149–164, 226, 252n37; famine (1769), 213; Plassey Revolution (1757), 88–127; political economy in, 246; textile manufacturing in, 250n8. See also East India Company Bengal Club, 107 Bihar, 1, 88, 153 Black, Jeremy, 253n14 Blake, Robert, 22 Bolingbroke, Viscount, 32, 47, 56 Bolts, William, 198–199 Bombay, 29, 158 Boston Tea Party (1773), 229 Boulton, Henry Crabb, 120 Bourbon France: absolutism in, 27, 30, 52; as geopolitical rival, 37, 258n80; and Patriot coalition, 93; and Pitt, 63; and Seven Years’ War, 112; war against, 14, 33, 51, 59; Whig foreign policy influenced by, 263n46 bourgeois society: and capitalism, 15; in England, 13, 19, 42; and landed elite, 167; and Marxism, 265n87; and New Toryism, 187, 197, 200; and oligarchic order, 45, 167, 187; radicalism in, 15, 50–87 Bowen, H. V., 10, 11 Breen, T. H., 257n72 Brenner, Robert, 19, 21, 22, 72, 290n62 Brewer, John, 57, 58, 70, 71, 73, 211 bribery, 160, 161, 280n111 British East India Company. See East India Company British Empire. See First British Empire; Second British Empire British North America: administration of, 150, 243; and New Toryism, 196; and Patriot coalition, 81; and radical Whigs, 210; resistance movement in, 185, 212–213; Salutary Neglect system

in, 45, 116, 135, 186; smuggling and illegal trade in, 135, 182; taxation in, 196; troops stationed in, 182–184. See also American colonies Brooke, John, 10, 203, 205, 208, 209–210 Brown, John, 178–179 bullion. See gold Burdwan, 96 Burges, Bartholomew, 228–229 Burgh, James, 229 Burgoyne, John, 214 Burke, Edmund, 1, 164, 214, 220 Bute, Earl of: and Clive, 121, 123–124; and EIC election (1763), 126, 273n130; and EIC management, 110; EIC negotiations with, 271n83; and national debt, 285n60; and New Toryism, 104, 175, 176, 180, 181; and oligarchic order, 127, 272n90; and Patriot coalition, 174; and political radicalism, 69, 114, 264n62; resignation of, 131; Sulivan’s relationship with, 107, 119, 120, 124, 125, 126; and Treaty of Paris, 66–67, 115, 117, 118, 124, 127, 181, 285n63; and Whig Party, 169 Buxar, Battle of (1764), 140, 155 Byng, John, 53 Cain, P. J., 217, 220, 290n67 Calcutta: Clive regaining control of, 87, 102; EIC fortified settlement in, 29, 89, 92, 95; Siraj-ud-daula invasion of, 90, 94, 153 Calcutta council, 148–149, 151–152 Campbell, John, 40 capitalist political economy, 14–15, 41– 42, 72, 112–113, 238, 280n111 Chaloner, Thomas, 22 Chanda Sahib, 102 Chandernagore, 91, 102 Charles I (England), 20, 21, 22, 254n25 Charles II (England), 13, 24, 26, 29, 254n25

index Charles III (Spain), 64 Chatham, Earl of. See Pitt, William, the Elder China, British trade with, 29, 158, 290n58 Chittagong, 96 Christie, Ian, 283n22 Churchill, Winston, 52 Church of England, 47 civil society, 74, 235–236, 241–244, 246 Clark, Dora Mae, 185 Clive, Richard, 195 Clive, Robert, Baron of Plassey: Bengal governorship, 35, 92, 149–164, 291n73; and bullion exports, 279n98; and commercial expansionism, 280n111; and diwani acquisition, 1–2, 7–8, 109, 153–164, 194–197, 251n24; and EIC election (1764), 139–147; elected MP, 103; and jagir grant, 131–132, 136–137, 186, 275n28; and metropolitan dynamics, 115; military successes of, 87, 91, 101–102, 249n3; and New Toryism, 186–197, 201; and Plassey Revolution, 88–127; popularity of, 102, 107, 283n23; resignation of governorship (1759), 95–96, 106; and Rous, 122, 124–125, 126; and Scrafton, 270n61; Sulivan’s rivalry with, 108– 110, 111, 120–122; takeover of EIC, 131–149; and territorial expansion in Bengal, 98 coercion, 35–38, 244, 250n7, 256n64 Coja Wajid, 90 Colley, Linda, 42, 62 colonial patronage, 290n67 commerce. See global commercial society; universal commerce commodities: and capitalism, 73–74; EIC monopolies on, 163, 194; and manufacturing, 4; and New Tory political economy, 227; prices for, 132; taxes on, 70; trade networks for, 13, 19, 25, 34, 36, 41. See also specific commodities

297

Commonwealth regime (1649–1653), 19, 21–22, 23 Company agents: Clive supported by, 122–123; private trading and profiteering by, 88–89, 160–162, 240, 267n1, 280n111; in Scottish trading networks, 268n21; support for territorial expansion, 101, 122–123 conservative-reactionary forces, 12, 15–16, 114, 165, 175 Convoy Act, 22 Conway, Henry, 201, 206–209 Coote, Eyre, 86, 96, 221 Coromandel Coast, 90, 93, 240 corruption, 57, 61, 70–72, 161, 163, 175– 177, 183, 197, 208 cotton, 94, 158, 218, 279n97 Council of Trade, 22 Court of Directors (East India Company): and Clive’s jagir grant, 275n28; election (1762), 271n84; election (1763), 114, 116–117, 124, 125, 126, 273n126, 273n130; election (1764), 138, 139–147; election (1765), 147; and private profiteering by EIC agents, 89; Rous-Clive control of, 131–149, 152; Sulivan’s control of, 95–99, 102, 106– 110, 119, 122, 271n84 Court of Proprietors (East India Company), 110, 125, 143 Court Whigs, 44 credit markets: EIC role in, 8, 95, 97, 132–133, 137, 188–189, 223, 224, 290n56; and fiscal-military state, 15, 132, 135–136; and landed elite, 14–15, 27, 33, 113; and political radicalism, 57, 58, 60; and Seven Years’ War, 132 Cromwell, Oliver, 21, 23, 25, 254n22 customs taxes, 69–70 dadni (money in advance of production), 88 dalals (indigenous brokers), 88 D’Ameida, Jenoniah, 228

298

index

dastaks (trading exemptions), 88–89, 99, 267n1 Datla, Kavita Saraswathi, 292n90 Declaratory Act (1766), 186, 196 Defoe, Daniel, 43 Dempster, George, 123, 152 Devonshire, Duke of, 54 Dickinson, H. T., 255n44 Diderot, Denis, 232, 236, 238 direct rule, 39 Diwan (financial administrator), 1, 192, 278n85 diwani granted to EIC, 1, 153–164, 191– 197, 278n85 Dorrien, John, 117, 137 Draper, William, 86, 149 Dupleix, Joseph François, 82, 101, 121 Dutch East India Company, 29, 270n65, 291n74 Dutch Revolt (c. 1568–1648), 236 East India Company (EIC): administrative and military expenditures, 213, 216–217, 219; and Beckford, 204; Bengal conquest, 149– 164, 226, 252n37; credit markets role, 8, 95, 97, 132–133, 137, 188–189, 223, 224, 290n56; directors of, 265n98; election (1762), 271n84; election (1763), 114, 116–117, 124, 125, 126, 273n126, 273n130; election (1764), 138, 139–147; election (1765), 147; Enlightenment philosophy on, 232– 249; expansionist ideology of, 104; fortification and garrison costs incurred by, 94–95; London role of, 8; and metropolitan dynamics, 170–171; as model for imperial expansion in Asia, 292n90; and New Toryism, 186– 197; and North administration, 214; and political radicalism, 50–87; and public finance, 290n56; and Regulating Act (1773), 216; as sovereign authority, 6, 178, 190, 199,

218; and Stuart monarchy, 24; and tea trade, 214–215; and textile manufacturing, 250n8; and Whig Supremacy, 28–49. See also Company agents; shareholders of EIC Egmont, Earl of, 173, 283n28 Egremont, Earl of, 115–118, 131, 174, 176, 180 EIC. See East India Company Eley, Geoff, 168 elites. See landed elite; oligarchic order Elizabeth I, 20, 36 “empire of liberty”: and Enlightenment philosophy, 245–246; and First British Empire, 33–35; and New Toryism, 194, 197–198, 200; Pitt’s campaign to expand, 112–113; and political radicalism, 12–16, 55, 61, 68, 75, 82–83, 86; and Second British Empire, 150, 194, 197–198, 200, 213, 217, 228–229; and Whig Party, 30 Enlightenment, 232–234, 236, 239–247 Excise Crisis (1733), 173 excise taxes, 69–70, 113, 134–135, 173, 271n80 Exclusion Crisis (1679–1681), 41 Ferdinand of Brunswick, 61, 63 Fife, Earl of, 181 First Anglo-Mughal War (1686–1690), 25 First British Empire: Atlantic focus of, 2, 34; consolidation of, 26–40; and EIC, 88–127; and political radicalism, 50– 87; and Whig Supremacy, 19–49. See also American colonies; British North America; radicalism; Whig Party fiscal-military state: and capitalist political economy, 15, 113–115; and credit markets, 132; EIC as crucial component of, 6, 8, 28, 133, 158, 188, 217–218, 224; and First British Empire, 39, 42, 44, 46; in Mughal Empire, 90, 93, 96, 289n49; and New Toryism, 174, 182, 184, 188–189; and

index political radicalism, 52, 64, 66, 74, 78, 85; and Seven Years’ War, 10 Forde, Francis, 92 Fort William Council, 154, 155 Fox, Henry, 85, 118, 126, 146 France: Anglo-French rivalry, 7, 27; British global warfare with, 112; geopolitical ambitions in South Asia, 188; and Hanoverian foreign policy, 258n80; New World imperialism of, 47, 49, 56, 182; Prussia’s conflict with, 61; radicalism in, 9; and Treaty of Paris, 117. See also Bourbon France; French East India Company; Seven Years’ War Franklin, Benjamin, 229 Frederick the Great, 61 French East India Company, 6, 81, 115, 117–118, 121, 153 French Revolution (1789), 9 Furber, Holden, 223 General Court (East India Company), 141–143, 144, 148 George II (England), 41, 53, 54, 56, 62, 66 George III (England): accession of, 9; and EIC management, 126; imperial reaction at accession of, 165–200; and national debt, 285n60; and New Toryism, 166–167, 175, 176, 180, 196, 203; and oligarchic order, 124, 272n90; and Patriot coalition, 104, 174; and political radicalism, 55, 59, 66, 69, 71, 77, 114, 264n62; and Seven Years’ War, 115, 134; and Treaty of Paris, 134; and War for American Independence, 213; and Whig Party, 118, 169 global commercial society, 235–237 Glorious Revolution (1688–1689), 14, 26, 42, 52, 112. See also Revolution Settlement Glover, Robert, 140

299

gold, 96–97, 158, 218, 256n65, 279n98 Gordon, John, 174 Gordon, Robert, 57 Gosling, Francis, 142, 143 Grafton, Duke of, 201, 203, 206–208, 210, 212 Grenville, George: Clive’s alliance with, 137–138, 151, 171, 188; and EIC election (1764), 109–110, 116, 131, 133–134, 136, 140, 141; and excise taxes, 134–135; and New Toryism, 170–172, 175–176, 180– 185, 189, 194–195, 201, 203, 207, 210, 283n23, 291n71; and Patriot coalition, 104, 174; and political radicalism, 114– 115; on remittances from India, 223– 224; and Treaty of Paris, 285n63; on workers’ strikes and protests, 211–212 Guadeloupe, 61, 67 Halifax: Earl of, 115–116, 131, 174, 180, 184; Marquis of, 39 Hanoverian Succession (1714), 27, 45– 46, 93 Hardwicke, Earl of, 91, 92, 169 Harlow, Vincent T., 3, 257n68 Harris, Bob, 55 Hastings, Warren, 159, 279n106 haute bourgeoisie, 45, 47, 58–59, 70 Hill, Christopher, 23 Hobsbawm, Eric, 41 Holdernesse, Earl of, 53, 83, 176 Hopkins, A. G., 217, 220, 290n67 Hotblack, Kate, 63 Hunt, Lynn, 233 Hutchinson, Thomas, 215 Hyder Ali, 221 indigenous peoples, 34, 88–89, 187, 256n64 industrialization, 3–4, 238, 247 Intolerable Acts (1774), 215 Israel, Jonathan, 232 Jacobitism, 27, 30, 44, 47, 166

300

index

Jagat Seth family, 91 Jamaica, 23, 29 James I (England), 20 James II (England), 13–14, 23–24, 26, 254n25 Jasanoff, Maya, 251n24 Jefferson, Thomas, 229 Jenkinson, Charles, 132, 140, 141, 146, 148, 174 Johnson, Samuel, 178 Johnstone, George, 123, 152, 272n111 Johnstone, John, 103–104, 123, 141, 151, 163, 270n47, 272n111 Johnstone, William, 123 King-in-Parliament system, 21, 175, 185– 186 Knox, William, 171, 172, 184, 217 landed elite: and EIC’s imperial state, 149, 216, 221–222; and New Toryism, 167–168, 213, 231; and political radicalism, 56, 68, 70–71, 73, 222; and workers’ strikes and protests, 212 land taxes, 158, 171, 219, 271n80 Lawson, Philip, 10 Lenman, Bruce, 10 Leonard, Spencer, 94 Lethieullier, Pitt, 222 Levellers, 21 Licensing Act (1695), 43 licentiousness, 160, 162–163, 175–183, 189–193, 218, 280n111 Locke, John, 40 Louis XIV (France), 27, 30 Louis XV (France), 48, 53, 62, 64, 68 Luttrell, Henry, 210 luxury goods, 36, 177, 179–180 Lyttelton, George, 52, 60 Madras, 29, 82, 158 manufacturing, 36, 80, 96–97, 245, 269n38, 282n9 Marlborough, Duke of, 27

Marsh, Robert, 140 Marshall, P. J., 4, 5, 7, 10, 221, 229, 250n8, 251n23, 257n71 Martinique, 61, 67 Marx, Karl, 73–74, 265n87, 281n5 Maudit, Israel, 180 McGilvary, George, 86, 97 Mentz, Søren, 93 metropolitan dynamics: and EIC management, 8–9, 110–112; and national debt, 60; and New Toryism, 169–186; and political radicalism, 77– 87; radicalism in, 133–135; in Second British Empire, 12–13 mid-Hanoverian crisis, 10–12 Midnapur, 96 Mir Jafar, 1, 91–92, 96, 105, 140, 153–154, 157, 278n85 Mir Qasim, 96, 98–101, 108–109, 119, 139–141, 147, 154–157, 187–190 Mitchell, Andrew, 52 monopoly power, 20, 22–25, 59, 78–84, 97, 244–245 Montagu, Frederick, 170 Montagu, John, 215 Morgann, Maurice, 202, 205 Mughal Empire: and Bengal administration, 278n85; commercial agreements with, 94; dissolution of, 5, 89, 187–188, 267n6; diwani granted to EIC, 1, 153–164, 191–197, 199, 278n85; successor kingdoms to, 5–6, 267n6 Muhammad Ali Khan, 117, 118 Munro, Hector, 155 Murshid Kuli Khan, 278n85 Namier, Lewis, 9, 10, 166–167, 251nn27– 28 Namierite historiography, 9–10, 109–110, 166–167, 203, 283n22 national debt: and EIC, 28, 78; and Glorious Revolution, 27; and metropolitan dynamics, 60; and New Toryism, 169, 171, 180–182, 188, 191,

index 197–198; and war expenses, 27, 46, 60, 66, 132, 285n60 Native Americans, 256n64 natural rights, 74 naval power, 23, 51, 69, 253n14. See also Royal Navy Navigation Acts (1651, 1660, 1663), 22, 23 Nazim (general administrator), 278n85 Newcastle, Duke of: and Clive, 103; and EIC election (1763), 122; and EIC management, 118, 122; and oligarchic order, 28; and Patriot coalition, 48; and political radicalism, 53–54, 56, 62, 84; and Salutary Neglect policy, 135; and Whig Party, 41, 44–45, 166 New Model Army, 21 New Toryism: and American colonies, 196; and bourgeois society, 187, 197, 200; and British North America, 196; and Bute, 104, 175, 176, 180, 181; and Clive, 186–197, 201; and EIC, 104– 106, 114, 116, 139, 142, 153; and “empire of liberty,” 194, 197–198, 200; and fiscal-military state, 174, 182, 184, 188– 189; and George III, 175, 176, 180, 196, 203; and Grenville, 170–172, 175–176, 180–185, 189, 194–195, 201, 203, 207, 210, 283n23, 291n71; and landed elite, 167–168, 213, 231; and metropolitan dynamics, 169–186; and national debt, 169, 171, 180–182, 188, 191, 197–198; and oligarchic order, 16, 168, 175, 189, 191, 196, 200, 201–204, 216, 230; and Patriot coalition, 175; and Pitt, 201, 203, 204, 206; and radical Whigs, 116, 175, 178, 196, 200, 201, 203, 227; rise of, 165–200; and taxes, 169, 171–172, 214–215, 219; triumph of, 201–231; and Whig Party, 176–177 Nichol, J. D., 268n18 nizamat (general administration), 278n85 North, Lord, 212–213, 214, 216, 247 North America. See British North America

301

Northumberland, Duchess of, 102–103 Nugent, Robert, 79 O’Brien, Patrick K., 36 O’Gorman, Frank, 43, 61 Old Colonial System, 36 oligarchic order: and bourgeois society, 45, 56–59, 65, 75, 78–79, 82, 167, 187; and colonial patronage, 290n67; and EIC management, 100–101, 107, 114– 118, 124–127, 216; and George III, 272n90; and Glorious Revolution, 14; and New Toryism, 16, 168, 175, 189, 191, 196, 200, 201–204, 216, 230; and radical Whigs, 211; and rentier business elites, 25, 64, 79, 159; and urban middling sort, 58, 62–68, 71, 113, 133, 173–174, 211; and Whig Party, 27–28, 33, 45–47 Oliver, Peter, 135 Orissa: diwani granted to EIC for, 1, 153; EIC in, 88 Orme, Robert, 83, 89, 121, 187–188, 196, 218, 270n65 Paine, Thomas, 227–228 Parliament: and American colonies, 186; and EIC management, 224–225, 246– 247; and George III, 167; and Glorious Revolution, 26; and New Toryism, 170; Rump Parliament, 21, 22; and Stuart monarchy, 21, 254n25; Whigs in, 13–14; Wilkes’s election and expulsion, 210–211. See also specific political factions Parry, J. H., 26 Patriot coalition: and EIC, 79, 80–81, 83–84, 99; and expansion of commercial society, 59, 168; and New Toryism, 175; and Pitt, 56; and Plassey Revolution, 142; and political representation, 71; and radical Whigs, 47–48, 53–54, 58; and Seven Years’ War, 55; Tory wing of, 56–57

302

index

patronage system, 47, 73, 110, 217 Pelham, Henry, 28, 41, 44, 45, 54, 135, 166 Perkin, Harold, 42 Peters, Marie, 37, 258n80 Petrus, Cojah, 228 Philips, C. H., 121 Phillips, John, 84 Phoenician trading and maritime communities, 234 Pincus, Steve, 254n22 Pitt, William, the Elder (later Earl of Chatham): ascent of, 53–54, 56; and Beckford, 288n6; and Clive, 103, 123; on Clive, 103, 249n3, 273n115; economic warfare waged by, 264n59; and EIC management, 207, 208, 209, 288n12; EIC support from, 86; and foreign policy, 258n80; and New Toryism, 201, 203, 204, 206; popularity of, 62–63, 261n11; and radical Whigs, 174; and Seven Years’ War, 55, 112, 172; and Shelburne, 137; and Sulivan, 107; and tax protests, 176; and trade expansion, 269n38 plantation economy, 38 Plassey Revolution (1757), 7, 87, 88–127, 251n24 plebeian discontent, 43–45, 166–169, 202, 211–213 Plumb, J. H., 29, 65, 124, 252n30 political economy: after Glorious Revolution, 32–33; in Bengal, 246; and capitalism, 14–15, 41–42, 72, 112– 113, 238, 280n111; and fiscal-military state, 15, 113–115; and New Toryism, 227 political radicalism. See radicalism; radical Whigs political representation, 70–72, 74 Porter, Roy, 260n127 Portland, Duke of, 122 Powell, Martyn, 10 Powis, Earl of, 102

Pownall, Thomas, 220–221 Price, Richard, 229 Priestley, Richard, 229 proletarianization, 238 propaganda, 59, 67, 122–125, 141–142, 146, 180, 187 property rights, 72–74, 94, 112, 243 Prussia, 61, 67 Pulteney, William, 47 Quartering Act (1765), 183 radicalism, 50–87; during Commonwealth period, 21; conservative-reactionary movement against, 12; and EIC management, 14–15; in France, 40; and metropolitan dynamics, 133–135. See also radical Whigs radical Whigs: and Clive’s EIC expansion, 123–124, 150–151, 197–198, 280n111; and commercial expansion, 113, 269n38; and EIC management, 15; emergence of, 169; and New Toryism, 116, 175, 178, 196, 200, 201, 203, 227; and oligarchic order, 71; and Pitt, 181; and Seven Years’ War, 172; and Wilkes, 211 raw materials, 36 Raynal, Abbé, 40, 159, 232–241 Regulating Act (1773), 216 remittances, 223–224 rentier business elites, 25, 64, 79, 159 Revolution Settlement (1688–1689), 14– 15, 27, 30, 44, 46–47, 72, 80, 230 Rockingham, Marquis of, 122, 186, 196, 201, 206, 214 Rockingham Whigs, 287n93 Roman Empire, 235 Rous, Thomas: and EIC election (1763), 108–109, 115, 117, 119, 120, 122–126; and EIC election (1764), 138, 146, 147, 152, 273n126; and EIC management, 190; and Treaty of Paris, 273n125

index royal absolutism. See absolutism Royal Navy, 37, 39, 41, 61, 183 Rudé, George, 31, 71, 211 Rump Parliament, 21, 22 Sack, James, 284n41 Salabat Jang, 117, 118 saltpeter, 158, 279n97 Salutary Neglect system, 45, 116, 135, 186 Salvador, Joseph, 132–135, 140–141, 146– 148, 157 Sandwich, Earl of, 146, 152, 184 Schlesinger, Arthur M., Sr., 228 Scot, Thomas, 19 Scottish trading networks, 123, 152, 268n21 Scrafton, Luke, 104, 142, 270n61 Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780–1784), 221 Second British Empire, 129–248; and EIC conquest of Bengal, 131–164; and New Toryism, 165–200; origins of, 1–2, 3, 12; spirit of, 201–231 Seeley, J. R., 11 Select Committee (East India Company), 149, 152, 160, 162–163, 190 Seven Years’ War (1756–1763): costs of, 10, 171; and credit markets, 132; debt from, 132; and Plassey Revolution, 94–95, 111, 117, 120; and political radicalism, 50–52, 55, 59, 62, 68, 74– 75, 86, 172. See also Treaty of Paris Shah Alam II (Emperor), 1, 109, 139, 155, 156–157, 191, 241 shareholders of EIC: and credit markets, 31; dividends to, 25, 120, 189, 217; and election (1762), 271n84; and election (1763), 114, 116–117, 124, 125, 126, 273n126, 273n130; and election (1764), 138, 139–147; and election (1765), 147; and stock prices, 220 Shelburne, Earl of, 118, 120, 126, 137, 202, 205 Shovlin, John, 263n59

303

Shuja-ud-daula, 139, 155, 156 Shy, John, 26 silk, 94, 158, 218, 279n97 silver, 256n65 Siraj-ud-daula, 1, 84, 87, 90, 91, 94, 153, 278n85 slave trade and labor, 29, 34, 38–39, 256n64 Smith, Adam, 82, 232, 266n103, 280n111 Smith, Richard, 196 Smollett, Tobias, 133, 179 smuggling, 45, 116, 135, 180, 285n54 social hierarchies, 105, 142, 162, 176, 217, 245. See also oligarchic order social imperialism, 217 Society of the Supporters of the Bill of Rights (SSBR), 211 Sons of Liberty, 215, 228 South Sea Company, 31, 78, 265n98 Spain: New World imperialism of, 23, 47, 182; war with, 45, 48, 61, 64, 66 Spencer, John, 142, 143 Stamp Act (1765), 183, 186, 196 staple products, 36. See also commodities Stephens, Philip, 215 Stern, Philip, 256n65 stock-splitting campaign, 125–126 Stuart monarchy: absolutism of, 14, 26, 34, 43, 114, 167, 226; and EIC, 13, 24, 30–31; and Glorious Revolution, 26; imperial political economy of, 19–21, 23–24, 25; and Parliament, 254n25. See also specific rulers sub-imperialist dynamics, 3–12, 109, 191 Sugar Act (1764), 150, 183 Sulivan, Laurence: Clive opposed by, 106–108, 111, 271n68; and EIC election (1763), 115–120, 124–125, 127, 273n130; and EIC election (1764), 131, 136–137, 139–147, 154, 163, 273n126; EIC management by, 86, 95–101, 106– 108, 269n38, 269n41; and Grenville, 188; and metropolitan dynamics, 115

304

index

Sutherland, Lucy, 9, 84, 109, 141, 151, 251n27, 271n83 Swift, Jonathan, 56 taxes: in British North America, 150, 185; EIC collection of, 242; Excise Crisis (1733), 173; excise taxes, 69–70, 113, 134–135, 173, 271n80; land taxes, 158, 171, 219, 271n80; market-based, 168; and New Toryism, 169, 171–172, 214– 215, 219; and Patriot coalition, 48; and political radicalism, 74–75; protests against, 176 tea, 158, 290n58 Tea Act (1773), 214–216, 228 textile industries, 4, 79, 218, 250n8 Thomas, Peter D. G., 10 Thompson, E. P., 54, 167, 213, 281n5 Thomson, Maurice, 22 Tory Party: anti-oligarchic program of, 260n127; and EIC management, 28; and George III, 213; ideological unity of, 255n44; and Patriot coalition, 47, 168. See also New Toryism Townshend, Charles, 170, 186, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 215 Travers, Robert, 100, 105, 252n37, 279n106 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), 48, 82 Treaty of Paris (1763), 52, 66, 108, 115, 126, 134, 271n83, 285n63 Trenchard, John, 57 Trichinopoly, 102 Tucker, Josiah, 225–226 universal commerce, 235, 237–238, 239, 245, 247 urban areas: political culture in, 168; radical Whig ideology in, 73; working class in, 238. See also specific cities urban middling sort, 58, 62–68, 71, 113, 133, 173–174, 211

Vansittart, Henry: Clive’s disdain for, 271n68; EIC management by, 96–101, 106, 108, 119, 127, 139, 145, 154 Vernon, Edward, 48 Voltaire, 37, 39 Wallerstein, Immanuel, 3 Walpole, Horace, 66, 77, 149, 152, 226 Walpole, Robert, 27–30, 37, 41, 44–48, 53–54, 135, 166, 173, 259n95 Walsh, John, 107, 137, 195 War for American Independence, 213, 228, 229, 230 War of the Austrian Succession (1740– 1748), 48, 60, 82, 94, 113, 171 Washbrook, David, 159 Watson, Charles, 91 Watts, William, 90 Wedderburn, Alexander, 146, 175–176, 179 Whately, Thomas, 171, 184 Whig Party: bourgeois society and, 45; and commercial expansion, 30–49, 112; consolidation of power following Glorious Revolution, 14, 26–28; and EIC management, 28, 78; foreign policy dominated by conflict with Bourbon France, 263n46; and George III, 167, 213; ideological unity of, 255n44; and New Toryism, 176–177; and oligarchic order, 272n90; and patronage system, 47; and Pitt, 174; and Seven Years’ War, 172. See also radical Whigs Wilkes, John, 67, 69, 105, 123–125, 134, 137, 170, 180, 210–211 William III (England), 167 Wood, Robert, 117 workers’ strikes and protests, 211–212 world-systems theory, 3, 250n5 Zahedieh, Nuala, 29