October 29, 2007

The History of British India By J Mill in Six volumes 1817 is online

The complete text of The History of British India by J Mill in six volumes is available online on The Online Library of Liberty.

The book was published in 1817 and the online version has used its third edition of 1826 published by Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, London.

Those who are interested in Indian History, must read this book before reading the books by present authors.

I may like to reframe my statement given above. The interested people, who wanted to learn about India, must read the book by J Mill in original before developing any opinion about the historiography of India on the basis of the comments given in other books about the influence of J Mill writings on the periodization of Indian History.

The above book is divided in to six volumes and each volume is called a Book.

The Book 1 is given a peculiar title and it is 1527 – 1707. This book contains five chapters. In the beginning of this book, the author has defined the motive and method of writing the six volumes.

The Chapter 1 studies the coming of the Europeans on Indian Subcontinent. The most fascinating aspect which is discussed in detail is the finding of the American colonies
while struggling to find the path to India to beat the riches being earned by Portugal. While describing the different efforts made by England during the sixteenth century to find a path to India, the author has described the expeditions of Francis Drake in detail. The second person who has found favour with author to get enough words for his work is Thomas Cavendish. Then, going through different aspects, the author reaches the incidence of appointment of Captain James Lancaster who was to command the first ship to India the company named, "The Governor and Company of Merchants of London, trading to the East Indies.

The Chapter 2 studies the development of company in 1612 when it received the formal papers to establish the factory at Surat, Ahmedabad, Cambaya and Goga.

In this chapter, he had undertaken a deep study of the development of the European trade in East Indies and with the activities of the British East India Company as a central theme.

The Chapter 3 studies the development of the British East India from 1632 to 1657.

It is in this chapter, Mill studies the development of the holding of the Company in India or Hindustan as he had used this term for India. During this period, the activity of the company was extended to Golcunda and Pipley in Orissa.

The Chapter 4 studies the development of the company merger with the activities Merchant Adventurers. It contains details about the development in the Mughal Empire which were directly related to the development of the British Company within India.

The Chapter 5 studies the development of the company under the charter of 1711. The chapter covers in detail the development of the circumstances under which the charter of 1711 was granted.

The Book 2 is spread over seven chapters and the title is Of the Hindus. It is worth going through the contents of this book in order to understand the historiography of India, the bias of an invader, the actual views of the Utilitarians, the type of records which would have been maintained in London about India.

As a point of elaboration, I give the titles of all the seven chapters.

The chapter 1 begins with the title "Chronology and Ancient History of the Hindus".

It is begins with the following line.
"Rude Nations seem to derive a peculiar gratification from pretensions to remote antiquity."

The Chronology given in the chapter is not the one as it is given in general books by later authors especially after 1947. The author had taken up the Three Yugas divisions of the Puranic History and there is a tinge or rather quite dominating tone of disdain and ridicule. It seems that there was some conflict between the authorities in London and the Orientalist group which was emerging under the guidance of William Jones.

The Chapter 2 is given the heading "Classification and Distribution of People".

This chapter attracts for the thesis that the Indians were earlier tribal people and latter settled for farming at a fixed place. Now, Marx came on a later date. However, the explanation as given here is so much Marxian in nature that if one does not know the chronology of development of various thoughts, he could conclude that that Mill had read Marx.

The another feature of this chapter is the image that the author had carried for the Priest in the Hindu society. Then, there is an elaboration of the class of Brahmins, Cashtriyas, Vaisya and Sudra. The classification as given by Mill has taken such a strong hold of the intellectual world about the Indian society, that no body has cared to check on his own the actual ground realities. It was only through the essays of people like M. N. Srivastva and other sociologist that the Indian social classification was given a review. The election activities, the issue or reservations etc are now bringing some facts before the general public. But the European world carried this four fold division so rigidly that they never ever developed the right view of the Indian society.

The chapter 3 is "The Form of Government".

The chapter has tried to trace the development or atleast the basis of rule during the pre conquest period in India. The authority which has been quoted is the Law of Manu. The most repeated phrases in the whole chapter are "those rude ideas" and "a rude and ignorant people".

It makes a good reading for the student of politics and the law. One should remember that when Mill was writing those volumes, the world has not learned about the existence of Arthasashtra.

The chapter 4 is "The Law".

It will be pertinent to quote Mill here to understand the development of the British rule towards the Indian law. I quote, "For elucidating this important point (that is the law), in the history of the Hindus, materials are abundant."

For this chapter also, the main source of information is Manu and the translation by Halhed and Colebrooke. Mill has observed in the beginning of the chapter that the availability of the material made the discussion of the subject very wide. Therefore, he suggested that he would deal only with the limited aspects of the law of Hindus. He took the main eighteen basis of law as given by Manu. The elaboration which followed is however, made against the background of the understanding of the law by the author. During the course, he had taken the selective issues which I believe latter became the milestone in interpreting the Indian basis of law. It was openly taken up by the present Dalit political groups like BSP. However, atleast for me, it is quite an exhaustive chapter covering an exhaustive list of issues.

The Chapter 5 is "The Taxes".

While taking up the issue of taxation in India during the ancient time, Mill was made to refer to the major problem faced by the company officials about the issue of deciding the taxes to be taken by the company administration. One must remember that by 1792, the company had already developed their own view about the quantity of tax to be collected from the farmers under the rule of Lord Cornwallis.

The Chapter 6 is "Religion".

Mill has started this paragraph which is till this day considered as truism in case of Indian society and Religion.

He writes, "It is difficult to determine whether the constitution of the government and the provisions of law, or Religion, have, among the Hindus, the greatest influence upon the lives of individuals, and the operations of society."

The contents of the chapter is based on the records deposited by William Jones, Colebrook, H. H. Wilkins etc. This shows that how far the work of Indologists of Bengal Asiastic Society and the Wellington College influenced the framing of the perception of the Company administration in Britain.

The Chapter 7 is "Manner".

The motive of studying this chapter is laid by the author in the very first line of the chapter. He writes, "By the manners of a nation are understood the peculiar modes in which the ordinary business of human life is carried on."

The second observation of great importance is also important. He writes, "So much of the entire business of life, among the Hindus, consists in religious services, that the delineation of their religion is a delineation of the principal branch of their manners." This very point is emphasized by the sociologists. However, while studying the political history from the general book, the student in school and colleges would never learn this truth about the history whereas he may be experiencing it in his or her daily life. It is further emphasized when the communal tensions are developed. But no body asks that how different communities continue to live and interact on economic plane when such tensions are not there?

However, with a glorifying beginning of the chapter, J Mills discuss the behaviour of the higher classes to the lower classes. It is surprising to learn that what kind of material was submitted to the Britain that a person who did not visit India even once for writing the book learned about the negative aspect of the society?

Book IV is spread over nine chapters.

In the first chapter of the book the development of the company from 1708 to 1773 has been studied.

The second chapter has studied the development of the Carnatic wars involving Nabob of Carnatic.

The chapter 3 deals with the relation of the East India Company of Britain with Bengal.

The chapter 4 deals with the third war of Carnatic and establishment of the supreme European trading company in India.

The Chapter 5 deals with the Battle of Buxar and second governorship of Clive.

The Chapter 6 deals with the political activity of Company in Madras Presidency.

The Chapter 7 deals with the second governorship of Clive in Bengal in detail and rising problem of the finance in the Company.

The Chapter 8 deals with the political activity of Company in Madras Presidency and dealing with Hyder Ali in the Anglo Mysore Wars.

The Chapter 9 deals with following issues as per J Mill.
Public opinion in England, Proceedings in the India House, and in Parliament—Plan of Supervisors—Plan of a King’s Commissioner—Increase of pecuniary Difficulties—Dividend raised—Company unable to meet their Obligations—Parliamentary Inquiry—Ministerial Relief—An Act, which changes the Constitution of the Company—Tendency of the Change—Financial and Commercial State

In this chapter one can find an example of best imperialistic tendencies of Britain. It was reflected in the wordings of 1769 Act which conveyed "That the territorial revenues in India should be held by the Company for five years to come; that in consideration of this benefit they should pay into the exchequer 400,000l. every year; that if the revenues allowed, they might increase the dividend, by augmentations not exceeding one per cent. in one year, to twelve and a half per cent.; that if, on the other hand, the dividend should fall below ten per cent., the payment into the exchequer should obtain a proportional reduction, and entirely cease if the dividend should decline to six per cent.; that the Company should, during each year of the term, export British merchandise, exclusive of naval and military stores, to the amount of 380,837l.; and that when they should have paid their simple contract debts bearing interest, and reduced their bonded debt to an equality with their loans to government, they should add to these loans the surplus of their receipts at an interest of two per cent."

In this very chapter, J Mill had touched upon the issue of scandals in the working of the company and the appointment of commissioners to investigate it. It has proved the opinion of R. C. Majumdar, that the British Parliament was interested in the affairs of India since the days of 1757 with imperialistic tendencies.

On the whole, this chapter is worth reading for the people who want to understand the role of Directors and Parliament in deciding the course of activities in India. One should remember that most of the books would suggest that the course of the events in India was much influenced by the personalities and attitudes of the governor generals. However, this is only one side of the coin. The other side can be briefly studied in this chapter.

The Book 5 is covers the period between 1773 and 1784, and covered in two chapters.

Chapter I. This chapter is more marked for discussing the scandals during Warren Hastings. (Kindly note, the word "scandal" is my version and not that of J Mill. Apart from that, the chapter provides the political happenings in India in detail. There seems to be sudden shift in the details.

Chapter II is also about the political activities of the British trading company in India. J Mill gives the following topic which are covered in this chapter.

"Commencement of the New Government—Supreme Council divided into two Parties, of which that of the Governor-General in the Minority—Presidency of Bombay espouse the Cause of Ragoba, an ejected Peshwa—Supreme council condemn this Policy, and make Peace with his Opponents—Situation of the Powers in the Upper Country, Nabob of Oude, Emperor, and Nujeef Khan—Pecuniary Corruption, in which Governor-General seemed to be implicated, in the cases of the Ranee of Burdwan, Phousdar of Hoogley, and Munny Begum—Governor-General resists Inquiry—Nuncomar the great Accuser—He is prosecuted by Governor-General—Accused of Forgery, found guilty, and hanged—Mahomed Reza Khan, and the office of Naib Subah restored."

The Book 6 is spread over thirteen chapters and end with an eye catching statement, "The peace which terminated the war with the Mahrattas, a few months after the period of Lord Wellesley’s administration, is the last great epoch, in the series of British transactions in India. With regard to subsequent events, the official papers, and other sources of information, are not sufficiently at command. Here, therefore, it is necessary that, for the present, this History should close." It also tells that the work ends with the tenure of Wellesley period in 1806.

Chapter I is about Administration of Mr. Macpherson—State of the Government in India, internal, and external—Board of Control pays, without inquiry, the Debts of the Nabob of Arcot—Orders the assignment of the Carnatic Revenues to be given up—Absorbs the Power of the Directors—Lord Cornwallis appointed Governor-General—Commencement of the Proceedings in Parliament relative to the Impeachment of Mr. Hastings—The best Mode of proceeding rejected by the House of Commons—Articles of Charge against Mr. Hastings—Three Bills to amend the East India Act—Proceedings in Parliament relative to the Impeachment of Mr. Hastings—Impeachment voted—Proceedings in Parliament tending to the Impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey—Motion for Impeachment negatived—Mr. Pitt’s declaratory act.

Chapter II is about The Trial of Mr. Hastings.

Chapter III is about Arrangement about troops and money with the Nabob of Oude—The Guntoor Circar obtained from the Nizam, and a new arrangement made with that Prince—Aspect which that arrangement bore to Tippoo Saib—Dispute of Tippoo with the Rajah of Travancore—Tippoo attacks the lines of Travancore—The English prepare for war—Form an alliance with the Nizam, and with the Mahrattas—Plan of the Campaign—General Meadows takes possession of Coimbetore, and establishes a chain of depots to the bottom of the Gujelhutty Pass—Tippoo descends by the Gujelhutty Pass—And compels the English General to return for the Defence of Carnatic—End of the campaign, and arrival of Lord Cornwallis at Madras—Operations in Malabar—A new arrangement with Mahomed Ali, respecting the revenues of Carnatic.

Chapter IV is about Cornwallis takes the Command—Second Campaign begins—Siege of Bangalore—March to Seringapatam—Operations of the Bombay Army—Battle at Arikera between Cornwallis and Tippoo—Army in Distress for Bullocks and Provisions—Obliged to return—Operations of the Mahratta Contingent—Negotiations with Tippoo—Debate in the House of Commons on the War with Tippoo—Preparations for a third Campaign—Reduction of the Fortresses which commanded the Passes into Carnatic, and threatened the Communications—Operations of the Nizam’s Army, and of the Mahratta Contingent, in the Interval between the first and second March upon Seringapatam—Operations of the Bombay Army—Operations of Tippoo—March to Seringapatam—Entrenched Camp of the Enemy stormed before Seringapatam—Preparations for the Siege—Negotiations—Peace—Subsequent Arrangements.

Chapter V is about Lord Cornwallis’s Financial and Judicial Reforms.

Chapter VI is about Result of Lord Cornwallis’s Financial and Judicial Reforms.

Chapter VII of this book is about Proceedings in Parliament relative to the renewal of the Company's Charter in 1793—Sir John Shore succeeds Lord Cornwallis as Governor-General—Relations of the English Government to the Nizam and the Mahrattas—Death of Mhadajee Scindia—War between the Nizam and Mahrattas—Guarantee of the Treaty of Alliance—Death of the Peshwa, and its Effects—Treaty fulfilled by Tippoo, and the Hostages restored—State of Oude—Death of the Nabob of Oude, and Succession of his Son—The young Nabob dethroned by the English on a charge of Spuriousness, and Saadut Ali made Nabob—Affairs at Madras—Death of Mahomed Ali—Lord Hobart endeavours to obtain the Transfer of part of the Nabob's Country—Dispute between Lord Hobart and the Supreme board—Capture of the Dutch Settlements.

Chapter VIII of this book is about Lord Mornington Governor-General—Agents of Tippoo at the Isle of France—Governor-General resolves on immediate War—Import of the Circumstances—Opinions in India—Nizam Ali receives more English Troops and dismisses the French—Unfruitful Negotiations at Poonah—Progression of Governor-General's Demands—War begins—Plan of the Campaign.—March of the Army—Siege of Seringapatam—Alarming Situation of the British Army in regard to Food—Seringapatam taken, and the Sultan killed—Division and Settlement of the conquered Country.

Chapter IX is about Situation of Oude, as left by Lord Teignmouth, highly satisfactory to the home Authorities—Great Changes meditated by Lord Mornington—Extirpation of British Subjects, not in the Service of the Company—Apprehended Invasion of the Afghauns—Endeavour to obtain the Alliance of Scindia—The Idea abandoned—An Embassy to the King of Persia—Insurrection by Vizir Ali—Reform of his military Establishment pressed on the Nabob of Oude—His Reluctance—He proposes to abdicate in favour of his Son—The Governor-General presses him to abdicate in favour of the Company—He refuses—Indignation of the Governor-General—He resorts to coercion on the Reform, which meant, the Annihilation, of the Nabob's military Establishment—The business of the Annihilation judiciously performed—The Vizir alleges the want of Resources for the Maintenance of so great a British Army—From this, the Governor-General infers the Necessity of taking from him the Government of his Country—If the Nabob would not give up the whole of his Country willingly, such a Portion of it as would cover the Expense of the British Army to be taken by Force—This was more than one half—The Vizir to be allowed no independent Power even in the rest—The Vizir desires to go on a Pilgrimage—The Hon. H. Wellesley sent to get from him an appearance of Consent—The Cession of the Portion necessary for the Expense of the Army effected—A Commission for settling the Country with Mr. H. Wellesley at the head—Governor-General makes a Progress through the Country—Transactions between him and the Nabob of Oude—Proposition of the Bhow Begum—Objections of the Court of Directors to the Appointment of Mr. H. Wellesley—Overruled by the Board of Control—Government of Furruckabad assumed by the Company—Settlement of the ceded Districts—Full Approbation of the home Authorities.

Chapter X is about The Nabob of Surat deposed—The Rajah of Tanjore deposed—The Nabob of Arcot deposed.

Chapter XI is about Two sets of Princes, connected with the English; one, whom they made resign both the military, and the civil powers of their government; another, whom they made resign only the military powers—Endeavour to make the Peshwa resign the military part of his government—Negotiations for that purpose from 1798 to 1802—Negotiations with Dowlut Row Scindia for a similar purpose—The dependance of all the Mahratta states expected as the effect of the resignation to the English of the military power of any one of them—Negotiation with Scindia ineffectual—War between Scindia and Holkar—The Peshwa driven from Poona—For the sake of being restored by English arms, the Peshwa consents to the resignation of his military power—A treaty for that purpose signed at Bassein—The Governor-General expects, that the other Mahratta states will not dare to quarrel with the English on account of the treaty of Bassein—Scindia assembles his troops, and marches to the vicinity of Boorhanpore—Persevering attempts to make Scindia execute a treaty similar to that of Bassein—The Peshwa restored—Probability of a war with the Mahratta Princes on account of the treaty of Bassein—Junction of the armies of Scindia and the Rajah of Berar—Scindia and the Rajah required by the English to quit their present menacing position, and replace their armies at their usual stations—Scindia and the Rajah evading compliance, the English regard them as enemies—Arguments by which the Governor-General endeavored to prove that the line of policy which led to this crisis was good—Investigation of those arguments.

Chapter XII is about Objects to which the Operations of the Army in the North were to be directed—Objects to which the Operations of the Army in the South were to be directed—Minor Objects of the War—General Lake takes the Field—History of the French Force in the Service of Scindia, and of his Possessions in the Dooab—History of the Emperor Shah Aulum continued—Battle of Allyghur, and Capture of the Fort—Battle of Delhi, and Surrender of the Emperor to the English—Agra taken—Battle of Laswaree—French Force in the Service of Scindia destroyed, and his Dominions in the Dooab transferred to the English—Operations of the Army under General Wellesley in the South—Ahmednuggur taken—Battle of Assye—Boorhanpore and Asseerghur taken—Scindia makes an Overture toward Peace—Battle of Argaum—Siege and Capture of the Fort of Gawilghur—Operations in Bundelcund—In Cuttack—in Guzerat—Negotiation with the Rajah of Berar—Treaty concluded—Negotiation with Scindia—Treaty concluded—Engagements with the minor Princes near the Jumna—Scindia enters into the defensive Alliance—Governor-General's Account of the Benefit derived from the defensive Alliances, and the Mahratta War—Investigation of that Account.

Chapter XIII is about Necessity inferred of curbing Holkar—Intercourse between Holkar and Scindia renewed—Governor-General resolves to take the Holkar Dominions, but to give them away to the Peshwa, Scindia, and the Nizam—Holkar retreats before the Commander-in-Chief, toward the South—The Commander-in-Chief withdraws the Army into Cantonments, leaving Colonel Monson with a Detachment in advance—Holkar turns upon Monson—Monson makes a disastrous Retreat to Agra—The British Army from Guzerat subdues Holkar's Dominions in Malwa—Holkar by a Stratagem attacks Delhi—Brave Defence of Delhi—The Holkar Dominions in Deccan subdued—Defeat of Holkar's Infantry at Deeg—Rout of his cavalry at Furruckabad—The Rajah of Bhurtpore, one of the allied Chieftains, joins with Holkar—Unsuccessful Attack upon the Fortress of Bhurtpore—Accommodation with the Rajah of Bhurtpore—Disputes with Scindia—Prospect of a War with Scindia—Holkar joins the Camp of Scindia—The British Resident ordered by the Commander-in-Chief to quit the Camp of Scindia—Scindia endeavours to prevent the Departure of the Resident—Marquis Wellesley succeeded by Marquis Cornwallis—Cornwallis's View of the State of the Government—Of Wellesley's System of subsidiary and defensive Alliance—Cornwallis resolves to avoid a War with Scindia, by yielding every Point in Dispute—To make Peace with Holkar by restoring all the Territories he had lost—To dissolve the Connexion of the British Government with the minor Princes on the Mahratta Frontier—Negotiations between Scindia and the Commander-in-Chief—Death of Lord Cornwallis—Sir G. Barlow adheres to the Plans of Lord Cornwallis—Holkar advances into the Country of the Seiks—Pursued by Lord Lake—A fresh Treaty concluded with Scindia—Treaty with Holkar—Financial Results.

Link Problem:
It should not be called a link problem. The chapter 5 is covered under the link of chapter 4. The chapter 6 is actually spread over link of chapter 5 and chapter 6.


Footnote 1:

http://sumir-history.blogspot.com/2005/06/who-desired-it-atleast-they-did-not.html In this article written in June 2005, I have given this opinion that the founding of America and later raising of America was never the actual motive of England. It came up as a serendipity result. All the efforts were directed to find the route to East India. J Mill has explained it in better manner.

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