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The Twilight of the East India Company

The Twilight of the East India Company: The Evolution of Anglo-Asian Commerce and Politics, 1790-1860

Anthony Webster
Volume: 3
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 214
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81f81
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  • Book Info
    The Twilight of the East India Company
    Book Description:

    This book examines the development of British commercial, financial and political relations with India and the Far East during the final period of the East India Company's reign as the sovereign power in India. This was a most turbulent period for British

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-774-5
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE (pp. vii-viii)
    Tony Webster
  4. One INTRODUCTION: THE END OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY, THE HISTORIANS AND THE EVOLUTION OF ANGLO-INDIAN COMMERCE AND POLITICS (pp. 1-17)

    THE EAST INDIA COMPANY has fascinated and divided historians, yet its importance for the development of the British Indian Empire is one of the few aspects of the Company’s history on which there is some measure of consensus. Founded in London in 1600 as a monopolistic joint stock venture to engage in speculative trade with the Far East, the company struggled through its first 150 years of existence. There were major problems both at home and abroad, notably the effects of civil war in the 1640s and, more seriously, the disintegration of the Mughal Empire from the late seventeenth century...

  5. Two THE ORIGINS OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY AND THE RISE OF NON-COMPANY COMMERCIAL INTERESTS IN BRITAIN, INDIA AND ASIA, 1600–1793 (pp. 18-38)

    THE IDEA of an East India Company with exclusive trading rights between England and the east really emerged in the last years of the sixteenth century, at a time when England faced formidable opposition from powers like Spain and Holland, who were leaders in developing commerce with both Asia and the Americas. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was still recent in the memory and, in spite of historians’ depiction of her reign as a ‘Golden Age’, in truth Queen Elizabeth I and her Court remained deeply concerned by England’s vulnerability to threats from the continent. Across Europe,...

  6. Three WAR, POLITICS AND INDIA: THE BATTLE FOR THE EAST INDIA COMPANY TRADE MONOPOLY, 1793–1813 (pp. 39-63)

    THE REFORM of the Company’s trading practices under the Charter Act of 1793 represented a limited but significant success for non-Company commercial interests in Britain and India. The requirement that the Company provide 3,000 tons for private trade was an important victory because it recognised certain rights for those interested in the trade to India who were outside the East India Company. At the time, however, the achievement was seen by supporters of the Company as a modest and pragmatic response to the specific problem of the clandestine trade, and as a sop to the incoherent demands of provincial manufacturers...

  7. Four ACCOMMODATING FREE TRADE: INDIA, THE EAST INDIA COMPANY AND THE COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION OF 1814–1830 (pp. 64-83)

    THE PASSAGE and implementation of the Charter Act of 1813 coincided with a period of great political turbulence in Europe and North America. Global events overshadowed what would amount to a revolution in Britain’s commercial relations with India. Tensions with the USA erupted into war by the time the Act passed through Parliament. The tide of the conflict in Europe turned decisively in 1812 following Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia. Victory followed swiftly in 1814 and Napoleon was exiled to Elba. But Napoleon’s escape led to a resumption of hostilities until his final reckoning against his enemies at Waterloo. There...

  8. Five CRISIS AND TRADE LIBERALISATION 1830–1834: FINANCIAL CHAOS AND THE END OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY’S COMMERCIAL ROLE AND PRIVILEGES (pp. 84-103)

    IF THE period 1813 to 1830 had witnessed fundamental changes in the nature of Britain’s trade with the East India Company’s possessions in Asia, what followed can be described as a blend of chaos and revolution. Between 1830 and 1834, all of the leading Calcutta agency houses were swept away in the worst financial crisis in living memory, bringing bankruptcy and destitution for many Europeans and Indians who had deposited their life savings in the houses. British India was plunged into deep economic depression and, following the demise of the Calcutta agency houses, new commercial organisations were established, mainly by...

  9. Six RE-ORDERING ANGLO-ASIAN COMMERCE AND POLITICS: 1833–1847 (pp. 104-128)

    THE CHARTER ACT of 1833 certainly ushered in a new era in Anglo-Asian commerce and politics; but there remained much uncertainty about the future. In 1833 a number of issues remained unresolved, in spite of the debates of the previous three years and the hope that a new and more successful order could be established. It is worth outlining the issues which still needed to be resolved before addressing how the various interests connected with India sought to deal with them. First of all, it is important to understand that in 1833, the great financial crisis in Calcutta of the...

  10. Seven CRISIS, THE RESURGENCE OF LONDON AND THE END OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY: 1847–1860 (pp. 129-150)

    IN THE mid-1840s countries all over Europe were plunged into severe turmoil. Poor harvests and a general downturn in international trade, which was exacerbated by financial panics which spread rapidly across the continent, created the worst political and economic crisis since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Abortive revolutions in Germany and France in 1848 revived memories of 1789 and 1830. Even Britain, the world’s leading economic and imperial power, was rocked by the severity of the depression. Bankruptcies, rising unemployment, poverty, famine in Ireland, Chartist agitation and the rise of the anti-Corn Law league buffeted the political establishment. The...

  11. Eight Conclusion: THE DECLINE OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY AND THE EVOLUTION OF BRITISH COMMERCIAL AND POLITICAL INTERESTS IN ASIA, 1793–1860 (pp. 151-164)

    THE GREAT INDIAN REBELLION of 1857 and the termination of East India Company rule over India just a year later thus ushered in a new phase of British imperialism in Asia. The end of the company’s regime meant that, at last, the British state had to accept unequivocal responsibility for the governance of former company possessions. Consequently, new governing institutions were established in Asia which were directly answerable to government and Parliament in London, through the Secretary of State for India and the India Office. These changes went hand-in-hand with a new culture of governance, created by the trauma of...

  12. NOTES (pp. 165-188)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 189-196)
  14. INDEX (pp. 197-206)
  15. Back Matter (pp. 207-207)