The Black Hole of Empire: History of a Global Practice of Power

By Partha Chatterjee | Go to book overview
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Notes

CHAPTER 1. OUTRAGE IN CALCUTTA

1. Text of inscriptions in Holwell 1774, frontispiece. For a slightly different text of the inscription, probably incorporating corrections in the spellings of names, see Busteed 1888, 49.

2. For the most detailed account of Calcutta in this period, see Wilson 1906.

3. One careful estimate puts the population of the town in 1750 at 120,000. See Ray 1902.

4. Marshall 2000.

5. Bengal Public Consultations, Fort William, June 24, 1745, in Wilson 1906, 1:183; General Letter from Bengal to the Court, Fort William, January 31, 1746, in Wilson 1906, 1:185.

6. General Letter from the Court to Bengal, London, June 17, 1748, in Wilson 1906, 1:204–5.

7. As early as 1699, the court of directors in London was writing to Charles Eyre, the governor of the fort in Calcutta, that “the protected should pay an Acknowledgement to their Defenders…. We recommend to you the raising a standing Revenue by the Methods above mentioned well knowing that when they shall find the Impartiality and Mildness of the English Government, They shall be easily induced to betake themselves to your Protection, and in a short time render the Territory within your late Grant the most fflourishing Spott of Ground in Bengall” (Instructions from the Court to Sir Charles Eyre, London, December 20, 1699, in Wilson 1906, 1:47).

8. Nair 1990.

9. They added: “You cant be insensible the Mogull is daily drawing nearer his end which will very probably give birth to many Intestine Commotions before his Successor be quietly Settled in his Throne during which time all Rich Unfortified Places will be a tempting bait to those perfidious people” (General Letter from the Court to Bengal, London, November 29, 1700, in Wilson 1906, 1:48).

10. General Letter from the Court to Bengal, London, February 4, 1709, in Wilson 1906, 1:74–75. When the officials at Fort William wrote back saying that the fortifications had been made defensible “without alarming the Moors,” the directors expressed satisfaction, reiterating: “Do all with the least noise and urge plausible reasons for what you do if enquiry is made about it” (Letter from Bengal to Court, Fort William, December 30, 1710, in Wilson 1906, 1:83; General Letter from the Court to Bengal, London, December 28, 1711, in Wilson 1906, 1:85).

11. Marshall 1976, 159, 181.

12. Ibid., 213–16.

13. Gupta 1962, 13.

14. Marshall 1998.

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