The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India

By Philip J. Stern | Go to book overview
Save to active project

4
“Politicall Science and Martiall Prudence”
Political Thought and Political Economy

In September 1687, the East India Company Court of Committees promoted Nathaniel Higginson to second of the Fort St. George council. Higginson was an odd choice for a group of merchants, but not for a company-state in the midst of a three-front war with the nawab of Bengal, the king of Siam, and a bevy of English interlopers on both sides of the world. The third generation of a family of New England clerics, Higginson was a graduate of Harvard and a former tutor and apprentice at the London Mint. With less than five years at Madras, he had far less experience as a merchant or in India than anyone else on the council and even some factors. The Court of Committees insisted nonetheless that Higginson’s appointment to such a critical post was “for the publick good.” He was “a man of learning,” well versed in Greek, Latin, and history, and it was only a “good stock of naturall parts” such as this that “can render a man fit for government and politicall Science Martiall prudence & other requisites to rule over a great city,” including making of treaties “of peace or war or commerce with foreign Princes.” While “little other science was necessary when we wee [were] in the State of mere trading Merchants,” times had changed “since his Majestie has been pleased by his Royall Charters & during his Royall Will & Pleasure to forme us into the condition of a sovereigne State in India.”1

The Company’s ambitions had certainly been bolstered by the support of James II, but such sentiments were hardly new. In claiming the right and responsibility to govern English subjects in Asia and colonial proprietorships over European and Asian subjects of its own, the East India Company had ceased to be, if it had ever been, simply a commercial body; over a decade earlier, Gerald Aungier had reflected with a bit of ironic and feigned surprise that in “his calling is as a Merchant,” he had never expected he would come into such a charge as Bombay and thus have to become “a souldier, Lawer, Philosopher, Statesman;

-83-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 300

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?