Posted: Oct 23, 2019 9:59 pm
by crazyfitter
Just finished The Anarchy, the story of the East India Company. What an eye opener it’s been, not just the violence and plotting of the EIC but also of the local Kings and Princes. As the EIC started throwing its weight around it lost a few battles and had to do some apologising and cough up compensation. As they got better with the military tactics so did the locals as they were provided with men, officers, munitions and training by the French.
Cornwallis, who had just been chucked out of Yorktown by the new ‘Americans’ was sent to India to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. One of the first things he did was remove something like 11000 Anglo-Indians from their jobs and only allowed them menial work. He was well aware that it wasn’t the locals that had defeated the Brits in America but the descendants of the first colonists.
Want to move a highly trained army of 10000 men in early 19C India? Add attendants,assistants and support staff and you now have 100000 men. Officers would each have 4 servants, a complete set of camping gear, umpteen bottles of wine and brandy, a full set of linens (24 suits) a cage with his own hens and a goat. Following up all this were thousands of elephants,camels,horses,poultry, goats and sheep. They made about 5 miles a day for 3weeks in the pouring monsoon rains knee deep in mud. I wouldn’t want to do that in peacetime.
Dalrymple visited all the sites of battles and treaty signings etc and was amazed that offices and guards at these locations didn’t know anything about the history of the place. Dalrymple had relatives serving in the EIC including one who died in the so called black hole of Calcutta.
I found it very useful to have google maps open as I read the book to get a better idea of what was going on.
Powys castle, in Wales,the home of Clive (of India) has more looted Indian treasure than any single place in India.