TN History Textbook: India Under the English East India Company - Warren Hastings (1772-1785) Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: India Under the English East India Company - Warren Hastings (1772-1785) Notes | Study Must Read (Old & New) NCERTs for IAS Preparation - UPSC

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 Page 1


The English East India Company
The English East India Company was established on 31
December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of
England, Elizabeth I. The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the
court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1608 to secure permission
to establish a “factory” (store house of goods) at Surat. It was turned
down initially. However, in 1613, Jahangir issued
the firman permitting the East India Company to
establish its first trading post at Surat. Subsequently,
Sir Thomas Roe obtained more trading rights and
privileges for the East India Company. Accordingly,
the English set up business centres at Agra,
Ahmedabad and Broach. Slowly the English East
India Company succeeded  in expanding its area
of trade.
In 1639, Francis Day established the city of
Madras and constructed the Fort St. George. On
the west coast, the Company obtained Bombay on
lease from their King, Charles II for a rent of 10
pounds per annum in 1668. By the year 1690, Job
Charnock, the agent of the East India Company
purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti,
Govindpur and Kalikatta, which, in course of time,
grew into the city of Calcutta. It was fortified by
Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King,
William III. The factories and trading centres which the English
established all along the sea-coast of India were grouped under three
presidencies namely Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar
in 1764, the Company became a political power. India was under
the East India Company’s rule till 1858 when it came under the direct
administration of the British Crown. Robert Clive was the first
Governor of Fort William under the Company’s rule. He was
succeeded by Verelst and Cartier. In 1772, the Company appointed
Warren Hastings as the Governor of Fort William.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal
in 1772, he found it in utter chaos. The financial position of the
Company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by
famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for
introducing reforms.
Abolition of the Dual System
The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to
undertake the collection of revenue by its own agents. Hence, the
Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. As a measure
LESSON 1
INDIA UNDER THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY:
WARREN HASTINGS (1772-1785)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The growth of East India Company’s Rule in India.
2. Reforms introduced by the first Governor-General, Warren
Hastings.
3. Provisions, merits and defects of the Regulating Act of 1773.
4. Expansion policy of Warren Hastings - the First Maratha
War and the Second Mysore War.
5. Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
6. Impeachment of Warren Hastings.
1 2
Sir Thomas Roe
Warren Hastings
Page 2


The English East India Company
The English East India Company was established on 31
December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of
England, Elizabeth I. The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the
court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1608 to secure permission
to establish a “factory” (store house of goods) at Surat. It was turned
down initially. However, in 1613, Jahangir issued
the firman permitting the East India Company to
establish its first trading post at Surat. Subsequently,
Sir Thomas Roe obtained more trading rights and
privileges for the East India Company. Accordingly,
the English set up business centres at Agra,
Ahmedabad and Broach. Slowly the English East
India Company succeeded  in expanding its area
of trade.
In 1639, Francis Day established the city of
Madras and constructed the Fort St. George. On
the west coast, the Company obtained Bombay on
lease from their King, Charles II for a rent of 10
pounds per annum in 1668. By the year 1690, Job
Charnock, the agent of the East India Company
purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti,
Govindpur and Kalikatta, which, in course of time,
grew into the city of Calcutta. It was fortified by
Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King,
William III. The factories and trading centres which the English
established all along the sea-coast of India were grouped under three
presidencies namely Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar
in 1764, the Company became a political power. India was under
the East India Company’s rule till 1858 when it came under the direct
administration of the British Crown. Robert Clive was the first
Governor of Fort William under the Company’s rule. He was
succeeded by Verelst and Cartier. In 1772, the Company appointed
Warren Hastings as the Governor of Fort William.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal
in 1772, he found it in utter chaos. The financial position of the
Company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by
famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for
introducing reforms.
Abolition of the Dual System
The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to
undertake the collection of revenue by its own agents. Hence, the
Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. As a measure
LESSON 1
INDIA UNDER THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY:
WARREN HASTINGS (1772-1785)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The growth of East India Company’s Rule in India.
2. Reforms introduced by the first Governor-General, Warren
Hastings.
3. Provisions, merits and defects of the Regulating Act of 1773.
4. Expansion policy of Warren Hastings - the First Maratha
War and the Second Mysore War.
5. Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
6. Impeachment of Warren Hastings.
1 2
Sir Thomas Roe
Warren Hastings
to improve the finances of the Company, Warren Hastings reduced
the Nawab’s allowance of 32 lakhs of rupees to half that amount.
He also stopped the annual payment of 26 lakhs given to the Mughal
Emperor.
Revenue Reforms
After the abolition of the Dual System, the responsibility of
collecting the revenue fell on the shoulders of the Company. For that
purpose, a Board of Revenue was established at Calcutta to
supervise the collection of revenue. English Collectors were appointed
in each district. The treasury was removed from Murshidabad to
Calcutta and an Accountant General was appointed. Calcutta thus
became the capital of Bengal in 1772 and shortly after of British
India.
The Board of Revenue farmed out the lands by auction for a
period of five years instead of one year in order to find out their real
value. The zamindars were given priority in the auction. However,
certain good measures were taken to safeguard the interests of the
peasants. Arbitrary cesses and unreasonable fines were abolished.
Besides, restrictions were imposed on the enhancement of rent. Yet,
the system was a failure. Many zamindars defaulted and the arrears
of revenue accumulated.
Reorganisation of the Judicial System
The judicial system at the time of Warren Hastings’ ascendancy
was a store-house of abuses. The Nawab who was hitherto the chief
administrator of justice, misused his powers.  Often, his judgments
were careless. The zamindars who acted as judges at lower levels
within their own areas were highly corrupt and prejudiced. On the
whole, the judicial institution suffered from extreme corruption.
Warren Hastings felt the necessity of reorganising the judicial
system. Each district was provided with a civil court under the
Collector and a criminal court under an Indian Judge. To hear appeals
from the district courts two appellate courts, one for civil cases and
another for criminal cases, were established at Calcutta.  The highest
civil court of appeal was called Sadar Diwani Adalat, which was to
be presided over by the Governor and two judges recruited from
among the members of his council.  Similarly, the highest appellate
criminal court was known as Sadar Nizamat Adalat which was to
function under an Indian judge appointed by the Governor-in-Council.
Experts in Hindu and Muslim laws were provided to assist the
judges. A digest of Hindu law was prepared in Sanskrit by learned
Pandits and it was translated into Persian. An English translation of
it – Code of Hindu Laws – was prepared by Halhed.
Trade Regulations and other Reforms
Warren Hastings abolished the system of dastaks, or free passes
and regulated the internal trade. He reduced the number of custom houses
and enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5 percent for Indian and non-Indian
goods. Private trade by the Company’s servants continued but within
enforceable limits. Weavers were given better treatment and facilities
were made to improve their condition. He also introduced a uniform
system of pre-paid postage system. A bank was started in Calcutta. He
improved the police in Calcutta and the dacoits were severely dealt with.
The Regulating Act of 1773
The Regulating Act of 1773 opened a new chapter in the
constitutional history of the Company. Previously, the Home
government in England consisted of the Court of Directors and the
Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors were elected annually
and practically managed the affairs of the Company. In India, each
of the three presidencies was independent and responsible only to
the Home Government. The government of the presidency was
conducted by a Governor and a Council.
3 4
Page 3


The English East India Company
The English East India Company was established on 31
December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of
England, Elizabeth I. The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the
court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1608 to secure permission
to establish a “factory” (store house of goods) at Surat. It was turned
down initially. However, in 1613, Jahangir issued
the firman permitting the East India Company to
establish its first trading post at Surat. Subsequently,
Sir Thomas Roe obtained more trading rights and
privileges for the East India Company. Accordingly,
the English set up business centres at Agra,
Ahmedabad and Broach. Slowly the English East
India Company succeeded  in expanding its area
of trade.
In 1639, Francis Day established the city of
Madras and constructed the Fort St. George. On
the west coast, the Company obtained Bombay on
lease from their King, Charles II for a rent of 10
pounds per annum in 1668. By the year 1690, Job
Charnock, the agent of the East India Company
purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti,
Govindpur and Kalikatta, which, in course of time,
grew into the city of Calcutta. It was fortified by
Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King,
William III. The factories and trading centres which the English
established all along the sea-coast of India were grouped under three
presidencies namely Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar
in 1764, the Company became a political power. India was under
the East India Company’s rule till 1858 when it came under the direct
administration of the British Crown. Robert Clive was the first
Governor of Fort William under the Company’s rule. He was
succeeded by Verelst and Cartier. In 1772, the Company appointed
Warren Hastings as the Governor of Fort William.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal
in 1772, he found it in utter chaos. The financial position of the
Company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by
famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for
introducing reforms.
Abolition of the Dual System
The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to
undertake the collection of revenue by its own agents. Hence, the
Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. As a measure
LESSON 1
INDIA UNDER THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY:
WARREN HASTINGS (1772-1785)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The growth of East India Company’s Rule in India.
2. Reforms introduced by the first Governor-General, Warren
Hastings.
3. Provisions, merits and defects of the Regulating Act of 1773.
4. Expansion policy of Warren Hastings - the First Maratha
War and the Second Mysore War.
5. Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
6. Impeachment of Warren Hastings.
1 2
Sir Thomas Roe
Warren Hastings
to improve the finances of the Company, Warren Hastings reduced
the Nawab’s allowance of 32 lakhs of rupees to half that amount.
He also stopped the annual payment of 26 lakhs given to the Mughal
Emperor.
Revenue Reforms
After the abolition of the Dual System, the responsibility of
collecting the revenue fell on the shoulders of the Company. For that
purpose, a Board of Revenue was established at Calcutta to
supervise the collection of revenue. English Collectors were appointed
in each district. The treasury was removed from Murshidabad to
Calcutta and an Accountant General was appointed. Calcutta thus
became the capital of Bengal in 1772 and shortly after of British
India.
The Board of Revenue farmed out the lands by auction for a
period of five years instead of one year in order to find out their real
value. The zamindars were given priority in the auction. However,
certain good measures were taken to safeguard the interests of the
peasants. Arbitrary cesses and unreasonable fines were abolished.
Besides, restrictions were imposed on the enhancement of rent. Yet,
the system was a failure. Many zamindars defaulted and the arrears
of revenue accumulated.
Reorganisation of the Judicial System
The judicial system at the time of Warren Hastings’ ascendancy
was a store-house of abuses. The Nawab who was hitherto the chief
administrator of justice, misused his powers.  Often, his judgments
were careless. The zamindars who acted as judges at lower levels
within their own areas were highly corrupt and prejudiced. On the
whole, the judicial institution suffered from extreme corruption.
Warren Hastings felt the necessity of reorganising the judicial
system. Each district was provided with a civil court under the
Collector and a criminal court under an Indian Judge. To hear appeals
from the district courts two appellate courts, one for civil cases and
another for criminal cases, were established at Calcutta.  The highest
civil court of appeal was called Sadar Diwani Adalat, which was to
be presided over by the Governor and two judges recruited from
among the members of his council.  Similarly, the highest appellate
criminal court was known as Sadar Nizamat Adalat which was to
function under an Indian judge appointed by the Governor-in-Council.
Experts in Hindu and Muslim laws were provided to assist the
judges. A digest of Hindu law was prepared in Sanskrit by learned
Pandits and it was translated into Persian. An English translation of
it – Code of Hindu Laws – was prepared by Halhed.
Trade Regulations and other Reforms
Warren Hastings abolished the system of dastaks, or free passes
and regulated the internal trade. He reduced the number of custom houses
and enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5 percent for Indian and non-Indian
goods. Private trade by the Company’s servants continued but within
enforceable limits. Weavers were given better treatment and facilities
were made to improve their condition. He also introduced a uniform
system of pre-paid postage system. A bank was started in Calcutta. He
improved the police in Calcutta and the dacoits were severely dealt with.
The Regulating Act of 1773
The Regulating Act of 1773 opened a new chapter in the
constitutional history of the Company. Previously, the Home
government in England consisted of the Court of Directors and the
Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors were elected annually
and practically managed the affairs of the Company. In India, each
of the three presidencies was independent and responsible only to
the Home Government. The government of the presidency was
conducted by a Governor and a Council.
3 4
The following conditions invited the Parliamentary intervention
in the Company’s affairs. The English East India Company became
a territorial power when it acquired a wide dominion in India and
also the Diwani rights.  Its early administration was not only corrupt
but notorious. When the Company was in financial trouble, its servants
were affluent. The disastrous famine which broke out in Bengal in
1770 affected the agriculturists.  As a result, the revenue collection
was poor.  In short, the Company was on the brink of bankruptcy. In
1773, the Company approached the British government for an
immediate loan. It was under these circumstances that the Parliament
of England resolved to regulate the affairs of the Company. Lord
North, the Prime Minister of England, appointed a select committee
to inquire into the affairs of the Company. The report submitted by
the Committee paved the way for the enactment of the Regulating
Act.
Provisions of the Act
The Regulating Act reformed the Company’s Government at
Home and in India. The important provisions of the Act were:
(i) The term of office of the members of the Court of Directors
was extended from one year to four years. One-fourth of them
were to retire every year and the retiring Directors were not
eligible for re-election.
(ii) The Governor of Bengal was styled the Governor-General of
Fort William whose tenure of office was for a period of five
years.
(iii) A council of four members was appointed to assist the
Governor-General. The government was to be conducted in
accordance with the decision of the majority. The Governor-
General had a casting vote in case of a tie.
(iv) The Governor-General in Council was made supreme over the
other Presidencies in matters of war and peace.
(v) Provision was made in the Act for the establishment of a
Supreme Court at Calcutta consisting of a Chief Justice and
three junior judges. It was to be independent of the Governor-
General in Council. In 1774, the Supreme Court was established
by a Royal Charter.
(vi) This Act prevented the servants of the Company including the
Governor-General, members of his council and the judges of
the Supreme Court from receiving directly or indirectly any
gifts in kind or cash.
Merits and Demerits of the Act
The significance of the Regulating Act is that it brought the
affairs of the Company under the control of the Parliament.  Besides,
it proved that the Parliament of England was concerned about the
welfare of Indians.  The greatest merit of this Act is that it put an
end to the arbitrary rule of the Company and provided a framework
for all future enactments relating to the governing of India.
The main defect of the Act was that the Governor-General
was made powerless because the council which was given supreme
power often created deadlocks by over-ruling his decision. However,
many of these defects were rectified by the Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
Expansionist Policy of Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings was known for his expansionist policy. His
administration witnessed the Rohilla War, the First Anglo-Maratha
War and the Second Anglo-Mysore War.
The Rohilla War (1774)
Rohilkand was a small kingdom situated in between Oudh and
the Marathas. Its ruler was Hafiz Rahmat Khan. He concluded a
5 6
Page 4


The English East India Company
The English East India Company was established on 31
December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of
England, Elizabeth I. The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the
court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1608 to secure permission
to establish a “factory” (store house of goods) at Surat. It was turned
down initially. However, in 1613, Jahangir issued
the firman permitting the East India Company to
establish its first trading post at Surat. Subsequently,
Sir Thomas Roe obtained more trading rights and
privileges for the East India Company. Accordingly,
the English set up business centres at Agra,
Ahmedabad and Broach. Slowly the English East
India Company succeeded  in expanding its area
of trade.
In 1639, Francis Day established the city of
Madras and constructed the Fort St. George. On
the west coast, the Company obtained Bombay on
lease from their King, Charles II for a rent of 10
pounds per annum in 1668. By the year 1690, Job
Charnock, the agent of the East India Company
purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti,
Govindpur and Kalikatta, which, in course of time,
grew into the city of Calcutta. It was fortified by
Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King,
William III. The factories and trading centres which the English
established all along the sea-coast of India were grouped under three
presidencies namely Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar
in 1764, the Company became a political power. India was under
the East India Company’s rule till 1858 when it came under the direct
administration of the British Crown. Robert Clive was the first
Governor of Fort William under the Company’s rule. He was
succeeded by Verelst and Cartier. In 1772, the Company appointed
Warren Hastings as the Governor of Fort William.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal
in 1772, he found it in utter chaos. The financial position of the
Company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by
famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for
introducing reforms.
Abolition of the Dual System
The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to
undertake the collection of revenue by its own agents. Hence, the
Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. As a measure
LESSON 1
INDIA UNDER THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY:
WARREN HASTINGS (1772-1785)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The growth of East India Company’s Rule in India.
2. Reforms introduced by the first Governor-General, Warren
Hastings.
3. Provisions, merits and defects of the Regulating Act of 1773.
4. Expansion policy of Warren Hastings - the First Maratha
War and the Second Mysore War.
5. Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
6. Impeachment of Warren Hastings.
1 2
Sir Thomas Roe
Warren Hastings
to improve the finances of the Company, Warren Hastings reduced
the Nawab’s allowance of 32 lakhs of rupees to half that amount.
He also stopped the annual payment of 26 lakhs given to the Mughal
Emperor.
Revenue Reforms
After the abolition of the Dual System, the responsibility of
collecting the revenue fell on the shoulders of the Company. For that
purpose, a Board of Revenue was established at Calcutta to
supervise the collection of revenue. English Collectors were appointed
in each district. The treasury was removed from Murshidabad to
Calcutta and an Accountant General was appointed. Calcutta thus
became the capital of Bengal in 1772 and shortly after of British
India.
The Board of Revenue farmed out the lands by auction for a
period of five years instead of one year in order to find out their real
value. The zamindars were given priority in the auction. However,
certain good measures were taken to safeguard the interests of the
peasants. Arbitrary cesses and unreasonable fines were abolished.
Besides, restrictions were imposed on the enhancement of rent. Yet,
the system was a failure. Many zamindars defaulted and the arrears
of revenue accumulated.
Reorganisation of the Judicial System
The judicial system at the time of Warren Hastings’ ascendancy
was a store-house of abuses. The Nawab who was hitherto the chief
administrator of justice, misused his powers.  Often, his judgments
were careless. The zamindars who acted as judges at lower levels
within their own areas were highly corrupt and prejudiced. On the
whole, the judicial institution suffered from extreme corruption.
Warren Hastings felt the necessity of reorganising the judicial
system. Each district was provided with a civil court under the
Collector and a criminal court under an Indian Judge. To hear appeals
from the district courts two appellate courts, one for civil cases and
another for criminal cases, were established at Calcutta.  The highest
civil court of appeal was called Sadar Diwani Adalat, which was to
be presided over by the Governor and two judges recruited from
among the members of his council.  Similarly, the highest appellate
criminal court was known as Sadar Nizamat Adalat which was to
function under an Indian judge appointed by the Governor-in-Council.
Experts in Hindu and Muslim laws were provided to assist the
judges. A digest of Hindu law was prepared in Sanskrit by learned
Pandits and it was translated into Persian. An English translation of
it – Code of Hindu Laws – was prepared by Halhed.
Trade Regulations and other Reforms
Warren Hastings abolished the system of dastaks, or free passes
and regulated the internal trade. He reduced the number of custom houses
and enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5 percent for Indian and non-Indian
goods. Private trade by the Company’s servants continued but within
enforceable limits. Weavers were given better treatment and facilities
were made to improve their condition. He also introduced a uniform
system of pre-paid postage system. A bank was started in Calcutta. He
improved the police in Calcutta and the dacoits were severely dealt with.
The Regulating Act of 1773
The Regulating Act of 1773 opened a new chapter in the
constitutional history of the Company. Previously, the Home
government in England consisted of the Court of Directors and the
Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors were elected annually
and practically managed the affairs of the Company. In India, each
of the three presidencies was independent and responsible only to
the Home Government. The government of the presidency was
conducted by a Governor and a Council.
3 4
The following conditions invited the Parliamentary intervention
in the Company’s affairs. The English East India Company became
a territorial power when it acquired a wide dominion in India and
also the Diwani rights.  Its early administration was not only corrupt
but notorious. When the Company was in financial trouble, its servants
were affluent. The disastrous famine which broke out in Bengal in
1770 affected the agriculturists.  As a result, the revenue collection
was poor.  In short, the Company was on the brink of bankruptcy. In
1773, the Company approached the British government for an
immediate loan. It was under these circumstances that the Parliament
of England resolved to regulate the affairs of the Company. Lord
North, the Prime Minister of England, appointed a select committee
to inquire into the affairs of the Company. The report submitted by
the Committee paved the way for the enactment of the Regulating
Act.
Provisions of the Act
The Regulating Act reformed the Company’s Government at
Home and in India. The important provisions of the Act were:
(i) The term of office of the members of the Court of Directors
was extended from one year to four years. One-fourth of them
were to retire every year and the retiring Directors were not
eligible for re-election.
(ii) The Governor of Bengal was styled the Governor-General of
Fort William whose tenure of office was for a period of five
years.
(iii) A council of four members was appointed to assist the
Governor-General. The government was to be conducted in
accordance with the decision of the majority. The Governor-
General had a casting vote in case of a tie.
(iv) The Governor-General in Council was made supreme over the
other Presidencies in matters of war and peace.
(v) Provision was made in the Act for the establishment of a
Supreme Court at Calcutta consisting of a Chief Justice and
three junior judges. It was to be independent of the Governor-
General in Council. In 1774, the Supreme Court was established
by a Royal Charter.
(vi) This Act prevented the servants of the Company including the
Governor-General, members of his council and the judges of
the Supreme Court from receiving directly or indirectly any
gifts in kind or cash.
Merits and Demerits of the Act
The significance of the Regulating Act is that it brought the
affairs of the Company under the control of the Parliament.  Besides,
it proved that the Parliament of England was concerned about the
welfare of Indians.  The greatest merit of this Act is that it put an
end to the arbitrary rule of the Company and provided a framework
for all future enactments relating to the governing of India.
The main defect of the Act was that the Governor-General
was made powerless because the council which was given supreme
power often created deadlocks by over-ruling his decision. However,
many of these defects were rectified by the Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
Expansionist Policy of Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings was known for his expansionist policy. His
administration witnessed the Rohilla War, the First Anglo-Maratha
War and the Second Anglo-Mysore War.
The Rohilla War (1774)
Rohilkand was a small kingdom situated in between Oudh and
the Marathas. Its ruler was Hafiz Rahmat Khan. He concluded a
5 6
defensive treaty in 1772 with the Nawab of Oudh fearing an attack
by the Marathas. But no such attack took place. But, the Nawab
demanded money. When Rahmat Khan evaded, the Nawab with the
help of the British invaded Rohilkand. Warren Hastings, who sent
the British troops against Rohilkand was severely crticised for his
policy on Rohilla affair.
First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82)
The Marathas were largely remained disunited since the Third
Battle of Panipet (1761). The internal conflict among the Marathas
was best utilized by the British in their expansionist policy. In 1775,
there was a dispute for the post of Peshwa between Madhav Rao
and his uncle Ragunatha Rao. The British authorities in Bombay
concluded the Treaty of Surat with Raghunatha Rao in March 1775.
Rahunatha Rao promised to cede Bassein and Salsette to the British
but later when he was unwilling to fulfill his promise, the British
captured them. This action of the Bombay Government was not
approved by Warren Hastings. In 1776, Warren Hastings sent Colonel
Upton to settle the issue. He cancelled the Treaty of Surat and
concluded the Treaty of Purander with Nana Fadnavis, another
Maratha leader. According to this treaty Madhava Rao II was
accepted as the new Peshwa and the British retained Salsette along
with a heavy war indemnity.
However, the Home authorities rejected the Treaty of
Purander. Warren Hastings also considered the Treaty of Purandar
as a ‘scrap of paper’ and sanctioned operations against the Marathas.
In the meantime, the British force sent by the Bombay Government
was defeated by the Marathas.
In 1781, Warren Hastings dispatched British troops under the
command of Captain Popham. He defeated the Maratha chief,
Mahadaji Scindia, in a number of small battles and captured Gwalior.
Later in May 1782, the Treaty of Salbai was signed between Warren
Hastings and Mahadaji Scindia. Accordingly, Salsette and Bassein
were given to the British. Raghunath Rao was pensioned off and
Madhav Rao II was accepted as the Peshwa.
The Treaty of Salbai established the British influence in Indian
politics. It provided the British twenty years of peace with the
Marathas. The Treaty also enabled the British to exert pressure on
Mysore with the help of the Marathas in recovering their territories
from Haider Ali. Thus, the British, on the one hand, saved themselves
from the combined opposition of Indian powers and on the other,
succeeded in dividing the Indian powers.
The Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)
The first Anglo-Mysore War took place in 1767-69. Haider Ali
emerged victorious against the British and at the end of the War a
defensive treaty was concluded between Haider Ali
and the British. After eleven years, the Second
Mysore War broke out and the main causes for the
second Anglo-Mysore War were:
1. The British failed to fulfill the terms of the
defensive treaty with Haider when he was
attacked by the Marathas in 1771.
2. There was an outbreak of hostilities between
the English and the French (an ally of Haider)
during the American War of Independence.
3. The British captured Mahe, a French settlement within Haider’s
territories.
4. Haider Ali formed a grand alliance with the Nizam of
Hyderabad and the Marathas against the British in 1779.
The War began when the British led their forces through
7 8
Haider Ali
Page 5


The English East India Company
The English East India Company was established on 31
December 1600 as per the Royal Charter issued by the Queen of
England, Elizabeth I. The Company had sent Captain Hawkins to the
court of the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in 1608 to secure permission
to establish a “factory” (store house of goods) at Surat. It was turned
down initially. However, in 1613, Jahangir issued
the firman permitting the East India Company to
establish its first trading post at Surat. Subsequently,
Sir Thomas Roe obtained more trading rights and
privileges for the East India Company. Accordingly,
the English set up business centres at Agra,
Ahmedabad and Broach. Slowly the English East
India Company succeeded  in expanding its area
of trade.
In 1639, Francis Day established the city of
Madras and constructed the Fort St. George. On
the west coast, the Company obtained Bombay on
lease from their King, Charles II for a rent of 10
pounds per annum in 1668. By the year 1690, Job
Charnock, the agent of the East India Company
purchased three villages namely, Sutanuti,
Govindpur and Kalikatta, which, in course of time,
grew into the city of Calcutta. It was fortified by
Job Charnock, who named it Fort William after the English King,
William III. The factories and trading centres which the English
established all along the sea-coast of India were grouped under three
presidencies namely Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
After the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and the Battle of Buxar
in 1764, the Company became a political power. India was under
the East India Company’s rule till 1858 when it came under the direct
administration of the British Crown. Robert Clive was the first
Governor of Fort William under the Company’s rule. He was
succeeded by Verelst and Cartier. In 1772, the Company appointed
Warren Hastings as the Governor of Fort William.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal
in 1772, he found it in utter chaos. The financial position of the
Company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by
famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for
introducing reforms.
Abolition of the Dual System
The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to
undertake the collection of revenue by its own agents. Hence, the
Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. As a measure
LESSON 1
INDIA UNDER THE ENGLISH EAST INDIA COMPANY:
WARREN HASTINGS (1772-1785)
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. The growth of East India Company’s Rule in India.
2. Reforms introduced by the first Governor-General, Warren
Hastings.
3. Provisions, merits and defects of the Regulating Act of 1773.
4. Expansion policy of Warren Hastings - the First Maratha
War and the Second Mysore War.
5. Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
6. Impeachment of Warren Hastings.
1 2
Sir Thomas Roe
Warren Hastings
to improve the finances of the Company, Warren Hastings reduced
the Nawab’s allowance of 32 lakhs of rupees to half that amount.
He also stopped the annual payment of 26 lakhs given to the Mughal
Emperor.
Revenue Reforms
After the abolition of the Dual System, the responsibility of
collecting the revenue fell on the shoulders of the Company. For that
purpose, a Board of Revenue was established at Calcutta to
supervise the collection of revenue. English Collectors were appointed
in each district. The treasury was removed from Murshidabad to
Calcutta and an Accountant General was appointed. Calcutta thus
became the capital of Bengal in 1772 and shortly after of British
India.
The Board of Revenue farmed out the lands by auction for a
period of five years instead of one year in order to find out their real
value. The zamindars were given priority in the auction. However,
certain good measures were taken to safeguard the interests of the
peasants. Arbitrary cesses and unreasonable fines were abolished.
Besides, restrictions were imposed on the enhancement of rent. Yet,
the system was a failure. Many zamindars defaulted and the arrears
of revenue accumulated.
Reorganisation of the Judicial System
The judicial system at the time of Warren Hastings’ ascendancy
was a store-house of abuses. The Nawab who was hitherto the chief
administrator of justice, misused his powers.  Often, his judgments
were careless. The zamindars who acted as judges at lower levels
within their own areas were highly corrupt and prejudiced. On the
whole, the judicial institution suffered from extreme corruption.
Warren Hastings felt the necessity of reorganising the judicial
system. Each district was provided with a civil court under the
Collector and a criminal court under an Indian Judge. To hear appeals
from the district courts two appellate courts, one for civil cases and
another for criminal cases, were established at Calcutta.  The highest
civil court of appeal was called Sadar Diwani Adalat, which was to
be presided over by the Governor and two judges recruited from
among the members of his council.  Similarly, the highest appellate
criminal court was known as Sadar Nizamat Adalat which was to
function under an Indian judge appointed by the Governor-in-Council.
Experts in Hindu and Muslim laws were provided to assist the
judges. A digest of Hindu law was prepared in Sanskrit by learned
Pandits and it was translated into Persian. An English translation of
it – Code of Hindu Laws – was prepared by Halhed.
Trade Regulations and other Reforms
Warren Hastings abolished the system of dastaks, or free passes
and regulated the internal trade. He reduced the number of custom houses
and enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5 percent for Indian and non-Indian
goods. Private trade by the Company’s servants continued but within
enforceable limits. Weavers were given better treatment and facilities
were made to improve their condition. He also introduced a uniform
system of pre-paid postage system. A bank was started in Calcutta. He
improved the police in Calcutta and the dacoits were severely dealt with.
The Regulating Act of 1773
The Regulating Act of 1773 opened a new chapter in the
constitutional history of the Company. Previously, the Home
government in England consisted of the Court of Directors and the
Court of Proprietors. The Court of Directors were elected annually
and practically managed the affairs of the Company. In India, each
of the three presidencies was independent and responsible only to
the Home Government. The government of the presidency was
conducted by a Governor and a Council.
3 4
The following conditions invited the Parliamentary intervention
in the Company’s affairs. The English East India Company became
a territorial power when it acquired a wide dominion in India and
also the Diwani rights.  Its early administration was not only corrupt
but notorious. When the Company was in financial trouble, its servants
were affluent. The disastrous famine which broke out in Bengal in
1770 affected the agriculturists.  As a result, the revenue collection
was poor.  In short, the Company was on the brink of bankruptcy. In
1773, the Company approached the British government for an
immediate loan. It was under these circumstances that the Parliament
of England resolved to regulate the affairs of the Company. Lord
North, the Prime Minister of England, appointed a select committee
to inquire into the affairs of the Company. The report submitted by
the Committee paved the way for the enactment of the Regulating
Act.
Provisions of the Act
The Regulating Act reformed the Company’s Government at
Home and in India. The important provisions of the Act were:
(i) The term of office of the members of the Court of Directors
was extended from one year to four years. One-fourth of them
were to retire every year and the retiring Directors were not
eligible for re-election.
(ii) The Governor of Bengal was styled the Governor-General of
Fort William whose tenure of office was for a period of five
years.
(iii) A council of four members was appointed to assist the
Governor-General. The government was to be conducted in
accordance with the decision of the majority. The Governor-
General had a casting vote in case of a tie.
(iv) The Governor-General in Council was made supreme over the
other Presidencies in matters of war and peace.
(v) Provision was made in the Act for the establishment of a
Supreme Court at Calcutta consisting of a Chief Justice and
three junior judges. It was to be independent of the Governor-
General in Council. In 1774, the Supreme Court was established
by a Royal Charter.
(vi) This Act prevented the servants of the Company including the
Governor-General, members of his council and the judges of
the Supreme Court from receiving directly or indirectly any
gifts in kind or cash.
Merits and Demerits of the Act
The significance of the Regulating Act is that it brought the
affairs of the Company under the control of the Parliament.  Besides,
it proved that the Parliament of England was concerned about the
welfare of Indians.  The greatest merit of this Act is that it put an
end to the arbitrary rule of the Company and provided a framework
for all future enactments relating to the governing of India.
The main defect of the Act was that the Governor-General
was made powerless because the council which was given supreme
power often created deadlocks by over-ruling his decision. However,
many of these defects were rectified by the Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
Expansionist Policy of Warren Hastings
Warren Hastings was known for his expansionist policy. His
administration witnessed the Rohilla War, the First Anglo-Maratha
War and the Second Anglo-Mysore War.
The Rohilla War (1774)
Rohilkand was a small kingdom situated in between Oudh and
the Marathas. Its ruler was Hafiz Rahmat Khan. He concluded a
5 6
defensive treaty in 1772 with the Nawab of Oudh fearing an attack
by the Marathas. But no such attack took place. But, the Nawab
demanded money. When Rahmat Khan evaded, the Nawab with the
help of the British invaded Rohilkand. Warren Hastings, who sent
the British troops against Rohilkand was severely crticised for his
policy on Rohilla affair.
First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82)
The Marathas were largely remained disunited since the Third
Battle of Panipet (1761). The internal conflict among the Marathas
was best utilized by the British in their expansionist policy. In 1775,
there was a dispute for the post of Peshwa between Madhav Rao
and his uncle Ragunatha Rao. The British authorities in Bombay
concluded the Treaty of Surat with Raghunatha Rao in March 1775.
Rahunatha Rao promised to cede Bassein and Salsette to the British
but later when he was unwilling to fulfill his promise, the British
captured them. This action of the Bombay Government was not
approved by Warren Hastings. In 1776, Warren Hastings sent Colonel
Upton to settle the issue. He cancelled the Treaty of Surat and
concluded the Treaty of Purander with Nana Fadnavis, another
Maratha leader. According to this treaty Madhava Rao II was
accepted as the new Peshwa and the British retained Salsette along
with a heavy war indemnity.
However, the Home authorities rejected the Treaty of
Purander. Warren Hastings also considered the Treaty of Purandar
as a ‘scrap of paper’ and sanctioned operations against the Marathas.
In the meantime, the British force sent by the Bombay Government
was defeated by the Marathas.
In 1781, Warren Hastings dispatched British troops under the
command of Captain Popham. He defeated the Maratha chief,
Mahadaji Scindia, in a number of small battles and captured Gwalior.
Later in May 1782, the Treaty of Salbai was signed between Warren
Hastings and Mahadaji Scindia. Accordingly, Salsette and Bassein
were given to the British. Raghunath Rao was pensioned off and
Madhav Rao II was accepted as the Peshwa.
The Treaty of Salbai established the British influence in Indian
politics. It provided the British twenty years of peace with the
Marathas. The Treaty also enabled the British to exert pressure on
Mysore with the help of the Marathas in recovering their territories
from Haider Ali. Thus, the British, on the one hand, saved themselves
from the combined opposition of Indian powers and on the other,
succeeded in dividing the Indian powers.
The Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84)
The first Anglo-Mysore War took place in 1767-69. Haider Ali
emerged victorious against the British and at the end of the War a
defensive treaty was concluded between Haider Ali
and the British. After eleven years, the Second
Mysore War broke out and the main causes for the
second Anglo-Mysore War were:
1. The British failed to fulfill the terms of the
defensive treaty with Haider when he was
attacked by the Marathas in 1771.
2. There was an outbreak of hostilities between
the English and the French (an ally of Haider)
during the American War of Independence.
3. The British captured Mahe, a French settlement within Haider’s
territories.
4. Haider Ali formed a grand alliance with the Nizam of
Hyderabad and the Marathas against the British in 1779.
The War began when the British led their forces through
7 8
Haider Ali
Haider’s territory without his permission to capture Guntur in the
Northern Sarkars. Haider Ali defeated Colonel Baillie and captured
Arcot in 1780. In the next year, Warren Hastings, by a clever stroke
of diplomacy, divided the Confederacy. He made peace with the
Nizam, won the friendship of Bhonsle and came to an understanding
with the Scindia (both Marathas).  Consequently, Haider was isolated
without any alliance. He was defeated by Sir Eyre Coote at Porto
Novo in March 1781. In December 1782, Haider died of cancer at
the age of sixty and his death was kept secret till his son Tipu Sultan
assumed power.
The Second Mysore War came to an end by the Treaty of
Mangalore in 1783. Accordingly, all conquests were mutually
restored and the prisoners on both sides were liberated.
Pitt’s India Act, 1784
The Regulating Act proved to be an unsatisfactory document
as it failed in its objective. In January 1784, Pitt the Younger (who
became Prime Minister of England after the General Elections)
introduced the India Bill in the British Parliament.  Despite bitter
debate in both the Houses, the bill was passed after seven months
and it received royal assent in August 1784.  This was the famous
Pitt’s India Act of 1784.
Main Provisions
(i) A Board of Control consisting of six members was created.
They were appointed by the Crown.
(ii) The Court of Directors was retained without any alteration in
its composition.
(iii) The Act also introduced significant changes in the Indian
administration.  It reduced the number of the members of the
Governor-General’s Council from four to three including the
Commander-in-Chief.
Pitt’s India Act constitutes a significant landmark with regard
to the foreign policy of the Company. A critical review of the Act
reveals that it had introduced a kind of contradiction in the functions
of the Company. The Court of Directors controlled its commercial
functions, whereas the Board of Control maintained its political affairs.
In fact, the Board represented the King, and the Directors symbolised
the Company.
The Impeachment of Warren Hastings
The Pitt’s India Act of 1784 was a rude shock and bitter
disappointment for Warren Hastings. The Prime Minister’s speech
censuring the policy of the Government of Bengal was considered
by Warren Hastings as a reflection on his personal character.  His
image and reputation were tarnished in England. Therefore, he
resigned and left India in June 1785.
In 1787, Warren Hastings was impeached in the Parliament by
Edmund Burke and the Whigs for his administrative excess. Burke
brought forward 22 charges against him. The most important of them
were related to the Rohilla War, the Case of Nanda Kumar, the
treatment of Raja Chait Singh of Benares and the pressures on the
Begums of Oudh. After a long trail which lasted till 1795, Warren
Hastings was completely acquitted. He received pension from the
Company and lived till 1818.
Nanda Kumar was an influential official in Bengal. He
was hanged to death by the verdict of the Supreme Court at
Calcutta for a petty offence of forgery. The English law was
applied in this judgement. It was contended that Warren
Hastings and Sir Elija Impey, the judge of the Supreme Court
conspired against Nanda Kumar. Warren Hastings imposed
heavy penalty on the Raja Chait Singh of Benares for his delay
in payment of tribute and deposed him in an unjust manner.
9 10
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