The English and The French
- The victory of the English over the Spanish armada and the reports of India’s wealth aroused in the minds of the English a strong desire to establish trade relations with India.
- It was on 31st December 1600 A.D., that the first momentous step was taken in respect of England’s trade in the East by the incorporation, under a charter from queen Elizabeth, of the East India company under its first title of “The Governor and company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies”.
- Monopoly of trade in the East was granted to it for fifteen years.
- On the south-east coast of India the English had started a factory in 1611 A.D. at Masulipatam.
Points To Be Remembered
- In the early years of the 16th century the Portuguese sided with Cochin against Calicut.
- Nino do Cunha was the viceroy who transferred the Portuguese headquarter from Cochin to Goa.
- There were Portuguese settlements in Hugli, Satgaon and Chittagong.
- The Portuguese sent Jesuist to Akbar’s court to instruct him in the doctrines of the Christian faith.
- Aurangzeb seized the English factory at Surat.
- Sir Joshua Child was the earliest to opine that it was necessary to found a sure English dominion in India for all time to come.
- Job Charnock was permitted by the Mughals to build a factory at Calcutta in 1690.
- The Mughal emperor, Farrukhsiyar, was cured of a painful disease by an English surgeon called Willaim Hamilton.
- Farrukhsiyar granted imperial firmans to the English East India Company for recognising the right of the company to trade in Bengal. These firmans formed the “Magna Carta of the Company”.
- Francisco Pelsaert was the chief of the Dutch factory at Agra. He lived in India during Jahangir’s reign.
- William Edwards was the English envoy who came during Jehangir’s reign to India in 1615. His mission ended in failure.
- The Dutch established a factory at Petapoli on the Golcunda coast (1604-5).
- Nagapatam was the chief station of the Dutch in India.
- Bombay replaced Surat as headquarters of the English East India Company (1687).
- Trancobar was a Danish settlement in India.
- Mahe was fortified by French in 1724.
- Bengal was controlled by the British. In 1700 it became a separate charge under a president and council at Fort William.
- A treaty was concluded in 1619 between the English and the Dutch by which both their trading companies agreed to share the cost and profit of the Indian trade.
- By 1650 the English had set themselves up at Balasore in Orissa.
- Their position was improved by the ‘Golden farman’ granted to them by the sultan of Golcunda in 1632 A.D. Francis Day, who was responsible for opening the factory at Armagon, obtained permission from the ruler of Chandragiri, to build a fortified factory at Madras (Fort St. George).
- In Bengal the company wanted to have fortified settlement at Hoogly so that force could be used if necessary.
- The mission of William Hedges, the first governor and agent of the English company in Bengal in 1682 A.D. to Shayista Khan proved to be of no avail.
- In 1686 A.D. the English captured the imperial forts of Thana, Malded Hijili on the east of the Midnapore district, and stormed the Mughal fortification at Balasore.
- But the English were forced to leave Hoogly and to retire to a place at the mouth of the river. Job
Charnock, their agent, opened negotiations for permission to returned to Sutanauti.
- After the conclusion of peace between the Company and the Mughal governmor in 1690 A.D. Job Charnock came back to Bengal as agent and founded the city of Calcutta and built Fort William.
- The most important event after the death of Aurangzeb was the diplomatic mission led by Jhon Surman in 1715 A.D. to the court of Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar, resulting in the grant of three famous farmans.
- The farmans gave the Company many valuable privileges. In Bengal it exempted the Company’s imports and exports from additional custom duties excepting the annual payment of Rs. 3000.
- The Company was allowed to rent additional land around Calcutta. At Surat, the Company was exempted from the levy of all duties for its exports and imports in lieu of an annual payment of Rs. 10,000, and the coins of the Company (minted at Bombay) were to have currency throughout the Mughal empire.
- Thomas Pitt, governor of Madras obtained from the Nawab of Karnataka a grant of five village near Madras in 1708 A.D.
- It was in 1664 A.D. that Colbert, the minister of Louis XIV, organized the French East India company.
- The company started the work and captured the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.
- In 1667 A.D. an expedition was sent under. Francios Caron, who established first French factory in India at Surat.
- In 1669 A.D. Marcara founded another French factory at Masulipatam by securing a patent from the sultan of Golcunda in 1673 A.D.
- Francois Martin obtained from Sher Khan Lodi, governor of Valikondapuram, a site for a factory.
- Thus “began in modest fashion the historic role of Pondicherry”. In Bengal, the French laid the foundation of their famous settlement of Chandannagar in 1690 A.D. on a site granted to them by Shayista Khan.
- The Dutch occupied Pondicherry in 1693 A.D. It was restored to the French by the Treary of Ryswick concluded in September 1697 A.D.
- There was an unfavourable turn in the position of the French in India after the war of Spanish succession had broken out.
- They had to abandon their factories at Surat, Masulipatam and Bautam by the beginning of the 18th century.
- Further deterioration came after the death of Francois Martin on 31st December 1706 A.D. There was again a period of progress under the two wise and active governors, Lenoir and Dumas, between 1720 and 1742 A.D. The French captured Mauritius in 1721 A.D., and Masulipatam, Calicut, Mahe and Yanam in the next two years. They had only commercial objectives in view till now.
- Political motives appeared after 1740 with Dupleix’s ambition to establish a French empire in India.
Causes of the Rivalry of the French and the English
- The commercial and political interest of the English and the French brought them in constant clash with each other.
- The French Governors in the East wanted to expel the English from the Indies.
- In Europe also the English and the French were rivals for power. Their fight for power in Europe was sure to react on their relations in India.
- The strength of the English and the French was on trial during the second Hundred Years’ War (1689-1815).
- Many important issues were involved in this (a) the question of leadership in India, (b) the issue as to which form of religion and government should prevail, (c) the third issue was as to who should control the seas.
- The power which was supreme in the sea was to enjoy the best fruits of commerce and the commands of the newly discovered lands.
- The French leaders and commanders were determined to establish French empire in India.
- The war of the Austrian succession broke out in Europe in 1740. England and France took opposite sides, though they formally declared war against each other only in 1744.
- As a result of this, war broke out between the two nations in India also. So the war of the Austrian succession served as the immediate cause of the First Carnatic War.