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The history of the Company during the reigns of the first Contests two Stuarts and the period of the Commonwealth is mainly Dutch and occupied with their contests with Dutch competitors and English English rivals.


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The massacre of Amboyna (February 16, 1623) is the Massacre turning-point in the rivalry with the Dutch. On the one boyna. hand it enlisted the patriotic sympathies of Englishmen at home on behalf of their countrymen in the East. On the other hand it compelled the Company to retire from the Eastern Archipelago, and concentrate their efforts on the peninsula of India.

Under Charles I the extensive trading privileges of the Courten's


Company were seriously limited. Sir William Courten, tion.
through the influence of Endymion Porter, a gentleman of
the bedchamber, obtained from the king a licence to trade
to the East Indies independently of the East India Company.
His association, which, from a settlement established by it at
Assada, in Madagascar, was often spoken of as the Assada
Company, was a thorn in the side of the East India Company
for many years.


Under the Commonwealth the intervention of the Protector Cromwas obtained for the settlement of the Company's differences relations both with their Dutch and with their English competitors. to the Company. By the Treaty of Westminster in 1654, Cromwell obtained from the Dutch payment of a sum of £85,000 as compensation for the massacre of Amboyna and for the exclusion of the Company from trade with the Spice Islands. Difficulties arose, however, as to the apportionment of this sum among the several joint stocks of which the Company's capital was then composed, and, pending their settlement, Cromwell borrowed £50,000 of the sum for the expenses of the State. He thus anticipated the policy subsequently adopted by Montagu and his successors of compelling the Company to grant public loans as a price for their privileges.


Ultimately the Company obtained from Cromwell in 1657 well's a charter under which the rump of Courten's Association

charter of


The Company after the Re

was united with the East India Company, and the different stocks of the Company were united into a new joint stock. No copy of this charter is known to exist. Perhaps it was considered impolitic after the Restoration to preserve any evidence of favours obtained from the Protector.

During the period after the Restoration the fortunes of the Company are centred in the remarkable personality of storation. Sir Josiah Child, and are depicted in the vivid pages of Macaulay. He has described how Child converted the Company from a Whig to a Tory Association, how he induced James II to become a subscriber to its capital, how his policy was temporarily baffled by the Revolution, how vigorously he fought and how lavishly he bribed to counteract the growing influence of the rival English Company.


charter of

Marks of royal favour are conspicuous in the charters of the Restoration period.

The charter granted by Charles II on April 3, 1661, conferred new and important privileges on the Company. Their constitution remained practically unaltered, except that the joint-stock principle was recognized by giving each member one vote for every £500 subscribed by him to the Company's stock. But their powers were materially increased.

They were given power and command' over their fortresses, and were authorized to appoint governors and other officers for their government. The governor and council of each factory were empowered to judge all persons belonging to the said Governor and Company or that shall be under them, in all causes, whether civil or criminal, according to the laws. of this kingdom, and to execute judgement accordingly.' And the chief factor and council of any place for which there was no governor were empowered to send offenders for punishment, either to a place where there was a governor and council, or to England.

The Company were also empowered to send ships of war, men, or ammunition for the security and defence of their factories and places of trade, and to choose commanders


and officers over them and to give them power and authority, by commission under their common seal or otherwise, to continue or make peace or war with any people that are not Christians, in any places of their trade, as shall be for the most advantage and benefit of the said Governor and Company, and of their trade.' They were further empowered to erect fortifications, and supply them with provisions and ammunition, duty free, as also to transport and carry over such number of men, being willing thereunto, as they shall think fit,' to govern them in a legal and reasonable manner, to punish them for misdemeanour, and to fine them for breach of orders. They might seize unlicensed persons and send them to England, punish persons in their employment for offences, and in case of their appealing against the sentence seize them and send them as prisoners to England, there to receive such condign punishment as the merits of the offenders' cause should require, and the laws of the nation should allow.

ments for adminis

With regard to the administration of justice, nothing Arrangeappears to have been done towards carrying into effect the provisions of the charter of 1661 till the year 1678. At tration of justice at Madras, which was at that time the chief of the Company's Madras settlements in India 1, two or more officers of the Company teenth used before 1678 to sit as justices in the choultry' to dispose century. of petty cases, but there was no machinery for dealing with serious crimes 2.

In 1678 the agent and council at Madras resolved that, under the charter of 1661, they had power to judge all persons living under them in all cases, whether criminal or civil, according to the English laws, and to execute judgement accordingly, and it was determined that the governor and council should sit in the chapel in the fort on every Wednesday and Saturday to hear and judge all causes. But this high

1 The settlement of Madras or Fort St. George had been erected into a Presidency in 1651.

2 See Wheeler, Madras in Olden Times.


in seven

Grant of

court was not to supersede the justices of the choultry, who were still to hear and decide petty cases.

In the meantime the port and island of Bombay, which Bombay had, in 1661, been ceded to the British Crown as a part of the Company. dower of Catherine of Braganza, were, by a charter of 1669,

to the

granted to the East India Company to be held of the Crown, as of the Manor of Greenwich in free and common soccage,' for the annual rent of £10.

And by the same charter the Company were authorized to take into their service such of the king's officers and soldiers as should then be on the island, and should be willing to serve them. The officers and men who volunteered their services under this power became the cadets of the Company's 'Ist European Regiment,' or 'Bombay Fusiliers,' afterwards the 103rd Foot.

The Company were authorized, through their court of committees, to make laws, orders, ordinances, and constitutions for the good government and otherwise of the port and island and of the inhabitants thereof and, by their governors and other officers, to exercise judicial authority, and have power and authority of government or command, in the island, and to repel any force which should attempt to inhabit its precincts without licence, or to annoy the inhabitants. Moreover, the principal governor of the island was empowered 'to use and exercise all those powers and authorities, in cases of rebellion, mutiny, or sedition, of refusing to serve in wars, flying to the enemy, forsaking colours or ensigns, or other offences against law, custom, and discipline military, in as large and ample manner, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, as any captain-general of our army by virtue of his office has used and accustomed, and may or might lawfully do.'

The transition of the Company from a trading association to a territorial sovereign invested with powers of civil and military government is very apparent in these provisions.

Further attributes of sovereignty were soon afterwards conferred

powers of


By a charter of 1677 the Company were empowered to Charter of 1677 coin money at Bombay to be called by the name of rupees, granting pices, and budjrooks,' or such other names as the Company might think fit. These coins were to be current in the East Indies, but not in England. A mint for the coinage of pagodas had been established at Madras some years before.

tration of

in seven

The commissioners sent from Surat1 to take possession of AdminisBombay on behalf of the Company made a report in which justice at they requested that a judge-advocate might be appointed, Bombay as the people were accustomed to civil law. Apparently, as teenth century. a temporary measure, two courts of judicature were formed, the inferior court consisting of a Company's civil officer assisted by two native officers, and having limited jurisdiction, and the supreme court consisting of the deputy governor and council, whose decisions were to be final and without appeal, except in cases of the greatest necessity.




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By a charter of 1683, the Company were given full power Charter of 1683 to declare and make peace and war with any of the heathen giving nations' being natives of the parts of Asia and America power to mentioned in the charter, and to 'raise, arm, train, and forces and muster such military forces as to them shall seem requisite martial and necessary; and to execute and use, within the said law, and plantations, forts, and places, the law called the martial law, ing Court for the defence of the said forts, places, and plantations miralty. against any foreign invasion or domestic insurrection or rebellion.' But this power was subject to a proviso reserving to the Crown' the sovereign right, powers, and dominion over all the forts and places of habitation,' and 'power of making peace and war, when we shall be pleased to interpose our royal authority thereon.'

By the same charter the king established a court of judicature, to be held at such place or places as the Company might direct, and to consist of one person learned in the


Bombay was then subordinate to Surat, where a factory had been established as early as 1612, and where there was a president with a council of eight members.

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