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East India Company Papers

Date range: 18th-19th centuries

Medium: Manuscript

The Library holds several important collections of documents relating to the East India Company.

Many originally belonged to Richard Johnson, who in 1780 was appointed deputy to Nathaniel Middleton, the Company’s resident at the court of Asaf-ud-Dawlah, Nawab of Oudh at Lucknow; in this lucrative position Johnson became the patron of poets and acquired a large number of Sanskrit and Persian manuscripts and miniatures. He later served in Hyderabad and Calcutta, before returning to England and serving as MP for Milborne Port from 1791 to 1794.

His papers include correspondence with Lord Cornwallis, Warren Hastings and others, reports, statements, legal papers and notes (English MSS 173–197). These are useful for anyone interested in Warren Hastings, in Indian affairs during the second half of the 18th century, and particularly in the management of the East India Company. The papers were later acquired by the indefatigable manuscript collector Sir Thomas Phillipps.

Another collection belonged to John Charles Mason (1798–1881), who in 1837 was appointed secretary of the newly-formed Marine branch of the East India Company, and in 1859 became secretary of the Marine and Transport Department (English MSS 141–169).

Mason's extensive papers are concerned with the Bombay and Bengal Marines, the Indian Navy and Bengal Pilot Service; they range in date from 1787 to 1885. Among the topics covered are arrangements for the transport of troops during the Indian Rebellion. There are also detailed records of ships sailing between England and India from the early 17th century onwards.

There is also a small collection of 18th-century manuscript maps and charts of India and the Red Sea, formerly belonging to Warren Hastings (English MS 469); and a collection of papers on the tea trade, 1784–1828 (English MS 523).

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Further information:

Catalogues available online via ELGAR (see links above).


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