The Civil and Military Patronage of the East India Company, 1784-1858

2010-08-25T09:13:13Z (GMT) by John Michael Bourne
This thesis is concerned with the role of East India patronage in British social history. It is a study of the recruitment, social origins and training of the East India Company’s civil and military servants, and of the men who recruited them. The Directors of the East India Company presided over a great reservoir of middle-class patronage in a society where access to genteel employment was monopolised by the landed political establishment. The patronage system which, after due regard for their own personal and family interests, they administered with a surprising degree of disinterestedness and integrity, became the means by which the poor and humble were able to realise aspirations to gentility and obtain social status for themselves and their families. India offered few attractions in its own right; its appeal to recruits to the Indian army and civil service lay in the social and economic realities of British middle-class life. In face of these facts the East India Company's attempts to instill in its servants an understanding and appreciation of Indian society and culture proved hapless. The remarkable institutions of' Haileybury and Addiscombe serve only as a reminder of a great opportunity tragically missed.

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