CARNATIC WAR. Two large volumes of Parliamentary Reports on the war of 1812-13.
REPORTS FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SECRECY APPOINTED TO ENQUIRE INTO THE CAUSES OF THE WAR IN THE CARNATIC, AND OF THE CONDITION OF THE BRITISH POSSESSIONS IN THOSE PARTS 1781-2. Reprinted By Order of the House 1806. House of Commons 1806, large folio. 2 large (27mm x 42mm, 11ins x 16ins) folio volumes containing the full Six Reports and an additional Narrative. Each volume has its own title page (as Vol VII and Vol VIII of the series -see note below) the pagination is continuous throughout the reports vol VII and again in Vol VIII. Both volumes are in are in generally excellent condition, bound in later but old heavy buff coloured buckram cloth with red and green leather gilt title labels, the boards are rather soiled with wear at the corners and some rubbing to the spines but they are very sound copies, although having no library marks apart from two small paper numeral labels at the base of the spine these volumes were once in the British Home Office Library, there is a little occasional light foxing. The volumes comprise:”Vol VII EAST INDIES – CARNATIC WARS, &c 1781 & 1782″ – First Report from the Committee of Secrecy 27th June – 9th July 1781 – 268pp. Second Report &c reported by the Lord Advocate of Scotland (Henry Dundas Esq) 27th June 1781 pp271-589. Third Report &c (being a Supplement to the First and Second Reports, 4th Feb 1782. pp593-697. Fourth Report &c, 6th Feb 1782 pp641-710. Fifth Report &c The First Mahratta War, 1st March 1782 pp 713-1066. “Vol VIII. EAST-INDIES – CARNATIC WAR &c 1781 & 1782.” Fifth Report &c (continuation) xxiii.270pp. Sixth Report of the Committee of Secrecy appointed to enquire into the Causes of the War in the Carnatic, and of the Condition of the British Possessions in those Parts. Reported by the Lord Advocate of Scotland, 8th March 1782 pp272-1008. Copies of Two Narratives from the Governor General to Edward Wheler, Esquire; relative to the Affair at Benares, and a Copy of a Letter in the Secret Department pp 1009-1105. Index 39pp. [The volumes are entirely complete, the missing numbers in the pagination being explained by blanks, unnumbered title pages, etc.] This massive work is undoubtedly the supreme authority on the Carnatic Wars. The narrative of events is reported day by day, sometimes hour by hour, and often with the unpolished immediacy of those who were writing under the strains of a brutal and harrowing war. Here are some of the great moments of the military history of India in the days of the Company, such as Col Baillie’s defeat and the virtual annihilation of the British at the hands of Haidar Ali -“the severest military defeat that the English, or, indeed, any military power had suffered at the hands of a purely Indian army” (Sir Penderel Moon). The volumes are hugely comprehensive. As well as dealing with the Carnatic, the Mahratta Wars of 1774 and 1778, the Company’s state of readiness, its military and civil contact with the Native States, trade, religion, customs, etc, the reports throw light on a vast range of other factors. There is, for example, the first account of George Bogle’s arrival in Tibet recorded in a letter from Warren Hastings to the Court of Directors of the HEICo. Sir Penderel Moon sums up the political significance of the Reports thus: “On news reaching London of the irruption of Haidar Ali into the Carnatic and of Baillie’s defeat, a Secret Committee of the House of Commons was formed under the Chairmanship of Henry Dundas to inquire into the causes of the war: it was still sitting when Francis arrived home and this afforded him a grand opportunity of launching the campaign of revenge against Hastings. The Committee probed into the Mahratta War and other matters besides the war in the Carnatic, and fed by Francis with mailicious representations, it drew up reportsawhich besides castigating Rumboldt cast severe reflections on Hastings and on Hornby, the President of Bombay Council.” These Reports comprise volumes VII and VIII of a massive series of 15 volumes of Reports of the House of Commons Committees which were ordered by the House to be specially reprinted in 1803-6 in an attempt to order the publishing practice of Parliament. This ia the beginning of the system of reports or blue books which came in the 19th century to be such a comprehensive experession the far reaching interest and influence of the British Parliament. They are complete in themselves: some of the other volumes concern East Indian Affairs of a different nature. The Index volume refers to Parliament ordering 1500 copies to be reprinted and they seldom appear outside major institutional libraries
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