formidable danger appeared in the British camp, in the form of the first sepoy mutiny. This was quelled by Major (afterwards Sir Hector) Munro, who ordered twenty-four of the ringleaders to be blown from guns, an old Mogul punishment. In 1764 Major Munro won the decisive battle of Buxar, which laid Oudh at the feet of the conquerors, and brought the Mogul emperor as a suppliant to the British camp.
Meanwhile the council at Calcutta had twice found the opportunity they desired of selling the government of Bengal to a new nawab. But in 1765 Clive (now Baron Clive of Plassey, in the peerage of Ireland) arrived at Calcutta, Clive’s reforms. as governor of Bengal for the second time, to settle the entire system of relations with the native powers. Two objects stand out conspicuously in his policy. First, he sought to acquire the substance, though not the name, of territorial power, by using the authority of the Mogul emperor for so much as he wished, and for no more; and, secondly, he desired to purify the company’s service by prohibiting illicit gains, and at the same time guaranteeing a reasonable remuneration from honest sources. In neither respect were the details of his plans carried out by his successors. But the beginning of the British administration of India dates from this second governorship of Clive, just as the origin of the British empire in India dates from his victory at Plassey. Clive’s first step was to hurry up from Calcutta to Allahabad, and there settle in person the fate of half northern India. Oudh was given back to the nawab wazir, on condition of his paying half a million sterling towards the expenses of the war. The provinces of Allahabad and Kora, forming the lower part of the Doab, were handed over to Shah Alam himself, who in his turn granted to the company the diwani or financial administration of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, together with the Northern Circars. A puppet nawab was still maintained at Murshidabad, who received an annual allowance of about half a million sterling; and half that amount was paid to the emperor as tribute from Bengal. Thus was constituted the dual system of government, by which the British received all the revenues and undertook to maintain an army for the defence of the frontier, while the criminal jurisdiction vested in the nawab. In Indian phraseology, the company was diwan and the nawab was nazim. As a matter of general administration, the actual collection of the revenues still remained for some years in the hands of native officials. In attempting to reorganize and purify the company’s service, Clive undertook a task yet more difficult than to partition the valley of the Ganges. The officers, civil and military alike, were all tainted with the common corruption. Their legal salaries were absolutely insignificant, but they had been permitted to augment them ten and a hundredfold by means of private trade and gifts from the native powers. Despite the united resistance of the civil servants, and an actual mutiny of two hundred military officers, Clive carried through his reforms. Both private trade and the receipt of presents were absolutely prohibited for the future, while a substantial increase of pay was provided out of the monopoly of salt.
Lord Clive quitted India for the third and last time in 1767. Between that date and the arrival of Warren Hastings in 1772 nothing of importance occurred in Bengal beyond the terrible famine of 1770, which is officially reported Warren Hastings. to have swept away one-third of the inhabitants. The dual system of government, however, established by Clive, had proved a failure. Warren Hastings, a tried servant of the company, distinguished alike for intelligence, for probity and for knowledge of oriental manners, was nominated governor by the court of directors, with express instructions to carry out a predetermined series of reforms. In their own words, the court had resolved to “stand forth as diwan, and to take upon themselves, by the agency of their own servants, the entire care and administration of the revenues.” In the execution of this plan, Hastings removed the exchequer from Murshidabad to Calcutta, and for the first time appointed European officers, under the now familiar title of collectors, to superintend the revenue collections and preside in the civil courts. The urgency of foreign affairs, and subsequently internal strife at the council table, hindered Hastings from developing farther the system of civil administration, a task finally accomplished by Lord Cornwallis.
Though Hastings always prided himself specially upon that reform, as well as upon the improvements he introduced into the collection of the revenues from salt and opium, his name will be remembered in history for the boldness First Governor-General. and success of his foreign policy. From 1772 to 1774 he was governor of Bengal; from 1774 to 1785 he was the first titular governor-general of India, presiding over a council nominated, like himself, not by the company, but by an act of parliament, known as the Regulating Act. In his domestic policy he was greatly hampered by the opposition of Sir Philip Francis; but, so far as regards external relations with Oudh, with the Mahrattas, and with Hyder Ali, he was generally able to compel assent to his own measures. His treatment of Oudh may here be passed over as not being material to the general history of India, while the personal aspects of his rule are discussed in a separate article (see Hastings, Warren). To explain his Mahratta policy, it will be necessary to give a short retrospective sketch of the history of that people.
Sivaji the Great, as already mentioned, died in 1680, while Aurangzeb was still on the throne. The family of Sivaji produced no great names, either among those who continued to be the nominal chiefs of the Mahratta Rise of the Mahrattas. confederacy, with their capital at Satara, or among the rajas of Kolhapur and Tanjore. All real power passed into the hands of the peshwa, or Brahman minister, who founded in his turn an hereditary dynasty at Poona, dating from the beginning of the 18th century. Next rose several Mahratta generals, who, though recognizing the suzerainty of the peshwa, carved out for themselves independent kingdoms in different parts of India, sometimes far from the original home of the Mahratta race. Chief among these generals were the gaikwar in Gujarat, Sindhia and Holkar in Malwa, and the Bhonsla raja of Berar and Nagpur. At one time it seemed probable that the Mahratta confederacy would expel the Mahommedans even from northern India; but the decisive battle of Panipat, won by the Afghans in 1761, gave a respite to the Delhi empire. The Mahratta chiefs never again united heartily for a common purpose, though they still continued to be the most formidable military power in India. In especial, they dominated over the British settlement of Bombay on the western coast, which was the last of the three presidencies to feel the lust of territorial ambition. For more than a hundred years, from its acquisition in 1661 to the outbreak of the first Mahratta war in 1775, the British on the west coast possessed no territory outside the island of Bombay and their fortified factory at Surat.
The Bombay government was naturally emulous to follow the example of Madras and Bengal, and to establish its influence at the court of Poona by placing its own nominee upon the throne. The attempt took form in 1775 in the First Mahratta War. treaty of Surat, by which Raghunath Rao, one of the claimants to the throne of the peshwa, agreed to cede Salsette and Bassein to the British, in consideration of being himself restored to Poona. The military operations that followed are known as the first Mahratta War. Warren Hastings, who in his capacity of governor-general claimed a right of control over the decisions of the Bombay government, strongly disapproved of the treaty of Surat, but, when war once broke out, he threw the whole force of the Bengal army into the scale. One of his favourite officers, General Goddard, marched across the peninsula, and conquered the rich province of Gujarat almost without a blow. Another, Captain Popham, stormed the rock-fortress of Gwalior, which was regarded as the key of Hindustan. These brilliant successes atoned for the disgrace of the convention of Wargaon in 1779, when the Mahrattas dictated terms to a Bombay force, but the war was protracted until 1782. It was then closed by the treaty of Salbai, which practically restored the status quo. Raghunath Rao, the English claimant, was set aside; Gujarat was restored, and only Salsette and some other small islands were retained by the English.