Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mill, James (fl.1744)

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1408360Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37 — Mill, James (fl.1744)1894Henry Manners Chichester

MILL, JAMES (fl. 1744), Indian colonel, devised a project for the conquest of India, and appears to have submitted it in 1744 to Francis, duke of Lorraine, husband of Maria Theresa of Austria, who at the time was commanding the imperialist army against the Turks. His scheme, which is given in the appendix to Bolt's ‘Affairs of Bengal,’ sets forth that the Moghul empire was overflowing with gold and silver, and had always been weak and defenceless. It was a miracle that no European nation with a maritime power had attempted the conquest of Bengal. By a single stroke infinite wealth might be acquired, which would counter-balance the mines of Brazil and Peru. The country might be conquered or laid under contribution as easily as the Spaniards conquered the naked Indians of America. A rebel subject named Aliverdi Khan had torn away the three provinces of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa from the Moghul emperor, and had acquired treasure to the amount of 30,000,000l. sterling. The provinces were open to the sea, and three ships with fifteen hundred to two thousand regular troops would suffice for the operation. The British government would co-operate for the sake of the plunder and the extension of their trade. The East India Company had better be left alone. No company could keep a secret, and the East India Company was so distracted as to be incapable of any firm resolution. In 1743 ‘James Mill, esq.,’ was appointed captain and second in command of the East India Company's military in Bengal (Gent. Mag. 1743, p. 275). Bolt described Mill as a colonel who had served twenty years in India. The India office contains no lists of officers in the employment of the East India Company of so early a date.

[Wheeler's Early Records of British India, p. 269 et seq., on the authority of Bolt's Affairs of Bengal.]

H. M. C.