Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/176

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

172 EARLY EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS. Maratha horsemen. In 1663, the city of Surat, although not the English factory, had been pillaged by the Mardtha leader, Sivajf. Accordingly, it was thought wiser to withdraw the seat of the Western Presidency from Surat to Bombay. This was ordered in 1685, and accomplished two years afterwards (1687). Early English Settlements in Bengal. — The settlements in Bengal were later in time, and at first more precarious, than those in Madras or Bombay. Small agencies, offshoots from Surat, were opened at Ajmere, at Agra, and as far east as Patna, by 1620; but access was not gained to the Bengal seaboard until 1634. In that year zfarmdn was granted by the Mughal Emperor, allowing the Company to trade in Bengal. Their ships, however, were to resort only to Pippli, in Orissa, a port now left far inland by the sea, and of which the very site has to be guessed. The factory at Huglf in Lower Bengal was estab- lished in 1640, and that at Balasor in Orissa in 1642. Three years later, in 1645, Mr. Gabriel Broughton, surgeon of the Hopewell, obtained from the Emperor Shah Jah&n exclusive privileges of trading for the Company in Bengal, as a reward for his professional services. In 1681, the English factories in Bengal were separated from Madras; and Mr. Hedges was appointed agent and governor of the Company's affairs in the Bay of Bengal, and of the subordinate factories at Kasimbazar, Patna, Balasor, Maldah, and Dacca. But the English had not yet acquired any territorial possessions in Bengal, as they had in Madras and Bombay. Their little settlements, planted in the midst of populous cities, were exposed to every outburst of hostility or caprice of the Native governors. In 1686, the Nawab of Bengal, Shaista Khan, issued orders confiscating all the English factories in Bengal. The merchants at Hugh, under their president, Job Charnock, retreated about 26 miles down the river Hugh' to Sutanatf, then a village amid the swamps, now a northern quarter of Calcutta. Here they laid the foundations of the original Fort William; and in 1700 they purchased from Prince Azfm, son of the Emperor Aurangzeb, the three villages of Sutanatf, Kalikata, and Govindpur, which were united to form the modern Calcutta.