Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/6516
Title: A Word of His Will Do It: The Importance of Patronage and Kinship in the English East India Company in the Early Eighteenth Century
Contributor(s): Neil, Jean Margaret (author); Brasted, Howard  (supervisor); Wright, Denis (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2007
Copyright Date: 2007
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/6516
Abstract: The topic of this thesis is the importance of patronage and kinship in the English East India Company in the early eighteenth century. The major primary source utilised is the extensive collection of papers of Sir Robert Cowan. Governor of Bombay. Corroborating evidence is provided from his documents, as they are not limited to Cowan's letters, but contain copies of mail he received. Further evidence has been gathered from other primary source collections including those of John Drummond and John Scattergood. The common theme for a1l the individuals collectively studied is their employment in, or links with, the English East India Company in the first half of the eighteenth century. This form of interconnectedness fulfils the requirements for a prosopographical study. Cowan provides the missing link between the men in the upper echelons of business and society, like his patrons, the Gould family, and those of lesser ranks, for example Henry Kellett, who aspired to take advantage of careers in the East India Company service, but lacked the monetary or social standing to gain promotion. Some of Cowan's patronage network connections were made by self-recommendation, by third party introductions, or through kinship ties of varying kinds. Cowan worked tirelessly on his own private trade deals, but he did not neglect the Company's business, because he knew that without good results in that sphere he would not be able to hold his position as Governor. The majority of Cowan·s influential patrons were involved in the Directorate of the East India Company, and there were various methods of repayment for their generous sponsorship. Cowan also bestowed patronage on those he deemed to be worthy, or, more particularly, on those who could assist him to make his fortune. Patronage was not restricted to the traditional vertical manner, which is granted from 'above', but was occasionally granted from 'below', and there were instances where it involved a reciprocal form, that is amongst peers. Cowan's papers provide a valuable insight into the network of patrons and clients, and the kinship connections that prevailed in the English East India Company in the early eighteenth century.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 2007 - Jean Margaret Neil
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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