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Title: Lord William Bentinck in Madras, 1803-7
Author: Gupta, Maya
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1969
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The Governorship of Lord William Bentinck from 1803-7 is a crucial phase in the evolution of the Madras administration. Between 1799 and 1803 the Madras Government had acquired vast territories which presented new problems in the administration of both land revenue and justice. The avowed policy of the Government of India for the extension of the Bengal Zamindary system to Madras was challenged. The alternative was the Rayatwari system which Bentinck ultimately chose after a thorough enquiry into the matter. The administration of justice in both the old and newly acquired areas of the Presidency and the creation of a police force were the next important issues that Bentinck had to face. He examined the anomalies resulting from the existence of a dual judicial system and aimed at establishing a regular and uniform system of justice. In the creation of a modern police force his task was made difficult by the hostility of some of the judges of the Supreme Court, The French menace and the Anglo-Maratha wars threatened the security of British possessions in South India, As the Governor of Madras, Bentinck played a significant role in these matters of all-India importance. The question of security also influenced his relations with the dependent Indian chiefs. The costly wars and military preparations aggravated the depressed treasury of Madras. Here Bentinck was confronted with the task of economising without impairing the efficiency of the administration. Among his various financial measures, the creation of a Government Bank was a remarkable innovation. The sudden outbreak of the mutiny at Vellore in July 1806 led to his recall. The mutiny had since then figured prominently not only in Bentinck's career but also in the history of the British in South India. This thesis examines the Vellore mutiny in the last two chapters. The first four chapters deal respectively with foreign policy, land administration, administration of justice and finances.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral