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By Anthony Webster

John Palmer used to be the main influential and wealthiest British service provider in British India for the 1st 3 many years of the 19th century. He ran an `agency house', a world advertisement enterprise occupied with banking, the opium alternate, transport, plantation agriculture and exchange with Britain, Europe, China, south east Asia and the united states. while his enterprise went bankrupt in 1830, hundreds of thousands of individuals, eu and Indian, have been ruined, triggering the worst advertisement concern in British India as much as that point. This e-book, the 1st significant research of a British service provider condo in India, provides an account of either one of Palmer's enterprise and private existence, displaying how his own family members and situations formed his advertisement thoughts, with finally disastrous results for Anglo-Indian kin in addition to his consumers. ANTHONY WEBSTER is Head of Humanities on the collage of important Lancashire.

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Additional resources for The Richest East India Merchant: The Life and Business of John Palmer of Calcutta, 1767-1836 (Worlds of the East India Company)

Example text

War with the Indian states and the escalating European conflict of 1793 to 1815, which spread to Asia, disrupted international commerce. The East India Charter Act of 1813 compounded the uncertainty by opening the trade between Britain and India to new merchants arriving from Britain. The agency houses had to adjust nimbly to these changes in the commercial environment, and the young John Palmer had to learn very quickly indeed. Although few records of Palmer’s career in the 1790s have survived, it is clear that he achieved notable early success.

Non-Company European business had always depended upon Indian intermediaries to organise and deal with Indian producers and merchants. Every agency house employed its banian, an established Indian merchant, or merchant family, who would orchestrate the house’s dealings with the local economy. Inevitably this drew leading Europeans into personal relationships with prominent Indians, a tendency which softened the trend towards racial separatism. For example, by the late 1820s the prominent Indian entrepreneur Dwarkanath Tagore became a close personal friend and confidant of a wide circle of European businessmen, including John Palmer.

Engaged in extensive banking operations, in particular lending heavily to the ruler, the Nizam of Hyderabad. John provided his brother with advice, intelligence and capital, though the scale of his investment in the Hyderabad house is unclear. 68 So serious were the allegations that the scandal reached the East India Company authorities in London, who ultimately ordered William Palmer to cease his banking activities. In fact, the Hyderabad firm continued to operate clandestinely for many years, but the scandal was extremely damaging for John Palmer & Co.

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