Archives of Empire

Volume I. From The East India Company to the Suez Canal

Archives of Empire

Book Pages: 832 Illustrations: 28 illus., 1 map Published: December 2003

History > World History, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

A rich collection of primary materials, the multivolume Archives of Empire provides a documentary history of nineteenth-century British imperialism from the Indian subcontinent to the Suez Canal to southernmost Africa. Barbara Harlow and Mia Carter have carefully selected a diverse range of texts that track the debates over imperialism in the ranks of the military, the corridors of political power, the lobbies of missionary organizations, the halls of royal geographic and ethnographic societies, the boardrooms of trading companies, the editorial offices of major newspapers, and far-flung parts of the empire itself. Focusing on a particular region and historical period, each volume in Archives of Empire is organized into sections preceded by brief introductions. Documents including mercantile company charters, parliamentary records, explorers’ accounts, and political cartoons are complemented by timelines, maps, and bibligraphies. Unique resources for teachers and students, these books reveal the complexities of nineteenth-century colonialism and emphasize its enduring relevance to the “global markets” of the twenty-first century.

Tracing the beginnings of the British colonial enterprise in South Asia and the Middle East, From the Company to the Canal brings together key texts from the era of the privately owned British East India Company through the crises that led to the company’s takeover by the Crown in 1858. It ends with the momentous opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Government proclamations, military reports, and newspaper articles are included here alongside pieces by Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Benjamin Disraeli, and many others. A number of documents chronicle arguments between mercantilists and free trade advocates over the competing interests of the nation and the East India Company. Others provide accounts of imperial crises—including the trial of Warren Hastings, the Indian Rebellion (Sepoy Mutiny), and the Arabi Uprising—that highlight the human, political, and economic costs of imperial domination and control.


“It is hard not to get excited over the wealth o f material provided by The East India Company to the Suez Canal (vol. 1) and The Scramble for Africa (vol. 2), which will prove invaluable for both pedagogical and scholarly use.” — Jeanne Dubino , Nineteenth Century Studies

"Archives of Empire will undoubtedly stand as one of the best documentary collections in its field for some time."
— Daniel P. Becker, Itinerario

"[A]n ideal reference for short primary sources to supplement textbook or other readings. . . . [A]n extremely valuable teaching resource for faculty, and it should be read in combination with the other three volumes of the series in order to gain a more complete understanding of the ways in which political and cultural discourse produced and reproduced empire in Victorian Britain." — Brian Caton , Journal of Asian Studies

"[T]his is easily the richest single collection of primary source materials on British imperialism available in print. . . . The first two volumes of Archives of Empire supply us with a rich selection of source material on British imperialism in India and Africa, and when reinforced by the final two volumes, the completed project will provide an unrivaled resource to students of empire. And by its very existence this "reader" will stand as a monument to the remarkable efflorescence of interest in imperial and colonial studies in recent years." — Dane Kennedy, Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History

"This valuable collection of documents from and about the British Empire will prove useful to students and scholars." — Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This volume offers much to the scholar seeking to gain a sense of the period he or she may be embarking upon as a first step to further research. To the general reader it is an invaluable book, well organised and signposted, showing, through the use of raw primary sources, just what was written by contemporaries without the embellishment of the many later interpretative works that have already been written on this period." — Tim Allender, Asian Studies Review

"Volume I provides a rich, sometimes eclectic mix of documents. . . . Archives of Empire promises to be a rich resource for scholars of British imperialism, of the impact of European colonialism, and of the role of empire in British political and popular culture. . . . [T]he first two volumes in the series offer a stimulating introduction to contemporary scholarship in imperial history and post-colonial theory." — Martin Thomas , History

"With selections ranging from company charters, missionary tracts, satirical cartoons, legislative records, to literary accounts, these anthologies present a fascinating glimpse of the many sides of imperialism." — Heidi Hanrahan , English Literature in Transition

Archives of Empire offers a valuable and original intervention in contemporary studies of imperialism, providing a rich array of source material pertaining to the imperial project and the wide-ranging grounds for its critique.” — Anne McClintock, author of Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest

"Archives of Empire is a substantial and valuable project containing a generous sampling of key primary texts for understanding both the crucial events in and the debates around British imperialism in the nineteenth century.” — David Lloyd, coeditor of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital


Availability: In stock
Price: $40.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Barbara Harlow is Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin.

Mia Carter is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas, Austin. They are coeditors of Imperialism and Orientalism: A Documentary Sourcebook.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments xix

General Introduction: Readings in Imperialism and Orientalism xxi

Volume Introduction: From the Company to the Canal 1

I. COMPANY TO CANAL, 1757-1869

INTRODUCTION: Adventure Capitalism: Mercantilism, Militarism, and the British East India Company 13

Chronology of Events 16

List of the Governors and Governors-General of India 17

List of the Newabs of Bengal 18

India under Cornwallis (1792) [map] 19

India under Wellesley (1799) [map] 19

India under Hastings (1832) [map] 20

India under Dalhousie (1856) [map] 20

G.A. (George Alfred) Henty, Excerpt from With Clive in India (n.d.) 21

“Agreement between the Nabob Nudjum-ul-Dowlah and the Company, 12 August 1765” 25

Anonymous, An Inquiry into the Rights of the East India Company of Making War and Peace (1772) 27

East India Company Act, 1773 31

James Mill, “The Constitution of the East India Company” (1817) 39

James Mill, Letter to Durmont (1819) 47

John Stuart Mill. Excerpt from Autobiography (1873) 48

Government of India Act, 1833 49

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Lord Clive” (1840) 59

Samuel Lucas, “The Spoliation of Oude” (1857) 72

Sir Arthur Wellesley, “Memorandum on Marquess Wellesley’s Government of India” (1806) 81


INTRODUCTON: Oriental Despotisms and Political Economies 89

Baron de Montesquieu, “Distinctive Properties of a Despotic Government” (1746) 92

Baron de Montesquieu, Excerpts from Persian Letters (1721) 92

Adam Smith, “America and the East Indies” (1776) 95

Robert Orme, “Of the Government and People of Indostan” (1782) 107

John Stuart Mill, Excerpt from The Principles of Political Economy (1848) 111

John Stuart Mill, Excerpt from “Considerations on Representative Government” (1861) 113

Karl Marx, “On Imperialism in India” (1853) 117


INTRODUCTION: Warren Hastings: Naughty Nabob or National Hero? 131

Warren Hastings, “Warren Hastings to the Court of General Directors, 11 November 1773” 135

Warren Hastings, Excerpt from Memoirs Relative to the State of India (1786) 137

Edmund Burke, “Edmund Burke on the Impeachment of Warren Hastings, 15-19 February 1788” 143

Westminister Hall during the trial of Warren Hastings (1788) [illustration] 146

Fanny Burney, Diary Selections (1788) 155

Edmund Burke, “From the Third Day of Edmund Burke’s Speech Opening the Impeachment, 18 February 1788” 160

Warren Hastings, “From the Address of Warren Hastings in His Defence, 2 June 1791” 163

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Warren Hastings” (1841) 166


INTRODUCTION: Tipu Sultan: Oriental Despot or National Hero? 171

G.A. Henty, Excerpts from The Tiger of Mysore (189?) 173

“Tippoo Sahib at the Lines of Travancore” (1789) [illustration] 174

Major Diram, “Treaties of Peace, and Review of the Consequences of War” (1793) 175

Selected Letters between Tipu and Company Governors-General, 1798-1799 180

Wilkie Collins, “Prologue: The Storming of Seringapatam, 1799” (1869) 195


INTRODUCTION: Orientalism: The East as a Career 203

Mary Shelley, Excerpts from Frankenstein (1813/1831) 206

Benjamin Disraeli, Excerpt from Sibyl, or the Two Nations (1845) 208

Definitions from the Hobson-Jobson Dictionary 209

G.W.F. Hegel, “India” (1822) 219

William Jones, “A Discourse on the Institution of a Society for Inquiring into the History, Civil and Natural, the Antiquities, Arts, Sciences, and Literatures of Asia” (1784) 223

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Minute on Indian Education” (1835) 227

Max Muller, “The Aryan Section” (1876) 239


INTRODUCTION: Ordering “Chaos”: Administering the Law 249

Robert Orme, “Of the Laws and Justice of Indostan” (1782) 251

Sir William Jones, Preface to “Institutes of Hindu Law: Or, the Ordinances of Menu” (1794) 261

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Introductory Report upon the Indian Penal Code” (1837) 268


INTRODUCTION: Decriminalizing the Landscape: Thugs and Poisoners 285

A thug “family tree” (1836) [illustration] 288

Thug depredations (1836) [map] 288

Thugs giving a demonstration of their method of strangulation (1855) [photo] 289

Captain William H. Sleeman, Excerpts from The Thugs or Phansigars of India: History of the Rise and Progress (1839) 297

Fanny Parks Parlby, “A Kutcherry or Kachahri” (1850) 307

Philip Meadows Taylor, “Thugs” (1877) 314

Philip Meadows Taylor, Excerpts from Confessions of a Thug (1837) 315

Captain William H. Sleeman, “Thug Approvers” (1833-1835?) 322


INTRODUCTION: Sati/Suttee: Observances, Abolition, Observations 337

Colonel Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell, “Suttee” [definition] (1903) 340

Lord William Bentinck, “Bentinck’s Minute on Sati, 8 November 1892” 350

Sati Regulation XVII, A.D. 1829 of the Bengal Code, 4 December 1829 361

“The Duties of a Faithful Widow,” from Digest of Hindi Law (n.d.) 364

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, “Petitions and Addresses on the Practice of Suttee (1818-1831)” 369

G.W.F. Hegel, On Sati (1822) 374

Charles Dickens, Death by Fire of Miss Havisham (1861) 375

Jules Verne, “Fogg Rescues a Sati” (1873) 377

Maspero Jingle [advertisement for Maspero Egyptian cigarettes] 379

Ernest Renan, On Suttee (1893) 380

Flora Annie Steel, “The Reformer’s Wife” (1933) 381


INTRODUCTION: The “Asiatic Mystery”: The Sepoy Mutiny, Rebellion, or Revolt 391

Chronology of Events 396

Rulers and Rebels: Some Major Figures 397

Excerpts from The Who’s Who of Indian Martyrs (1969-1973) 400

“Portrait of Nana Sahib” [illustration] 402

“Sepoys, 1757” (1890) [illustration] 406

“Attack of the Mutineers on the Redan Battery at Lucknow, July 30, 1857” (n.d.) [illustration] 406

“The Asiatic Mystery. As Prepared by Sepoy D’Israeli” (1857) [illustration] 407

“Proclamation to the People of Oude on Its Annexati
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3164-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3176-6
Publicity material