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Streynsham Master's Office: Accounting for Collectivity, Order, and Authority at Fort St. George

Streynsham Master's Office: Accounting for Collectivity, Order, and Authority at Fort St. George

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter Three Streynsham Master's Office: Accounting for Collectivity, Order, and Authority at Fort St. George
Source:
Indian Ink
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226620428.003.0003

By the second half of the seventeenth century, the English East India Company had begun to concentrate its efforts on trading cloth and other products from the Indian subcontinent. This produced a fourfold increase in the value of Asian imports to Britain between the 1660s and the 1680s. The seats of this unprecedented process of capital accumulation were first the Coromandel Coast and, later, the Bay of Bengal. In order to tap into this trade the Company founded a series of factories, or trading stations, in India. Those on the west coast were controlled from Surat, and later from Bombay. On the east coast the key location was Fort St. George, where Streynsham Master was sent out from London in 1675 to take up the position of agent. How then are these processes that connect power, knowledge, and exchange through the routine forms of writing undertaken in the Company's Indian factories to be understood as part of the making of global trade? This chapter focuses on how the Company worked, including the forms of writing and accounting that it used.

Keywords:   English East India Company, Fort St. George, Streynsham Master, writing, accounting, trade, factories, power, knowledge, exchange

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