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No Change

In 1775 the East India company sent out Lord Pigot with instructions to restore the Rajah of Tanjore to his Madras territories. These had been annexed in 1773 by the Nawob of the Carnatic. In fact the Nawob was a puppet; the employees of the East India company were the real powers in Madras and Bengal. One of the principal persons in this regard was Paul Benfield (1740-1810). Benfield was nominally answerable to the Court of Directors of the East India company: in reality he was more powerful than his employers. The unlucky Lord Pigot was thrown into a dungeon by company troops (by order of Benfield) where he died in 1775. Benfield amassed one of the largest fortunes ever brought home from India. He was recalled in 1781 as a result of the Pigot scandal and successfully petitioned to return to his position in India. The vote in his favour in the Court of Proprietors of the East India company was 368 to 302. Edmund Burke had purchased a shareholding in the East India company in order to block Benfield’s reinstatement. One of his “Heads of Objections” read;
“That the immense Magnitude of the Sums alleged by him to be due to the said Paul Benfield, furnishes a just Cause to doubt, whether the Money (if really advanced as pretended) could be acquired by lawful means, considering Mr. Benfield’s Rank in the Service, the nature of his Trade, and the time of his residence in India.” Paul Benfield was a man of the world. The shareholders of the East India company were also beneficiaries of the extortion and theft practised in India and if appearances could be maintained, they would not and did not change the status quo.