British : The French Governor Dupleix

Exact Match
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East India Company | French | Plassey | Anglo-French | Dupleix | Bengal | Buxar | Warren Hastings | South | Permanent Settlement | Tipu | 18th Century | Anarchy | Anglo-Maratha | Revolts | Sanyasi Vidroh | Others Revolts
Dupleix, French governor, had conceived the possibility of using the power of guns to gain support within the country itself. Dupleix was a man of remarkable energy and diplomatic skills with a piercing vision into the realities of local politics, though hampered by lack of military knowledge and by a nervous sensibility which made it difficult for him to work with colleagues. It happened that at this moment a breakdown occurred in the authority of the Nizam of whose dominions the Carnatic with its European settlements formed a part. This provided the opportunity for the second phase of the struggle, which may be termed Dupleix's private war.

In 1748 the old Nizam, a contemporary of Aurangzeb, died and there was also rivalry for the governorship of the Carnatic. French help secured the defeat of the new Nizam's nominee so easily that Dupleix was tempted to go further. On the murder of the new Nizam he was able to place his own nominee on the Hyderabad throne supported by a body of French troops under officer de Bussy. The object of all this was to squeeze Madras by surrounding it with hostile territory. As the plan developed the English Company propped up Muhammad Ali, the son of the governor defeated in 1749. He held out in the rock fortress of Trichinopoly and he became a key factor in the struggle between the two companies. But Robert Clive, a British general, seized Arcot in 1751 with 210 men. This led to the reversal of fortune, French forces surrendered at Trichinopoly and soon their candidate for the Nizam's chair, Chanda Sahib, also died. Dupliex was soon recalled.

The final phase was again an open struggle brought on by the Seven Years War. The English were first in the field but their force was diverted to Bengal. When the French forces arrived in 1758 they were crippled by jealousies and bad leadership. They failed to take Madras and were decisively defeated at Wandiwash in 1760, where de Bussy was taken prisoner. Brave to the last de Bussy endured an agonizing siege in Pondicherry for eight months until its fall. This was the real end of the French bid for Indian power. They reappeared in 1782 but it was just a passing phase only made notable by the genius of their admiral de Suffren.

In this struggle the English owed their success to the successful assertion of sea-power, greater resources, and steadier support from Europe.

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