Friday, October 2, 2015

Jackdaw's Clive of India

The folder that contains all the documents
 I like reproductions of historical documents.  I am also interested in the East India Company in the Seven Years’ War and no employee of the Company is more famous than Robert Clive.  Born in England in 1725, Clive entered the Company’s service as a writer, but quickly moved into their armed forces.  After a few successful victories, Clive was ordered to assist Mir Jafar, who was attempting to dethrone the current nawab Siraj-ud Dowlah. 

Jackdaw was a company that reproduced historical documents related to a certain era.  This particular folder covers Clive of India, but Jackdaw made at least 47 others.  All of these documents have a number printed in the corner to assist identification.


1.      A plan of the Battle of Plassey.  This is an original plan of three stages of the Battle of Plassey.  A drawing above the plans shows elephants in the army of Siraj-ud Dowlah.

2.      Journal of the Expedition to Arcot.  Arcot was the first battle in which Clive commanded the British forces and this journal was kept by a sergeant and later copied by Dr. James Wilson, a surgeon.

3.      Extracts from the East India Company’s Advices by Thomas Saunders.  In 1753, the French supported the powerful ruler Salabat Jung. This document discusses ways to thwart the French plans.

Jackdaw folder opened
4.      Pages from A Genuine Narrative by J. Z. Holwell.  John Zephaniah Holwell was an employee of the East India Company who survived the Black Hole of Calcutta.  These extracts are from his book about the Black Hole. 

5.      Translation of Siraj-ud Dowlah’s letter to Clive.  In this letter, the Nawab attempts to make peace with the Company after Robert Clive attacked his camp by night.

The Contents of Jackdaw's Clive of India
6.      General return of troops April 10 1757.  This is probably my favorite piece of the entire collection, since it shows each Company unit, the number of its officers, enlisted men, and sick men.  It also shows the artillery, sepoys, and deserters.

7.      Letter from Clive to Governor Roger Drake.  In this letter, Clive discusses forging Admiral Watson’s signature on a treaty allying with Mir Jafar.  Watson signed the real treaty, but not the false one, which was intended to deceive a conspirator named Omichund, who wanted more money.

8.      Contemporary translation of the Treaty between Mir Jafar and the English.  Mir Jafar wanted to become Nawab instead of Siraj-ud Dowlah.  In this treaty, he promises to support the Company and pay their losses when Siraj-ud Dowlah captured Calcutta.

9.      Pages from the London Chronicle #69.  The main article is a description of Calcutta.  Another related article discusses the recent capture of Calcutta by Siraj-ud Dowlah and his troops.  Other interesting columns of the newspaper include: “Foreign Transactions” reports on the Seven Years’ War in Europe; “Country News” covering the capture of two highwaymen; “London”, discussing ships and society; and an editorial crying out against the injustice of not paying seamen who work for the Royal Navy.  This last piece is “manifestly confirmed by facts”, including several citations from the Bible.

10.  A Page from the London Chronicle #70.  This gives more coverage to the capture of Calcutta, as well as the Black Hole (a small prison that was filled with 146 Englishmen and women).

11.  Six broadsheets.  These were produced by Jackdaw, and cover Robert Clive, The Rival Companies, The Siege of Arcot, The Black Hole of Calcutta, The Battle of Plassey, and India After Plassey.

12.  A Table of Contents.  This gives a short summary & background on each document.   Among other things, it reproduces a painting of the 39th Regiment (which fought at Plassey) by David Morier, as well as an East India Company cipher to conceal messages.

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