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Breitmeyer, Hugo Charles (1984) The Triumph of the Munro System: The Decision-Making Process of the East India Company With Special Reference to the Administration of Madras, 1790-1827. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this study is an analysis of the administrative system of the East India Company from 1780 to 1827 with special reference to the Madras Presidency. The questions examined are all essentially concerned with the decision-making processes, both in London and in Madras. How did the different bodies who together administered India relate to each other? How were policies conceived, adopted and implemented? To what extent were the formal, official channels of communication and authority adhered to, bye-passed or simply ignored? Could individuals within the Company influence its policies and, if so, what methods might they employ? The developments that occurred in the Company's revenue and judicial administrations in Madras during a period of British expansion and consolidation have been selected for this study. The ideas behind the Permanent Settlement of Bengal and the reasons for extending it into the territories of Madras are examined together with the development of the Village Lease and Ryotwari Systems in South India. Similarly, the introduction of the Cornwallis Legal System into Madras and the subsequent attempts to modify it are investigated. At the same time, the relationships between the interacting components of the British administration of India are scrutinised. Within this context, a number of interest or pressure groups in centres as far apart as Madras, Westminster and the Company's headquarters in Leadenhall Street are identified and their impact on the Company's policies evaluated. Because of the central role that he came to play in the debates and the significant influence he exercised on the local and home authorities, the career of Thomas Munro has been employed to chart the developments in the Company's administration and the changes in its structure and policies. In the course of the close examination of Munro's career for the light it sheds on these and the decision-making processes of the British administration of India, other aspects of the Company's administration are also analysed, in particular recruitment and promotion in its services. The operation of patronage and influence on career structures is evaluated and a number of conclusions about the ways in which the East India Company's bureaucracy was staffed and operated are drawn. In addition, the attempts by the Company to introduce a coherent training programme for its employees in India, especially the attempts to encourage its civil servants to master the local languages and the impact of these on appointments, are examined. Lastly, in the course of this study, a general survey of the relations between the British and the Indian rulers and peoples of South India between 1790 and 1827 emerges. The research of various authors on different aspects of the history of South India and of the Company in Britain during this period are brought together. The thesis is based on research into a wide range of contemporary sources, official and unofficial, including the Munro Papers.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:32

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