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Opponents of the legislation also feared that its passage would have given Charles James Fox, Edmund Burke, and their fellow Whigs a major partisan advantage by giving them control over large amounts of Indian patronage. The bill was not enacted because of George III’s personal dislike of Charles Fox. Nursing an active dislike of the Fox-North Coalition, Colonial Beginnings 27 which parliament had forced on him earlier in the year, he ignored several decades of political convention of monarchs generally deferring to parliament for their ministries and engineered a political coup against his adversaries.

It applies both to the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries, when it was primarily a commercial enterprise, and to a later period when colonial administration became its main responsibility. During the seventeenth century, the Company had devised three strategies for controlling its employees’ actions in Asia, which were generally successful for the time but later on during the following century, as we shall soon see, proved largely inadequate. 8 While the Company’s trust network worked well during the seventeenth century to ensure profitability, over the course of the following century it began to unravel.

62 From such confusion about the Company’s true role, Burke argued, arose many abuses in its rule over India. Although Burke was critical of previous Muslim rulers of India in his 1783 speech in favor of Fox’s India Bill, characterizing their invasions of the country as generally being “ferocious, bloody, and wasteful in the extreme,” he nevertheless contended that Muslim rulers spent most of their riches in the country, thus restoring some of their loot to their Indian subjects. By contrast, Burke contended that British greed was far worse.

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