A Man of the Enlightenment in Eighteenth - century India

A Man of the Enlightenment in Eighteenth - century India

Product ID: 11259

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Author: Rosie Llewellyn - Jones
Publisher: Permanent Black
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 412
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8178240424


Among all the colorful figures of eighteenth-century India, Claude Martin (1735-1800) stands out as one of the most extraordinary. To read his letters, collected here for the first time, is to enter the mind of a man of the enlightenment, French by birth, but who served the British for most of his adult life.

He was true polymath, capable of turning his mind to anything, whether it was fighting, surveying, building places, indigo farming, money lending, flying hot-air balloons, running a country estate, designing puppet theatres, using steam engines, amassing a huge collection of curiosities and books, and of course maintaining a keen interest in current events and gossip.

His humane treatment of the peasants on his estate was a novelty for the time, and his treatment of his seven mistresses (as well as those abandoned by his friends) was remarkable in its generosity. His letters, written in Persian, to his Indian servants are unique record of the equitable relationship between man and master, untainted by later notions of colonial superiority.

Martin’s acute insights into the turbulent times of the late eighteenth century throw new light on major events, including the second Rohilla war and the foibles of Nawab Asaf-ud-daula of Awadh. Martin’s best-known legacy is the Martiniere schools, established in his name in Lucknow, Calcutta, and Lyon, all the which are flourishing more than two centuries after his death.


Acknowledgements and Abbreviations

From Monghyr to Lucknow
Letters 1 to 22 (23rd October 1766 to 4th June 1785)

The Najafgarh Estate
Letters 23 to 64 (27th September 1785 to 1st October 1786)

A Magneta for Artists
Letters 65 to 94 (19th October 1786 to 29th September 1787)

Letters from Najafgarh
Letters 95 to 142 (23rd November 1787 to 27th May 1788)

Friends in England
Letters 143 to 154 (8th January 1789 to 2nd January 1790)

Wars and Disputes
Letters 155 to 167 (5th January 1791 to 25th August 1793)

The Barrel Organ and The Puppet Theatre
Letters 168 to 179 (9th September 1793 to 29th July 1794)

The Second Rohilla War 1794
Letters 180 to 202 (19th September 1794 to 27th March 1795)

Letters 203 to 209 (1st August 1795 to 16th March 1796)

Mrs Elizabeth Plowden
Letters 210 (5th June 1796)

The Nawab’s Debt
Letters 211 to 222 (25th June 1796 to 26th September 1796)

The Collector
Letters 223 to 236 (11th October 1796 to 1st October 1797)

A New Nawab
Letters 237 to 254 (2nd October 1797 to 20th October 1798)

The Last Years
Letters 255 to 262 (28th October 1799 to 5th September 1800)