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Gentlemen of Uncertain FortuneHow Younger Sons Made Their Way in Jane Austen's England$
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Rory Muir

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300244311

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300244311.001.0001

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(p.283) Chapter Twelve India
Gentlemen of Uncertain Fortune

Rory Muir

Yale University Press

This chapter explores careers in India. India in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries appealed as a land of opportunity, especially for men who lacked first-rate connections or money at home, or who had already been disappointed in their first endeavours, or who had damaged their reputation by their imprudence. It was dangerous: most of the young men who sailed from Britain to take up positions in the service of the East India Company (EIC) in the decades around 1800 never returned home, and of those who did, only a minority came home with a fortune. Nonetheless, there was no shortage of applicants for positions in India. The Company divided its patronage carefully between its directors, with the chairman and deputy chairman each receiving a double share, and the President of the Board of Control (the politician with oversight of British interests in India) given four times the quota of an ordinary director.

Keywords:   India, East India Company, patronage, racial prejudices

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