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Bolts, William


Bolts, William (1740-1808) is well-known for his exposition of the nature of exploitation and despoiling of Bengal by the east india company and its officials. William Bolts, a private merchant of Dutch origin, came to Calcutta in search of fortune in 1759. In the same year he joined the service of the East Indian Company. Like all others Bolts also had participated in the post-Palashi ravages, one form of which was private trade by abusing the dastak. As a senior merchant, Bolts became a council member at Benares in 1764. He quarreled with the company's authorities on the issue of private trade and remittance. He was dismissed from the Company's service and deported as an interloper in 1768.

As a participant in the post-Palashi pillages, Bolts had seen very closely how Bengal, once a prosperous region, was despoiled and bled white by the East India Company. His observations and experiences were recorded in his notable Considerations on Indian Affairs, 1772. Bolts's work is a unique source for scholars inquiring into the rapacious early British rule in Bengal. Bolts, himself a private trader, had amassed immense wealth in Bengal and returned home only to lose it in defending himself in the series of lawsuits brought against him by the East India Company. [Sirajul Islam]