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Law, Jean


Law, Jean (1720-?) English by birth and French by domicile, Jean Law was one of the eyewitnesses of the series of events leading to the battle of palashi. Jean Law himself was a participant in some of the events either directly or as an advisor. As a typical eighteenth century adventurer he was always keen to turn circumstances to his advantage and ever ready to support the winning side and reap the benefits arising out of the victory.

When sirajuddaula won the war of succession against shawkat jang, Law withdrew his support to the rebel and threw himself on the mercy of Sirajuddaula. Law was chief of the French factory at Saidabad, off kasimbazar, when Sirajuddaula became nawab. He took over the English factory at Kasimbazar in the wake of william watts's capitulation to Sirajuddaula. He supported Sirajuddaula as long as he had the nawab's protection. When the grand conspiracy against the nawab developed he deserted his patron, withdrew himself from Kasimbazar and retired to Patna for safety.

Law later joined Emperor shah alam and became a military advisor to the emperor in his unsuccessful invasions of Bengal. At one stage the English took him prisoner. On release he left India in 1762. The French government made him Chevalier and Colonel, Commissary of the King, commandant in the East Indies and governor of Pondicherry. Law's book entitled Memoire sur I' Empire Mogul ('A Memoir of the Mogul Empire'), is an important contemporary document for scholars of Bengal in its transition period. [Sirajul Islam]