Child, Sir Josiah

Sir Josiah Child

Child, Sir Josiah (1630-1699) originator of the idea of establishing an English empire in the East. Josiah Child earned fame as a writer on maritime trade and commerce. His most seminal and influential work was the Brief Observations Concerning Trade and Interest (1678) which fetched him a baronetcy in the same year. One of his demographic plans, which the government tried to implement, was to send paupers and outlaws out to British colonies overseas.

Child was a director of the east india company in the 1680s and early '90s. As a member of the Secret Committee of the Court he developed the idea originally floated by william hedges for pursuing a militant policy in the eastern waters. In December 1687 the court of directors ordered the Madras Governor 'to establish such a polity of civil and military power, and create and secure such a large revenue to secure both'as may be the foundation of a large, well-grounded, secure English dominion in India for all time to come. Josiah Child, the most influential director of the East India Company, was largely responsible for this new policy. It was due to this militant policy that a war began with the Mughal government on a limited scale in 1686, and subsequently spread countrywide. Peace was established in 1690.

Under the terms of the peace agreement the government granted some added privileges to the Company, including the privilege of having a settlement in Calcutta, a measure which is said to have laid the foundation of the British kingdom in Bengal half a century later. [Sirajul Islam]