Watts, William

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Watts, William (1722-1764) chief of the Kasimbazar factory of the English east india company at the time of the accession of sirajuddaula to the masnad of subah Bangala in April 1756. William Watts lived in Bengal for a long time. He was proficient in Bangla, Hindustani and Persian languages. His long interactions with the banianS and other people of the country enabled him to know about the native customs, habits and manners. In business affairs, he was in close contact with the great merchant princes of Bengal. jagat sheth, Khaza Wazid and umichand were his personal friends. All these considerations and the fact of Kasimbazar's proximity to murshidabad, led robert clive to entrust William Watts with the responsibility of acting as the representative of the English company to the nawab's court at Murshidabad.

In due course, Clive engaged him to work out a secret plan preparatory to the final overthrow of Nawab sirajuddaula and install in his place a favourable nawab on the masnad. Watts thus set up contact with the dissident amirs of the Murshidabad durbar including mir jafar, Roy Durlabh Ram and Yar Latif Khan. In forging the grand conspiracy against Sirajuddaula and his final overthrow, William Watts had played the most crucial role. In recognition of his services superseding Roger Drake made him the governor of the fort william on 22 June 1758. But only four days later he vacated the post for Robert Clive. [Sirajul Islam]