It is only two hundred and twenty years or so that Calcutta has come within the range of history. Its career of progress dates from that time. In 1752 Mr. Holwell, on assuming the office of Zamindar, was much exasperated in not finding any documents, papers, etc., prior to 1737 AD It is said that the great cyclone and inundation of 1738 destroyed important and valuable documents, and that the white-ants also ate up and damaged papers of value. It is also complained that, owing to negligence and carelessness of the subordinate officers, papers of value and importance were lost. There can undoubtedly be no palliation of the circumstances which caused the loss of papers that would have been of immense value; but at the same time it should be acknowledged that the latitude given and carelessness exhibited by the superior officers contributed much to the loss. According to Mr. Holwell, from 1732 he began to look seriously to the preservation of the papers. I quote his own words:
“I have since, during the arrangement of the few scattered old records that remained, endeavored, as much as the very limited time at my disposal would permit, to search out such documents as might throw a light on its past history; but the state of chaos in which the records of the office have lain for many years, the gradual decay effected by damp, white-ants and neglect.” The materials for a history of Calcutta are to be looked for mainly in the India Office LIbrary. One writer observes: “the Government records in the India House in London, amounting to 100,000 volumes, open out rich store-house for the future historian of Calcutta. The same writer states that in 1717 Calcutta was known as a village appertaining to the district of Nadia. The husbandmen and fishermen were then its only inhabitants. These simple and inoffensive people used to live together in clusters of 10 or 12 thatched huts. This condition of things, we find, still lingers on in the remote villages of Bengal. Calcutta was then full of jungle, and might not inaptly be termed a part of the Sunderbans. It was a swamp. It is not to be wondered at that in those times the accumulated refuse and stagnant water added much to the unhealthiness of the place. It was hardly to be expected from those rude people that they should adopt any sanitary measures worthy of the name. Pestiferous ponds were scattered over the place. The jungle, the dampness of the soil, the impure air blowing from the Sunderban and the Salt-water Lake standing in its vicinity were all insanitary factors, and Calcutta, in consequence, was the picture of unhealthiness. It is said that the Salt-water Lake extended up to the localities known at the present as Sealdah and Bowbazar. Living creatures were no less a source of danger than the forces of nature. Wild boars, crocodiles, alligators, reptiles and leopards infested the place; and man was as much a source danger as the beast, for thieves and robbers abounded. It seems wonderful today that, in spite of these disadvantages, Job Charnock selected the site as the trading centre. It would scarcely be reasonable to credit him with a calculating prescience of the glory of the town, and one can only regard him as the unconscious instrument of a Divine purpose. Whatever the reasons of his choice, it has been justified by the event, and today it is possible to describe him as “the illustrious Job Charnock the first conspicuous Englishman on this side of the world.”
From a cluster of three mud villages (Delhi Kolkata, Govindapur and Sutanati) modern Calcutta has grown. The areas of the three villages, as mentioned by Mr. Holwell in 1752 A D, were:
Delhi, Kolkata 1.704 3
Sutanati 1,861 5 ¼
Govindapur 1,044 13 ¼
“The bounds of Calcutta in 1757 were, to the south, the creek which ran from the site of the Bank of Bengal and Chandpaul Ghat across Chowringhee Road to the Salt-water Lake; to the east, the Lal Bazar and Chitpore Road; the Bara Bazar to the north, and the river to the west; all beyond was called the continent, probably because with Creek Row, the river, and Maratha Ditch, Calcutta formed an island.” “When purchased as a Zamindary in 1698, it was only 1½ miles square. Calcutta was then known as a settlement”
The site of Sutanati is now occupied by that portion of the town which is traversed by the Chitpore Road. The ghat now called Hatkhola was known for close upon a century by the name of Sutanati ghat, in immediate proximity to which was a large market known as Sutanati bazar. Under Act XXIII of 1850, the whole of Calcutta was surveyed and the boundaries of Sutanati were thus determined, The Bagh Bazar khal (Mahratta Ditch) on the north, Upper Circular Road on the east, the river Hoogly on the west, and Ratan Sarcar’s Garden Street on the south. Govindapur was a straggling nondescript sort of village with clusters of huts here and there, and patches of jungle intervening. It occupied the site of Ford William and the adjacent plain. The first establishment of the Company was at Hoogly. In or about the year 1746 they built a fortress there. A writer in a magazine observes, “During the earlier years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, a solitary Englishman, a student of New College, Oxford, named Stevens, was wending his way to the capital of the Great Moghul, to realize for himself the gorgeous pageantry of an Eastern Court, of which historians had written and poets sung. The accounts which the young Oxonian sent home gave a fresh stimulus to travelers to the far East, and he was followed, in 1583, by Newbery and Fitch, who travelled overland by way of Syria to India, bearing a letter from Queen Elizabeth to the Emperor Akbar. Fitch’s writings are still extant, and form a valuable addition to our knowledge of the country and its inhabitants in the 16th century.”
An unfortunate quarrel with the Nabab’s troops rising out of an ordinary bazar squabble was the immediate cause that led the Company to retire from Hoogly. The circumstances are these. Hoogly was then governed by a Muslim officer called the Fouzdar, and having been possessed of arbitrary powers and a large retinue, he treated foreigners with insolence and took from them anything he could to satiate his greed. The Fouzdar took advantage of the helplessness of a small body of Englishmen, and his tyranny and exactions roused the wrath of the Court of Directors. They directed their agent to ask the Nabab to grant them some lands in order that they might establish warehouses and strengthen their fortifications, and to represent the matter to the Great Mughal. When affairs were in this condition, the extortionate demand of the Mughal officer brought about a crisis and the aforesaid quarrel ensued. An unsuccessful appeal to the Nabab was made, and afterwards to the Mughal Emperor at Delhi. In the meantime their trade was stopped and their ships were sent away half empty. King James II, hearing of the distresses of the English Merchants in India espoused the cause of the Company and sanctioned their going to war with the Emperor Aurangzeb. An armament, consisting of ten ships of the line, carrying from 12 to 70 guns, was dispatched under Captain Nicholson, who was to command the fleet till his arrival in port, when he was to be relieved by the Chief of the Settlement, who was to act as Admiral Commander-in-Chief, and six companies of infantry that were on board were to be officered by the Members of the Council. Nicholson’s instructions were to demand a compensation of sixty six lakhs of rupees, and, if necessary, to enforce payment at the mouth of the guns. A portion of the fleet came up to Hoogly, and while the Chief was anxiously waiting for the arrival of the rest of the squadron, a drunken brawl, originating with three of the sailors, brought on a free fight. Nicholson having a fine excuse at hand, bombarded the town and set fire to 500 houses. This of course, precluded the idea of an amicable solution of the difficulty. The frightened Fouzdar begged for a truce, promising to submit Nicholson’s demands for the consideration of the Emperor. Leaving Hoogly, the English Company came first to Sutanati, a village to the east(?) of the Dutch settlement at Baranagor. In the meantime the Nabab’s forces appeared on the scene, and Charnock cons, strued this into a breach of truce and commenced a pillaging warfare against the small islands lying between Tanna and Ingellic (Hijlee), which latter he took and fortified. Mr. Sterndale described it as the worst situation possible, being a low, swampy island covered with long grass, subject to salt tidal inundation, and destitute of a drop of fresh water, where, in three months, the English lost half their force and were subject to constant attacks from the Nabab’s army, but the Court of Directors were greatly incensed with Nicholson for not sacking Hoogly and for making truce with the Fouzdar, They sent Heath in command of the Defiance frigate, with a hundred and sixty men on board, either to assist in the war or to bring away their entire establishment if an amicable settlement had been made with the enemy. Heath arrived in 1688, and, landing at Balasore, stormed the batteries and plundered the place. He sailed for Chittagong with the whole body of the Company’s servants, and, after entering into negotiations with an Arakanese Raja, he abruptly set sail for Madras, where he landed the Company’s establishment. Strange vicissitudes of fortune dogged their steps for some years, the attempts of the Company to establish a footing in Bengal by force of arms proved abortive, involving their commerce and settlements in one common ruin. The English were obliged at length to conclude a peace with the Nabab, and by his permission they moved towards Ulubaria. Ibmhim Khan was then the Governor of Bengal. But the new situation being found to be an inconvenient one, Mr. Charnock for some inscrutable reason, selected Sutanati, and there finally established his factory, paying to the Mughal Government a pisheash in lieu of customs of Rs. 3,000 annually.
Mr. A. Stephen writes that Ibrahim Khan, the Governor of Bengal, sent pressing invitations to Charnock to return to his old place of trade. The offer was accepted, and Charnock landed at Sutanati with an accumulated stock of goods. On the 27th April he received a farman in which the Emperor declared that it had been the good fortune of the English to repent of their past irregular proceedings, and that permission was given to them to carry on trade.
According to another writer, the Emperor Aurangzeb offered a compensation of Rs. 60,000 to the English for the goods which had been plundered, and it was on the 24th of August 1690 that Charnock hoisted the standard of England on the banks of the Hoogly, and laid the foundation of the City of Calcutta.
On the death of Job Charnock in January 1692, Sir John Gouldsborough was appointed the principal Agent at Calcutta. Affairs were in such a desperate condition that no one could be trusted; and in 1694-95 Sutanati was declared as a seat of their chief trade in Bengal, and the Court of Directors issued instructions to their chief agents by taking farm of other villages in its vicinity. During the rebellious days of Sobha Singh, Zamindar of Burdwan, in 1696-97, opportunity was not lost sight of to apply to the Mughal authority to permit them to fortify their settlements against the attack of the enemy; and the old Fort William in Calcutta was thus erected, and after its completion in 1699 it was named by royal permission in honor of King William III. About this period the Dutch had built their Fort Gustavas at Chinsurah, and the French had built theirs at Chundranagur. Nabab also sent a Nishan to the English for a settlement of their rights at Sutanati, on the basis of which they rented the adjoining villages of Calcutta and Govindopur.
There is a different version of the transaction which resulted in the selection of Calcutta as the settlement, in Gladwin’s “Bengal.” It runs thus, “The English factory at Hoogly having sunk with a noise into the river in the middle of the day while the English were at dinner, a few bves were lost and the rest escaped with difficulty, but their merchandise and property of every description entirely perished; hence Governor Charnock looked out for another place; he chose another one near it, erected a factory and fortified it but the native merchants complained that their women were overlooked from the English houses, some of which were two stories high. The natives repaired to Murshidabad to complain, and orders came to prohibit finishing the factorv; the workmen hearing this refused to work; on this Charnock setting fire to all the houses on this side the river embarked in a ship; the Fouzdar sent orders to the Thanadar at Mukuah Thana (near Calcutta) to seize the ship; he ran an iron chain across the river, provided some time before, to impede the incursions of the pirates of Arrakan and the Mugs who used to infest the river, but the chain was broken by the English. The ships having provided Alumgir’s Camp with corn in a time of scarcity, the Mughal became favorable to Charnock, and permitted him to erect the Calcutta Factory.”
In 1698 AD, the East India Company purchased at Rs. 16,000 only the villages of Sutanati, Govindopur, and Calcutta with their districts extending about 3 miles along the eastern bank of the Hoogly and about one mile inland. It is difficult to say when the three aforesaid villages came to be known and recognized under one head “Calcutta;” sometimes it is mentioned as “Puraganack Calcutta,” and in documents bearing date 1778, the following passage occurs: “That the villages of Sutanati, etc., situate, lying and being in Calcutta.” Now-a-days, no longer one hears of Govindopur and Sutanati. In a neat bttle booklet called “The History of the Armenians,” it is recorded that the well-known khoja surhead Israel rendered yeoman’s service in obtaining the permission of the Prince Azim-us-shan, grandson of the Emperor Aurangzeb and Subadar of Bengal to purchase the three villages from their owners. The annual rent was fixed at Sicca Rs. 1,195. Khoja surhead Israel was then chosen to represent the interest of the English merchants in the Court of the Subadar. Previously this Armenian as pobtical agent made unsuccessful attempts to secure the lands for the English at the Court of the brave Commander Zaberdust Khan, who was appointed by the Emperor Aurangzeb to curb the recalcitrant Pathan Rahim Khan. Malleson says that Mr. Stanley was deputed to the Subadar’s Court not only to secure the aforesaid three villages, but also to get other lands contiguous to and lying on both sides of the river Hoogly. It is doubtful whether Mr. Stanley’s representation had the desired effect. To Dr. Gabriel Hamilton, a Scotch Surgeon, Englishmen are vastly indebted, not only for his valuable help in securing the three villages, but also for obtaining thirty seven or thirty eight villages on both sides of the river Hoogly. Indeed, it is pleasant to observe that the humane art practiced by medical gentlemen had been the successful means of obtaining a foothold in India for Englishmen. The successful treatment of Emperor Shahjahan’s daughter by Boughton, and the operation cm Emperor Farrukh Seyor by Hamilton, point to a moral which should not be lost sight of. Nabab Jaffer Khan, Governor of Bengal, was very inimical to the interests of the English, and without openly violating the privileges granted to them by Emperor Aurangzeb, employed artifices to distress them. The Company soon found their position in the country very uncomfortabl. At last they determined, in the year 1713, to send an embassy to the Court of the Moghul at Delhi with a complaint. Mr. Hodges was then the Governor of Calcutta. Messrs. J Surman, E Stephenson and Khoja Surhead were chosen to represent their grievances at Delhi. They took with them presents consisting of curious glassware, clockwork, toys, brocades, and the finest manufacture of woolen cloths and silk. While the embassy were on their way to Delhi, the Emperor Farrukh Seyor was afflicted with a disease which required the aid of a surgeon, and by the kind offices of Khan Duran, a confidential minister of the Emperor, who was friendly to the English, Dr. Hamilton’s services were asked for. He made a successful operation on the royal patient. The Emperor, to mark his sense of pleasure and gratefulness, expressed his desire to reward the English surgeon. Dr. Hamilton begged the Emperor to grant the representations of the coming embassy, which afterwards reached Delhi in 1715. The Emperor was so impressed with the disinterestedness of the Doctor that he readily expressed his pleasure to consider favorably the representations of the embassy. In the meantime the Emperor’s marriage with a Rajput princess, Bai Inder Kumari, daughter of Ajit Sing of Marwar, delayed the audience. At last, in 1716, the representations were delivered to the Emperor. The Emperor granted permission to the English to purchase the thirty seven or thirty eight villages in 1717, and also conferred many valuable commercial privileges.
In its onward march of progress, Calcutta has met with many vicissitudes. We have already seen after what hard struggles, and at times against what almost insurmountable difficulties, the English merchants were allowed to build their settlement and carry on their trade in this country. The jealousies manifested by the Moghul authorities, owing to the growing prosperity of the settlement and the obstacles thrown in the way, are indeed well known to every student of History. Among the disasters that visited Calcutta may be cited the great cyclone of 1737, accompanied with a violent earthquake; several houses along the river side, said to be about 200 in number, collapsed, and the high and magnificent steeple of the English Church fell to the ground, and 2,000 ships, barques, canoes, etc., belonging to different nationalities were severed from their moorings and sunk or damaged. The water rose 40 feet higher than usual on the Ganges, and it is said 300,000 persons perished; by a strange irony of fate the year was ushered in as a year of great hopefulness. An old annalist refers to it as “a period when we had opulent merchants, in days when gold was plenty, labor cheap, and not an indigent European in all Calcutta.
In or about the year 1742, great alarm and consternation was caused amongst all sections of the people by a report that the Maratha marauders would soon overrun Calcutta. It was determined to dig a Ditch, since known as the Maratha Ditch, for the safety of the English Settlement. It was resolved to have it dug from the Northern part of Sutanuti up to the Southern part of Govindopur. It ran along the lines now occupied by the Circular Road. After 3 miles had been finished in 6 months, the work was abandoned. Had it been completed, it would have stretched as a semicircle of 7 miles. It is said that 000 peons and 300 Europeans were engaged in this work, the earth excavated being used to form a road on the inward or town side. The next incident connected with the history of Calcutta is the sack of the town by the profligate Nabab Siraz-ud-doula in 1756. Nowhere has the adage “coming events cast their shadows before” been so strikingly illustrated as in the thrilling incident enacted on the occasion, which subsequently transferred the government from the hands of the Moghul to those of the English. The Nabab Siraz-ud-doula’s early debauchery and profligate habits had created in the minds of the wealthy inhabitants of Bengal a great alarm and a sense of insecurity, and Kissendass, the son of Raja Raj Bullava, Governor of Dacca, fled to Calcutta on a pretext of going on pilgrimage to the shrine of Jagannath in Orissa with gold and other valuables. It was previously arranged with the English that they would offer help and safety if he came to Calcutta. Nabab Siraz-ud-doula hearing that Kissendass could not be fleeced as he had fled from Dacca, demanded peremptorily from the English his person and all his effects. The English refused to comply with the demand. Nabab Siraz-uddoula had from his early years imbibed a violent hatred towards them, and on the present occasion he was greatly incensed, and he determined not only to give them a severe chastisement, but to drive them out of Bengal. The English were greatly alarmed at the attitude of the Nabab, but Raja Raj Bullava, the Governor of Dacca, assured them that all the sardars and ministers of the Nabab would help the English against him. In the meantime secret and confidential correspondence was opened with the ministers and sardars, and Nabakrishna Deb was employed to carry on this negotiation. The Nabab Siraz-ud-doula attacked Calcutta with a large army, and the Governor Mr. Drake and many Englishmen fled on board a ship to Fulta. Nabakrishna supplied the English refugees in distress there with provisions, in spite of the prohibition of the Nabab, and brought them valuable information relative to the Nabab’s movements. The remainder opposed the attacks of the Nabab and were ultimately made prisoners and consigned to a cell now known as the “Black Hole.” At the same time he changed the name of Calcutta to Alinagor, and appointed Raja Manic Chandra the Governor of the place. In January 1758 the name Alinagor was again changed to Calcutta by a Sanad of Mirzafar. It is not necessary here to describe the horrors of the Black Hole. It will be sufficient to quote here only a few lines from Macaulay’s essay on Lord Clive, “Then was committed that great crime, memorable for its singular atrocity, memorable for the tremendous retribution by which it was followed! The English captives were left to the mercy of the guards, and the guards determined to secure them for the night in the prison of the garrison, a chamber known by the fearful name of the Black Hole. Even for a single European malefactor that dungeon would, in such a climate, have been too close and narrow. The space was only twenty feet square. The air-holes were small and obstructed. It was the summer solstice, the season when the fierce heat of Bengal can scarcely be rendered tolerable to natives of England by lofty holes and the constant waving of fans. The number of the prisoners was one hundred and fifty six. When they were ordered to enter the cell they imagined that the soldiers were joking; and being in high spirits on account of the promise of the Nabab to spare their lives, they laughed and jested at the absurdity of the notion. They soon discovered their mistake; they expostulated, they entreated, but in vain!! The guards threatened to cut down all who hesitated. The captives were driven into the cell at the point of the sword, and the door was instantly shut and locked upon them!!!” Subsequently, in 1757, Nabab Siraz attacked Calcutta again and encamped in Amirchand’s (Omichand’s) garden, now called Halsebagan, whereupon Colonel Clive deputed Munshi Nabakrishna with an engineer officer (possibly Mr. Amyath) under the pretence of making proposals of peace and sending presents to the Nabab and his attendants. These two officers of the English brought with them in writing a particular account of their encampment, and Colonel Clive marched his force up to the Nabab’s camp at the end of the night and blew up the Nabab’s tent and those of his Sardars by the first fire from cannon. The Nabab, however, saved his life by having prudently removed to another tent during the night, and so escaped with the loss of the greatest part of his troops, and Colonel Clive followed him to Plassey, where he fought a dreadful battle with the Nabab’s Commander-in-Chief, and slew him, and totally defeated and dispersed the Nabab’s troops.
Another account says that the above successful attack on the camp of Nabab Siraz-ud-doula induced him, in February 1759, to conclude a treaty to the greatest advantage of the English; but scarcely had this contest terminated when news was received of a war having been declared between England and France, and the reduction of the French power became an object of importance to the English. Nabab Siraz-ud-doula informed the Council of Calcutta that if hostilities were carried into his country by the English he would assist the French with all his power. However, after a vigorous assault, Chandernagor was taken by the English, and the Nabab having shown marks of displeasure at this event, it was resolved to depose him by supporting Mirzafar Ali Khan (who had married the sister of Alibardi Khan, Siraz-ud-doula’s predecessor). This was followed by a decisive action on the Plains of Plassey, in which the Nabab’s troops were routed in every direction, and he was obliged to flee from his capital in the disguise of a fakir and was brought to Murshidabad and beheaded by Mirzafar’s eldest son. Zafar Ali Khan, from letters having passed between him and Munshi Nabakrishna, did not give battle, but formed an alliance with Colonel Clive, who took possession of Murshidabad and declared zafar Ali Khan to be the lawful Nabab of Bengal. With the sanction of Colonel Clive, Munshi Nabakrishna settled the terms of the subadary agreement with Nabab Zafar Ali Khan.
It is interesting to observe that in recent times there has arisen a class of writers who deny altogether the occui*rence of the Black Hole Tragedy, and do not hesitate to insinuate that it was the fabrication of Mr. Holwell, who declared himself before the world as one of the survivors of the tragedy. The arguments adduced to support the contention are indeed quite frivolous. It is said that a room 20 feet square could not possibly contain 146 persons, so one cannot believe the occurrence. There is no attempt to.
 R C Starndale’s Historical Account of the Calcutta Collectorate.
 Long’s Peeps into the Social Lift in Calcutta.
 Long’s Peeps into the Social Life.
 “Indian Empire,” December 1839, and Life of Maharaja Nubokissen Bahadur in Bengali by Babu Bepinbehari Mitter.
 “’Indian Empire.” November 1888.
 The “Indian Empire,” Decembtr 1889.
 It should be worth.
 The “Indian Empire.”
 “Indian Empire,” December 1889.
 Stemdale’s Historical Accounts of the Calcutta Collectorate.
 Vide ‘Indian Empire.
 “Indian Empire,” December 1889.
 “Indian Empire.”
 [?, Pargana]
 Vide Sterndale’s Historical Account of the Calcutta Collectorats.
 Life of Warren Hastings.
 See Appendix.
 In 1645 the services of Mr. Gabriel Boughton, surgeon of Hope Hall, were requisitioned by the Emperor Shahjahan, who granted many privileges to the Company; and in 1646 the Governor of Bengal was also medically attended by Boughton. In consequence of these services the factories at Baleswar and Hoogly were placed on a much more secure basis. Bo it stated here that the Hoogly factory was establiahod in 1640, and that of Baleswar in 1642. vide Hunter’s Imperial Gazetteer, Vol. II.
 Orme’s Hindustan. Vol II.
 Gentleman’s Magazine, 1738-39.
 Indian Empire, December 1689.
 Broom’s History of the Rise and progress of the Bengal Army.
 The official accounts say that Mirzafar employed Jagat Sett as his agent, but Nabakrisna in his petition to the Council of Revenue, Bengal, dated 11th Nov. 1777, made the following statement:
His services under the Right Hon’ble Lord Clive (then Colonel Clive) in the resolution which happened in consequence of the capture of Calcutta and subsequent defeat of Siraz-ud-doula, on which occasion your petitioner acted as Personal Secretary and Translator, and was employed in all the most confidential transactions.
This fact was also mentioned in his petition to the Hon’ble Harry Verlest, dated the 16th March 1767, Vide Memoirs of Nabakrishna.
 Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bjngal. Part 1. History. Bterature, etc. Account of Moharaj Nabakrishna Bahadur by S Hill, Esq., Officer in charge. of the Govt, records.