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Pen, print and communication in the eighteenth century$
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Caroline Archer-Parré and Malcolm Dick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789622300

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789622300.001.0001

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Script, Print and the Public–Private Divide

Script, Print and the Public–Private Divide

Sir David Ochterlony’s Dying Words

Chapter:
(p.123) 8 Script, Print and the Public–Private Divide
Source:
Pen, print and communication in the eighteenth century
Author(s):

Callie Wilkinson

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789622300.003.0009

David Ochterlony is a familiar figure to historians of the East India Company, but the focus has been on the man at his peak rather than the shadow hanging over his death, the result of a posthumous information leak. This forgotten incident is re-examined for what it reveals about how information moved across media in colonial India. This chapter pieces together this brief yet explosive affair, using the documentary record produced by the Company’s investigation, in combination with newspapers, pamphlets and letters. The first section lays out the relevant details of Ochterlony’s time in Bharatpur and the controversy he provoked, then it reconstructs the governor-general-in-council’s investigation of the leaked documents. The second section reflects on what the investigation’s findings imply about the circulation of information in colonial India and the dynamics of concealment and revelation at work there. The incident is used as a jumping-off point for reassessing the relationship between manuscript and print, public and private correspondence, and personal and professional commitments in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Ochterlony, India, Bharatpur, information, Colonial, Newspapers, Manuscript, printing, memorial

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