William Watts (East India Company official)

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William Watts (c. 1722 – 4 August 1764) was a British official with the East India Company. He was involved in the overthrow of the last independent ruler of Bengal, leading directly to the consolidation of Company rule in India and his own personal enrichment. Through his wife Begum Johnson, he had notable descendants, including a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


  • The two great Nations, inhabiting this Part of the Indies, differ widely from each other in their Complexions, Language, Manners, Disposition, and Religion. The Moguls (Moghuls) who are commonly called Moors or Moormen, are a robust, stately, and, in respect to the original Natives, a fair People. They speak what the English in India commonly call the Moors Tongue, which is in truth the Persian, 4or at least a Dialect of the Persian. They are naturally vain, affect Shew and Pomp in every thing, are much addicted to Luxury, fierce, oppressive, and, for the most part, very rapacious. In respect to Religion, they are Mohammedans; the common Sort of the Sect of Omar (in which they agree with the Turks), but those of Superior Rank are mostly of the Sect of Ali (which is followed by the Persians), and some affect to be very devout. These have the Dominion, and are possessed of all the Offices of Trust and Power, in virtue of their Descent from the Moguls, whose Empire was established by Timûr, commonly called Tamerlane in this Country; but they are now a very mixed People, composed of Tartars, Arabs, and Persians; more especially of the last mentioned Nation; who for various Reasons have quitted their own Country, but chiefly for the Sake of that Favour and Preferment, which for many Ages they have met with at the Court of (Dehli) Delly.
  • The Gentoows, or Native Indians, are of a swarthy Aspect, as their proper Appellation Hindu implies; less warlike but more active and industrious than the Moors. They are a mild, subtle, frugal Race of Men, exceedingly 5superstitious, submissive in appearance, but naturally jealous, suspicious, and perfidious; which is principally owing to that abject Slavery they are kept in by the Moors; and their Vices are such as innate Cunning, of which they have a great deal, suggests to counteract those of their Masters. They are divided into several Casts or Tribes, of which the most noble is that of the Bramins, and there are also several Casts of these. Their Religion is Paganism, gross and absurd among the Vulgar, but not so amongst the wiser and better Sort. These Characters are not drawn through any Spirit of Prejudice or Partiality, but from Experience and Observation, and the Faults of both do not so much arise from any Want of Parts, or Defect in their natural Talents, as from their respective Conditions, and the barbarous Severity and perpetual Instability of their Governments.

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